Inbound Marketing & Sales Development Inspiration

How To Understand The Customer Journey

Posted May 28, 2015
3 minute read

Customer Journey

The customer experience is more fragmented than ever.

Ninety percent of consumers now utilize a combination of internet devices to accomplish a task. They are exposed to your brand through a variety of channels (search, social, email) and a variety of devices (smartphone, laptop, tablet).

This behavior challenges brands to think more deeply about the circuitous path a potential customer takes leading up to a sale.

To gain a competitive edge over your competition, brands must identify and understand their Digital Marketing Ecosystem.

Wikipedia defines an ecosystem as “a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.”

In the context of digital, an ecosystem is the collection of different channels and devices used to find and interact with you brand, ultimately resulting in a sale.

Like a traditional ecosystem, digital channels compliment and feed into each other, creating value greater than the sum of their parts.

To understand and optimize your digital ecosystem, you must identify the Three P’s: Properties, Path, and Purpose.

Multi-Device Usage

Properties are all the places a customer can research and experience your brand or product online. This might include your website, a mobile app, social media page, or customer review site.

Properties can be either owned by you, managed by you (but owned by someone else), or controlled by someone else entirely.

Search your brand name on Google to identify all the web properties that mention your brand. Add “+feedback,” “+reviews,” “+experience,” or “+opinion” to your branded Google search to reveal who is talking about you and how.

Spend time talking to your customers to understand the properties they use to find and vet you. You may discover certain websites, previously unknown by you, are playing a meaningful role in your customer’s journey.

Ask three customers to tell the story of how they shopped for your service or product, from start to finish. Visualize the way they moved across properties and marketing channels leading up to their purchase.

It’s likely more complex than you think.

Multi-Channel Customer Journey

Knowing whether a property is visited at the beginning or the end of the customer journey could influence how you value and prioritize them.

Now, determine the role each property plays in the customer journey. Answer what purpose it serves in helping you sell more.

Does the property help the customer during their research phase? Does it convince them that you are the best choice in the market during their decision phase?

Finally, identify the metrics you will track for each property. If a property serves to educate or add utility, track usage. If third party reviews are important, track the ratio of positive to negative reviews. If customers purchase or contact you from your website, track phone calls, form submissions, or web sales.

Every property in the consumer path has a purpose. When those properties deliver on that purpose, you sell more stuff.

Seek to understand the journey your customers take, organized by the Three P’s, and you will be on your way to making smarter, more informed decisions.


Topics Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization

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