As B2B marketers, it's our job to guide our customers on a journey. This journey should take them from the point of discovery, along a route that inspires and informs, until they reach a destination where a commercial arrangement formalizes the relationship.
While many people speak of their incredible adventures in business, you should never confuse your customers' journey as an adventure. By nature, an adventure is chaotic, longwinded, and potentially dangerous. This isn't a route you want to take your clients along.
While every customer journey is different, there are specific steps marketers can take to help make sure as many customers complete their journey successfully as possible. This journey starts with mapping vital customer data points to guide the process.
To help guide your clients’ customer journeys, we’ve compiled a list of three data points that we believe you cannot go on a journey without.
Step 1: Every Customer Journey Starts with a Clearly Designed Purpose
B2B marketers need to embrace their inner travel agent when planning any journey. It would be impossible to sell a vacation without knowing the purpose of the trip. It's also essential to understand if you don't know the destination, you’ll never know if and when your customers get there.
Therefore, when planning any customer journey, you must start with a purpose (or goal) in mind.
All Roads Lead to Conversion
It’s important to remember that customers will often take different routes to the same destination.
Some will demand direct and high-speed travel to their final destination. Others will choose to take a more leisurely route.
Then, to complicate things, some customers will start on one route before jumping to the other. So while you might envisage your customer journey map as a linear experience, in reality, it's more like the iconic
When you know what the final destination looks like, it’s time to imagine what your target audience looks like.
Step 2: Customer Personas—What Do Your Customers Look Like?
Now it’s time to start thinking about creating customer personas. This will help you understand who you want to invite on your customer journey and better plan the various stages of the journey and the marketing collateral that will accompany them along the way.
However, because many different passengers will take this journey, it's crucial to understand how they will reach their destination.
Typical clients might include:
- The Backpacker: These people like to make their own plans and will only buy the bare essentials. While they won't want the same high levels of service required at the more luxurious end of travel, they will need a lot of guidance to make the most informed choice. While the backpacker might not spend a lot of money with each purchase, they have the potential to make more regular purchases over an extended period.
- The Family Vacationer: These annual holidaymakers are looking for somewhere where they can relax while the kids enjoy the pool. The destination isn't always as important as the facilities. User-generated content, including detailed reviews and photos, will potentially help guide what is almost certainly a considered purchase.
- The Luxury Traveler: These guys want it all. They demand the very best in terms of location, service, and exclusivity, and they are willing to pay top-dollar for it. While content is equally important for these travelers, the style of delivery will need to be somewhat more "glossy." The luxury traveler may also demand more human engagement and expert-led assistance.
The crazy thing is, while each marketing persona will demand a totally different customer journey, the end product is often the same thing. However you get there, rich or poor, a view of the Eiffel Tower is exactly the same.
But not all customers will complete their journeys. Therefore, you must understand what roadblocks prevent them from reaching your chosen destination.
Step 3: Identify Your Customer Pain Points
All great B2B marketers strive to solve their subscribers' and prospects' problems as they journey together along the customer journey.
Too many marketers take a shortcut and second guess their potential customers' pain points. However, unless they've walked a mile in their customers' shoes, there's a really good chance they haven't got a clue.
So regardless of whether you think your customers are scared of flying, worried about not speaking the language, or unfamiliar with the local food, the only way you’ll ever truly know is to ask them.
Understanding your customer pain points is vital if you want to create efficient marketing touchpoints that will guide your customers swiftly on their journey. Failure to get this right will result in them hanging around for longer than intended in airport lounges, missing flights, and potentially just going home.
This is Just the Start of the Journey
Mapping purpose, persona, and pain points is just the start of the customer journey. Depending on the nature of your campaigns, products, or services, the journey might be long or short, but they will all require planning.