I feel fortunate to have immersed myself in the amazing changes in digital marketing and technology over the last 15 years. Looking back, we've seen a phenomenal growth in the importance of organic, then paid search, then social media and more recently, incredible worldwide growth in mobile. As a digital marketer, my focus is helping my clients answer crucial customer-related questions through digital research, data, strategies and executed campaigns. Ultimately, the story behind a customer’s journey.
By developing and educating my client about their own “Customer’s Journey”, we can explore how demographics, behavior, habits and experiences are emerging as the driving forces that will make or break marketing success.
The empowerment of customers today.
Due to abundance of information available to consumers through in an increasingly connected world has only fuel their demands to be treated as an individual; for their digital experiences and communications to be personalized and highly-relevant, and catered to match their specific needs, interests, and preferences. And while customer expectations are increasingly reaching all-time highs, their patience and tolerance for sub-par experiences are at all-time lows. As a customer, if you don’t give me the quality experience I expect; exactly what I want, how, when and where I want to experience it, I’ll simply get it from someone else who will.
And when customers do have negative experiences, they are often quick to share their complaints with their social networks and review sites. In a moment’s notice, a single bad experience and a single tweet can cause some really serious damage to a brand.
The maturity and sophistication of online marketing has led to digital marketers commanding a place at the table.
But while customers are now more empowered than ever, with the right data, technology, skills and customer journey knowledge in possession, so are digital marketers.
With the shift of the customer journey online, the quality of experiences customers receives while engaging with a brand digitally can determine whether or not they ever even make it to the point of a sales conversation. Thus, the fate of a customer’s future relationship with a company is now largely placed in the hands of digital marketers, and their effectiveness in influencing the customer journey towards a positive outcome.
With this, marketers suddenly find ourselves in an equally strong position to end up the hero or goat, which can just as easily go either way, depending on our own performance. Successful enough, we will generate more qualified leads and see more loyal customers come out the bottom. Unsuccessful enough, and the company could close its doors.
By aligning digital marketing with the customer journey, you are able to eliminate waste and maximize your return on investment.
The better marketers can understand the different questions, barriers, and problems customers encounter at each different stage of the customer life-cycle, the more effective they can be in delivering the right experiences, to the right customers at the right times, to maximize engagement and conversion rates for every digital interaction.
Those businesses that fail to align with their customers digitally are at a distinct disadvantage.
What is a Digital Marketing Journey?
A digital marketing journey consists of 5 strategic steps i.e. Being Found, Attracting, Engaging, Retargeting and Converting.
- The digital marketing journey starts off with the process of being found online. If you’re not being seen when potential customers search for you, your competition and your products or services online, you’re missing out on sales opportunities - plain and simple.
- The awareness stage is a chance for you to command attention and build brand awareness with integrated marketing that is hyper-local to reach the right audiences at the right time with the right marketing messages.
- Reaching audiences and promoting content on social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to highly target your audience by demographic, interests, behavior, hashtags and product preferences. With social media, you get to cast a wider attraction net and grab onto a lot of potential customers.
- A low-cost channel that helps an audience to become a visitor to your website is where retargeting comes into play. Cookies or tracking pixels allow your retargeting ads to follow the visitors who have not yet converted around the web. This helps the visitor become familiar with your brand name and eventually click on your ad when they’re ready. One thing you should look out for when retargeting is setting frequency caps as to avoid banner fatigue. Also, remember to rotate your remarketing offers to keep your click-through rate high and align your cookie duration with your customer journey cycle.
- Convert more leads with highly relevant optimized landing pages. Your display and text ads should lead your visitors to a targeted internal or external site-conversion page. As soon as they arrive, they should see the connection between what they wanted and what you promised to offer them.
The Bottom Line.
Effective digital marketing is about utilizing several different online platforms and media to deliver a message at a key point in the customer’s journey. The challenge is no longer how much content should be created for a marketing campaign, but instead how and when it should be distributed, delivered and served to the target customer.
Serving up the right type of content at a pivotal point in the customer’s journey provides an opportunity to engage customers and move them forward to conversion.
Marketers who can identify exactly what stage customers are in and that have the valuable data needed to develop and manipulate content best will aid in helping your business win in #TodaysDigitalMarketingWorld