A Deeper Look into the Customer Journey

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Mapping the customer journey is a crucial exercise. But let’s not stop there; in the real world, the way people interact with brands is not as orderly or linear as a customer journey map would have us believe, and a closer look reveals a flurry of brand interactions that happen around certain customer actions. It’s worth looking further to understand the way actual, living, breathing, thinking humans experience your brand.

Imagine a shopper, let’s call her Kendra. She’s 33, she’s scrolling through her Instagram and one of the fitness influencers she follows posts about your brand. A few times, in fact, because we know it takes a few exposures, but we’ve now reached awareness.

Then, next time your ad shows up, Kendra’s intrigued enough to click through and visit the website. She’s not ready to purchase yet. We’re at consideration now. She leaves and gets retargeted.

Imagine if the ad referenced a specific product, while the website was focused on the sale of the week, and then the retargeting ad was a more general brand ad. Often, these assets are spread across different teams, or are produced at different times – so it’s easy to see how this might happen.

It’s not tragic, but imagine how much more powerful it would be if a consistent facet of your brand message or a megaphone for your promo was being touted by all touchpoints. Let’s not forget that our shopper is not living in a vacuum – she’s been living her life, scrolling through her newsfeed, and occupying her time. So your best chance to make sure the message is received, is to understand precisely what facet of your brand story is being told and what the goal is at each cluster.

Place an order? There’s a cluster of activity there. Visit the website? There’s a cluster of interactions there. Sign up for email? Ad cluster.

And it’s important to understand the goal of these ad clusters, so we can align the goal, offer, message and touchpoints accordingly.

When a shopper interacts with an ad, we want to pay off the promise of the ad, then turn the website visit into multiple touchpoints, expanding the moment of consideration using retargeting via print or display. The ad cluster here is made of:

  1. The clicked ad
  2. The website experience
  3. The remarketing display ad

What’s the one thing you’d like to tell them? Is it 30% off? Why should they care how big the discount is, if they don’t first understand why they should buy from you? This is where you give them your elevator pitch. What would you say if you had to sum up your brand in one simple phrase?

There’s another ad cluster at email sign up. The goal here is to welcome them into your community. Show them what you’re about in terms of values, quality, and what to expect from your merchandise assortment. Capitalize on this moment of engagement with an emotional connection to who you are and what you stand for. The cluster here is:

  1. Website experience
  2. Email sign up invitation
  3. Email sign up confirmation
  4. Welcome Series

Then, there’s another cluster at the point of purchase. The goal here is to encourage repurchase. You can do that by helping them see that they’ve made a smart decision: a decision that makes them feel excited about the purchase they just made, reinforce all the reasons that they decided to buy from you, and make them want to come back. The cluster to examine here is:

  1. Website experience
  2. Order confirmation
  3. Shipping confirmation
  4. Delivery confirmation
  5. Box Experience
  6. Post-Purchase follow up

We exist in a loud, crowded marketplace and brand touchpoints aren’t experienced in orderly ways. That’s why it’s key to understand the context that your brand will exist in, so that you can make sure it’s focused, powerful and relevant to where they are at that moment in their relationship with you.

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