The rapidly evolving technological landscape has changed buyer habits and expectations, and this trend has dramatically accelerated due to Covid-19. Companies now universally accept they must adapt and shift the way they do business to be in alignment with today’s consumer.
Studies show that up to 60% of a buyer’s decision-making journey occurs online, which means that how you interact with prospects before a human-to-human encounter takes place will have a significant impact on your probability of success.
In the midst of this “digital disruption”, emerging technologies and marketing strategies are creating significant business opportunities for those companies willing to take advantage of them. Businesses can now support and shape their customer’s journeys in new and exciting ways – ultimately leading to a competitive advantage for organizations that figure out how to do it best.
In the traditional customer journey, the prospect considers and evaluates options from various product or service providers before making a purchasing decision. With strategic use of technologies and the processes they enable, it’s possible to minimize competitive threats during the buying cycle.
How is this possible? It starts with delivering outstanding value from the moment the prospect finds you and creating an optimal “brand experience” throughout the entire buying process.
According to the excellent HBR article “Competing on Customer Journeys”, these are four key capabilities that can help to maximize the customer journey experience.
1. Strategic Use of Automation
Technology allows us to automate activities that were previously performed manually. This makes every step of your customer journey simple and convenient for customers, whether it’s streamlining a sign-up process, providing real, time online quotations and scheduling of services, automating payment and delivery, or providing seamless integration with other technologies or platforms.
Automation takes a potentially cumbersome process and turns it into a simple and engaging experience for the target prospect.
2. Proactive Personalization
With access to data, we have more information about our prospects and customers than ever before. We know how they’ve interacted with us in the past so we can build profiles of their unique preferences in our contact databases. We can then communicate with them based on their specific interests.
It’s not enough to just gather this personalization data – we must use it to make the customer journey as effortless and natural to the prospective customer as possible. Technology allows us to track customer behaviours across channels, and then tailor our next interactions accordingly.
Done well, this type of personalization can move prospects through the entire customer journey without them experiencing any friction.
3. Contextual Interaction
Technology also helps us convey the right message to our prospects and customers at the right time based on where they are in their unique customer journey.
Knowing where the buyer is in their own journey allows us to provide them with the critical information, they need at precisely that moment in time, as well as providing them with a logical path to the next step in a well-executed process.
4. Journey Innovation
The customer journey is dynamic and ever-changing; therefore, your approach should adjust based on analytics and metrics. You must always be innovating to make it easier for the prospect to buy from you.
Through an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s decision-making needs and interactions, you can constantly refine and adapt your support for their buying journey.
Done well, these capabilities will set your company up as the obvious choice for prospective customers, offering them a seamless, frictionless, personalized buying experience. The goal is to eliminate the need for them to evaluate anyone else.
A lofty goal, but well worth achieving if you can effectively eliminate competition as early in the buying process as possible. When your company offers this unique, value-based experience to prospective customers, and your competitors do not, prospects will be more inclined to do business with you.
Today, it’s not just about the quality of your products or services, but rather the customer’s experience with your brand and how well you support them through their buying journey.
Core Online Marketing creates the right online connections for small and mid-sized businesses. We do this by taking a strategic approach to online marketing that focuses on the prospect and drives results. Does your online marketing strategy make sense for your business? Request a self-audit to find out.
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