We spend a lot of our time thinking about who we are as a brand and what we want to communicate. We know our USP’s (Unique Selling Points) by heart and how to best showcase our product or service. However, are you sure that this corresponds with what your customer is looking for? I’m sure you’ve gathered some general information about them. You know their age, where they live and what interests they have. But, have you really thought about their wants and needs? What is their story? Why do they need you? This is what should be at the centre of your communication and what consumer centric thinking is all about.
Do you really know your customer?
Forget about everything you want to tell about your business. First, you need consider the wants and needs of the consumer. What does their daily life look like? What struggles do they experience throughout the day? From here you can start to think about how you can help. What solution can I offer? What should the main benefits be? These questions lie at the base of the value proposition canvas. This is a great place for you to start your journey in consumer centric thinking. The overview should make communicating with your customer a lot more effective. Everytime you create content, use this canvas to see if you’re communication is alligned with your customer’s wants and needs. I’ve added the canvas below. You may take a moment to complete it now or save it for later.
On the left you’ll find the value proposition of your business, on the right the customer segments. Let me quickly explain the different components, starting with the customer:
- Customer jobs: What are the things that the customers want to get done in their work and lives?
- Gains: What would make your customer happy? What would make their lives easier?
- Pains: What is annoying or troubling your customer? What issue could you solve for them?
- Products and services: What are the products and services that you offer, that help the customer get their job done?
- Gain creators: What can you offer your customers to help them archive these gains?
- Pain relievers: How can you help customers relieve their pains?
The four phases of the customer journey
Now that you understand your consumer’s needs, let’s go to the next step, their journey. Do you know when and where to reach your customer and with what message? Below you’ll find an overview of the different phases of the customer journey. This will help you get out the right message at the right time. I’ve also included some of my best practice channels per phase, so you know where to reach them as well. Let’s go over them one by one:
- Awareness: This is the first stage of the customer journey and so your first point of contact. Your goal in this phase is to make sure people remember you. Your audience is anyone who could potentially be interested in what you have to offer.
- Interest: At this stage people are looking for a solution. You want to inform or educate your customer and share your USP’s. When they are ready to purchase, you want them to think about you.
- Purchase: They are ready to purchase! In this phase you should already be top of mind. The goal is to drive the conversion. How are you going to persuade them?
- Post-Purchase: Of course you want your customers to buy from you again. Maintain your customer connection and so create a loyal relationship.
Why not focus on the Purchase phase?
This is a question I’ve been asked quite often. Why does the customer need to go through all these phases? In the end, all that matters is sales right? Of course we could just skip to the purchase phase and focus on selling. Though, would you buy from a brand you’ve never heard of? Or buy a product you don’t know the benefits of? Immediately pushing to purchase will actually generate a negative response.
That’s why it’s important to fill your marketing funnel and go through the journey with your customers. Below you’ll find a visual of what such a funnel looks like. You’ll immediately notice that the earlier phases are larger. This is logical, as not everyone with an interest in cycling, is looking for a new racing bike. And of the people wanting to buy a bike like the ones you sell, not everyone will end up buying from you. So, adjust your communication as best as you can to your customer’s wants and needs and tailor it to each phase in the customer journey. Do this well and you’ll have a headstart on the competition.
Simple yet effective
I know these may seem like very simple models, but you would be surprised how often they’re not implemented correctly. Judging interest campaigns based on sales or assigning kpi’s like website visits to an awareness campaign, just to name a few. Mostly, people find it perticulary difficult to not look at sales as a success indicator. Just try to remember the objective of your campaigns and judge them only on what is relevant.
So, even if you already have a very evolved marketing strategy, take some time to reassess your strategy with these models and go over your communication plan. Who knows, maybe you’ll come to some new insights. Want to improve you digital strategy even further? Then this article is for you: The Growth Formula.