Understanding a customer’s journey through the marketing funnel is a key part of any marketing strategy. The funnel begins at the initial point of contact and guides consumers through to conversion (i.e. making a purchase, filling out a form, etc.). While the concept of the “customer journey” has been around since the beginning of business, it is important to remember that it is not a cookie cutter formula. It is constantly changing due to various influences that the customer encounters throughout the year. To understand that process, we’re going to take a look into a few factors that can influence the customer journey and break down how campaigns can be adjusted.
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or only sell things online, you should be adjusting your marketing strategy for the correct seasonal audience. If you own a brick-and-mortar store down the shore in the summer, you should focus your targeting on all of the tourists visiting the town, trying to make sure that your store is a part of their vacation experience. Online stores experience seasonality too! You shouldn’t be pushing winter clothing or discounted ski trips in the summer. Know which audience your store should be hitting each season.
In the past, all a business had to worry about was their direct competitors within their industry. If you were a car dealership, you weren’t worried about what sale a retail store was promoting. Now, every business is operating on the same online platforms. Every business has a website, social media accounts, an app, etc. That said, if one industry can allow mobile payments or do same-day delivery, your customers are going to know about it and then expect that from your business as well, regardless of your industry segment. Our best advice – stay up-to-date on business news. You don’t need to follow a million companies, just follow the industry giants and see what they’re doing.
The primary influence on a consumer’s buying decision no longer comes from simple advertising efforts; now, it comes from personal, word-of-mouth recommendations. Since social networks make it extremely easy for people to write reviews, a majority of consumers will consult social networks before making a buying decision. That said, you should try to push people that have had positive interactions with your business to leave a review. If a person leaves a negative review, the best thing you can do is respond to it – address their concern and ensure it will not happen again.
Each of these influences – seasonal, market, and social – can affect every part of your marketing funnel. It is important to recognize these potential influences before building out your entire digital marketing strategy.