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In our post, Use the Customer Buying Process to Align Sales and Marketing to Accelerate Revenue, you learned the seven steps for creating a customer buying journey.  The article Commit to the Customer Journey for Your Happily Ever After identified the six behavioral buying stages for the buying pipeline: contact, connection, conversation, consideration, consumption and community. Through these resources we hoped to provide the right content/touch point in the right channel in each stage that will help you move your customer forward on their buying journey.

When you understand the customer buying journey and capture data throughout the process, you can derive insights that will improve your customer engagement and experience.  When you don’t and your customer needs more information, more touches or has questions and you aren’t at the ready, someone else certainly will jump in and your customer will jump ship.  It is paramount to ensure you follow your customer through the entire buying journey and redirect them if they become distracted or re-engage them if they begin losing interest. We’re not talking about stalking here. We’re talking about being in tune with your customer.

Act Like an Investigative Reporter

Being in tune means using Customer-focused Marketing.  Customer-focused Marketing requires you to think like an investigative reporter and be able to answer these types of questions:

  • Who – Who is your customer? What are their
    To be customer centric you need to know how to find your customers

    Meet Your Customers Where They Hangout

    personas? Their roles?

  • What – What do your customers need? What do your customers want? What kind of content do they prefer? What touch points are appropriate at each stage?
  • When – When is it best to gain customer attention? When in the buying pipeline are they most likely to act?
  • Why – Why should the customer choose you? Why should they remain loyal to you and not venture elsewhere?
  • Where – Where do you find your customers? Where do your customers want to be? Which channels do they use?
  • How – How do you appeal to your customers? How do you entice them to act on your offer?

Most likely, you’ll need data to help you answer these questions. You may be able to unearth the data within your existing marketing automation, customer relationship and other systems.  In other cases, you may need to ask your customers via research, traditional primary research as well as indirect listening via social sites.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are

The key is to “meet” your customers where they are in their buying journey.  This is the world of channels. Think of your channel as the transfer point – where you content moves from the point of production to the point of customer consumption. For the transfer to be successful you need to know where your customers hangout.

You will need to know where they hangout in both the physical and virtual world.  Physical hangouts might include tradeshows, conferences, and printed publications.  The online world today is a massive universe and creates a daunting challenge.  But with a little data and creativity you can begin to build a picture of your customers preferred hangout. Here are three quick tips to get you thinking.

  1. Birds of a feather: Identify what LinkedIn Groups your customers participate in, the discussions they are they active in and the posts they like.
  2. Twitter tells: Monitor who your customers follow and what they share.
  3. Ask and you shall receive: Ask customers their channel preferences when you talk with them on the phone, meet them at events. Conduct regular short surveys to help you learn:
    • What social media channels they use the most
    • What online groups engage them
    • What they are watching, reading and where

Customer-focused marketing takes delivering the “RITE” content (Relevant, Informative, Timely, and Entertaining) to the correct channel. An essential part of the RITE equation is to match your marketing content with the customer buying journey and lifecycle.

So, map your customer’s buying journey, move from profiles to personas, and clearly understand your customer’s lifecycle. Note that because it is more cost effective and profitable to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one, it is important to know both the buying journey as well as the customer lifecycle.  Need help? Check out our Customer Journey Mapping Working Session.

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