In a perfect world, your ideal customer will instinctively know who you are and why your product is right for them. There’d be no long customer journeys, and no late nights spent comparing your solution to that of your competitor’s.
In this imperfect (and less creepy) world, where marketing messages don’t get beamed into your head, every time we buy something new, we have to trudge our way along the customer journey.
What is the customer decision journey?
The customer journey is very similar to an old-time adventure. At first, there’s a pain point. Something isn’t quite right in your life. Let’s say you really like drinking tea.
You can go to the shop and buy brand x, y or z tea. This is the familiarity phase. You know these solutions are out there either through ads, conversations, articles or the endless recommendations from Aunt Sue.
You pull out your phone and start researching. That’s when you read about Awesome Tea (not a real brand.) You’ve never heard of it, but once you dive into the reviews and YouTube videos, and you learn about its many uses, it worms its way into your top three options.
You read some more content. You watch an unboxing video on YouTube and just seeing Awesome Team makes you more keen to try it.
You make a decision and place your purchase. While you wait for your order, you read some more content around the product just to make sure you made the right decision. When the package finally arrives, you make the first cup. It’s pretty good.
As if by magic, you get an email from the content marketing team thanking you for your purchase and telling you about some other ways you can use Awesome Tea. Over the next few months, they send you more interesting content about hot drinks and uses for the product. As you begin to run out, they send you a coupon for your next purchase. You place your next order and start telling your friends about how awesome Awesome Tea is, becoming a brand advocate.
This is the customer journey in a nutshell. There’s a pretty clear path to purchase. You move through the five stages of awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty. Unfortunately, it isn’t this straightforward anymore.
The rise of social media has transformed the way brands and customers interact. The customer decision journey isn’t a path, it’s a cycle. We’re always on different parts of it, as information and videos we come across pull us forward or push us back.
These days we’ve got constant access to information. Targeted ads follow you around the internet. Marketing emails fill your inbox. Friends and colleagues tell you about the latest stuff they bought, and influencers you follow share information about the tools and products they use.
The journey never ends. Once the customer reaches the loyalty stage and begins to recommend your product, they haven’t reached a magical last step where they’ll stay forever. That’s why marketers create retention strategies like loyalty awards, special deals for existing customers, and nurturing email campaign sequences to keep their product fresh in your mind.
Supporting the customer’s journey
The customer isn’t going to walk through by themselves. At every stage, they’ll need different kinds of content to guide them through and support their decision-making process, and video is the perfect medium to do it! Let’s break it down, stage by stage!