The Customer Journey Isn’t Linear Anymore: How Marketers Can Adapt

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Today’s consumers are in control. Consumers come in and out of the buying journey at different touch points, making it more difficult for brands to secure a solid understanding of what customers are thinking and when, where, how, and why they engage in the experience. 

Brands that previously were able to define a customer journey and maybe even map it out in a linear fashion face a new reality. They no longer possess the means to dictate how a consumer interacts with them. 

Here are three tips on how marketers can adapt their strategies for the new customer journey.

Take Time to Understand the Customer’s Mindset

Merely finding and targeting where and how the consumer is most likely to enter, exit, or complete the customer journey is important – but it’s not everything. Marketers need to also consider why customers behave in the ways they do. Understanding what the consumer’s mindset may be at any given point of interaction is where more promising insights and solutions come into play. What marketers commonly refer to as “the funnel” is simply a metaphor for where the consumer’s head will be during any given time within the customer journey.

Instead of spending time and money figuring out where the best place is to buy, marketers should focus on how they can best evolve and leverage what is already at their disposal by analyzing real-time data signals across hundreds of variables to better understand consumers’ propensity to convert.

Considering consumers’ intent and motives to behave in a certain way or take a certain path on the customer journey is how marketers can predict where a person will go and what they will do next before even they do. When marketers are able to get into the nitty gritty of what makes the customer journey the most enjoyable experience for a specific kind of person at any given time is when the most positive user experiences come about. As media buying moves towards becoming automated, these interpretation skills will become imperative to staying one step ahead of the consumer, giving them what they want, and even suggesting things they don’t even know they want yet. 

Find the Correct Digital Touch Points

To best target audiences and achieve the best results, marketers will need to consider all aspects and touchpoints of their consumers’ journeys. This could mean analyzing data showing where people are most likely to find the product or service and using that intel to shift resources there in order to keep the customer on track to completing the journey. 

If consumers are more likely to exit the customer journey on a certain page while shopping online due to a glitch that makes the experience unsatisfactory, this can let the team know a redesigned interface could improve the consumer journey. Likewise, marketers should consider where their customers are most commonly found to exit the journey due to a suboptimal customer experience and make repairs.

Active touch points sent to the consumer by the brand are another way to nudge them and remind them that the business is still there for them. Targeted advertising through social media, welcome emails, reminder messages that there’s something still in their cart, and invitations to review the consumer experience are just a few of the ways that marketers can attempt to take some of the power back.

Implement a More Personalized Journey

Another asset to consider when personalizing the customer journey is a company’s ability to be agile. By now, marketers are aware that consumers are affected by certain cultural, social, and economic trends when making decisions about just about anything. In this vein, marketers need to take current events into account as they might relate to a customer’s choice or reception of the experience.

For instance, marketers may want to air on the side of caution when it comes to consumers in the UK, as the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II may be cause for some increased sensitivity at this time. Some messaging that works well in markets for other consumers not so directly affected by this may not be as well received in this demographic. Keeping a pulse on what is going on in the world at any given time is a way for marketers – and all business leaders for that matter – to connect with their audiences.

Tom Burke is VP of Sales at AcuityAds.