If at the dawn of marketing the product was the beginning and end of every action, with Digital and the development of Social Media, the customer has ended up at the centre of attention, in all phases of the journey from potential customer to lead and then customer.
Today the relationship between company and customer does not stop with the purchasing process, but becomes circular. The customer must not only be intercepted and pushed to purchase, but also accompanied towards a loyalty to the brand that passes first of all from the values and opportunities it offers and communicates.
The Customer Journey comes into play here, a term that encompasses various moments that can be traced back to different objectives: to attract and conquer the customer, pamper him and make him loyal to the Brand. A path that today we can trace thanks to digital, which increases the points of contact between the company and its audience, ensuring traceability and personalization.
Customer Journey: purchasing becomes an experience
The term Customer Journey encompasses, in a nutshell, everything that happens before and after the long-awaited conversion (be it a purchase or the acquisition of a contact). It is an experience that, unknowingly, we all have, before and after purchasing a product.
Let’s suppose we discover for the first time on television (or on the radio, or online, or on the street) a new perfume from a new Brand. After a certain period of time, we find ourselves in a perfumery and we are undecided whether to change fragrance or buy the usual perfume.
In the time elapsed between the first contact with this new product / brand, the path to purchase could have been of any kind: we may have searched for the Brand online or seen it on billboards, we may have tried the perfume in some store. or having heard of it from a friend who bought it.
Similarly, after the purchase a new path begins: it is the one that potentially allows us to achieve brand loyalty. We could decide to buy the product again or recommend it to a friend, give it away, write a review. All actions relevant to the Brand, and all halfway between the digital and the real.
Each path is made up of micro-moments
Understanding how these similar but complementary paths develop and involve people allows us to acquire useful information and adopt the best strategies to intercept them and direct them towards the Brand.
Google talks about micro-moments to describe what we experience along the way: an online search, the request for directions, the visit to a physical store; points of contact that today become measurable and achievable, but above all customizable according to the user – who is and must always remain at the centre.
These are processes that have already been underway for some time – the loyalty cards of the Supermarket have now reached the milestone of 30 years – where physicality mixes with digital and makes it possible to track behaviours, measure data, obtain results. How? Entering a path already in place, not to force it but to follow it and fully understand it.
An email to ask for a review, a discount coupon for a new purchase, an application that shows a notification if you are near an official store: these are techniques usually used by big brands but that we can take into consideration for different strategies.
The role of digital for a complete path
The advantage of Digital, in all this, lies in the possibility of significantly increasing the playing field of this match between virtual and real.
Social Media, Email, Blog, Advertising, but also Applications and Instant Messaging allow us to integrate physical touchpoints (shops, info points, events, phone calls) to intercept the user, respond to their needs, personalize the message. All with the great, twofold advantage of monitoring and related control over the investment.
Designing a complete and omnichannel path is not easy, for this reason it is necessary to create vertical strategies based on the needs of the Brand, on its objectives, on its target: only in this way will it be possible to define which are the best tools to use, which parameters correctly monitor and evaluate the return on investment.