Consumers take a fluid approach to engaging with brands that can seem more like a winding mountain trail than a straightforward tunnel. Buyers today can skip to purchase without knowing a brand, get stuck in the consideration phase, or change their minds – just like hikers may take shortcuts, circle back, or wander off the path completely. Marketers must engage these buyers with an understanding of their challenges, inform them in a way that resonates, persuade them there’s more good stuff to come, and then invite them to act.
Buying journeys, no matter where they start or end, are all about fulfilling a desire or solving a problem. A marketers’ first task is to engage by way of empathizing with the consumer and understand their problems or desires.
Start by digging into the data. What media are they consuming? What channels are they interacting with? By creating an overview of what you can identify as their needs, you’ll be better positioned to design programs and messaging that directly connect.
Once you’ve engaged someone, you need to keep their interest by giving them something of value or informing them of why they should want to see, hear, and learn more from you.
Messaging and campaigns should start and stop with the value they add. To keep the consumer’s attention, you need to convey some new piece of knowledge or give them a reason to act at every point of outreach.
With the information you’ve artfully teased, your next task is persuading someone that there is more good stuff where that first bit came from. What form that persuasion takes and where it reaches customers should be guided by data, including but not limited to geography, psychographics, content, and creative. Focus on targeting with data that matches where they are in their journey. Spread your persuasive data-informed messaging across channels and touchpoints, so messages reinforce one another and form a loop that keeps the buyer on the trail.
Once your buyer has made it to “the peak of the mountain,” it’s time to invite them to take one more step. The key is in respecting how they got there and making sure your final invitation is relevant to them and aligned with their original goals. Dig into your data to identify groups who took similar journeys and craft a unique invitation based on their shared characteristics.
Focus on the value add in your messaging and make it unique. Make sure you can communicate how you’ll make the time each buyer has spent with you worth their while. Then, implement a cross-channel measurement system that covers each buyer’s entire journey and extracts clear lessons. Working with a trusted partner that can measure results across channels will help ensure you have the right data to guide your future efforts.