Understanding your audience—one could argue that everything a marketer does begins and ends with it. You’ve probably already tried the customer profiles, personas, and endless stereotyping (see: “Millennials, roasting of”). And surprise surprise, you haven’t touched them since you created them.
Before long, most marketers abandon these profiles and stereotypes, because they honestly don’t care whether the credit card holder is 25 years old, or 70. And demographics only describe loose correlations about your audience—but knowing whether your audience is 25 or 70 does not give you insight about what interactions they took to find you, and why they buy from you. You can pick channels based on demographics, but the channel is irrelevant if you don’t have the right message.
How Customer Journey Maps Break the Cycle of Bad Profiling
Customer journey maps help you identify why customers say yes to your product several times before they actually purchase. And by understanding why customers begin to interact first with your vertical, then your brand and then your product, you can shorten the time frame in between each one.
But don’t make the same mistake most marketers make: customer journey map and sales cycles are not one and the same. The customer journey map only has your brand and offering as a small portion of your customers’ overall mission. It’s not linear like a sales cycle, and it’s not focused on your business like a sales cycle. Instead, it’s focused on what job has to be done, and your offering is one of many options available to do it.
A Customer Journey Map...with a Few Twists
That’s why Rogue developed our own customer journey map, and we’ve turned it into a useful framework you can apply to your own organization. But as with all things Rogue, it’s not your run-of-the-mill template that you could find (and probably have already found) anywhere else.
Many maps will follow the SiriusDecisions’ model of Awareness, Discovery, Decision (which we completely respect, btw). We shied away from that method to better represent and accommodate the fluid process of arriving at a purchase decision. Here’s what we did:
Awareness & Discovery
These stages from SiriusDecisions are grouped into a single stage because the audience is constantly circling between learning and diving deeper, learning and diving deeper.
So why do they keep circling back? Probably because most brands want to talk about themselves, or the problems they solve, rather than the goals their audience is trying to achieve. (Not sure what the difference is? We’d love to hash it out with you.)
Demo & Decision
The truth is, very few leads get one demo and are done (at least in the B2B tech world). This buyer stage is filled with presentations as you get passed up the corporate ladder. After the demos are happening and you aren’t in the room, conversations are swirling about their goals and whether or not your product is going to help them get where they want to go.
By understanding the shift in tone that this stage represents, you are better able to position content to guide their conversations rather than sending emails with injections of your value proposition.
Remorse & Advocacy
Customers come back—whether to buy from you again, or to tell others about their experience with you. What they say about you can make your marketing a lot easier, or significantly harder. Guiding customers from Remorse all the way through Advocacy is a long-term marketing play, but in a digital economy, customers aren’t here for the short game.
Within each phase of each stage, there are some key elements you need to understand in order to give your audience what they need in order to come to the conclusion that they need you more than any other choice. Let’s knock these out in quick order:
Sounds Like – How would your audience frame their goals in their own words?
Goals – What do they need to accomplish in order to move into the next phase?
Activity – What is the audience doing to accomplish those goals, agnostic of any brand?
Company Interaction – How are they interacting with your content (internal or external) or property to meet their goals?
CTA – Which CTA is your audience willing to take in order to accomplish their goal at this phase? (Note: it’s not always “buy now” or “get a demo.”)
Thinking/Feeling – What is the audience considering relative to their work environment?
Aspirations/Concerns – How will this process impact your audience personally?
Content Topics and Media Types – If you haven’t done a content audit yet, you’ll need it. This stage tells you if your content is on the right track or not.
Industry Content Samples – What are your competitors doing to help prospects move from one phase to the next?
How Are You Framing Audience Goals?
Rogue sees companies of all sizes expecting leads to become customers in 6 weeks or less. That’s because companies get focused on their own goals—not their customers’ goals. Brands in today’s economy are a lifestyle. Audiences develop affinities for brands long before they purchase, or without purchasing at all. You will only be able to develop (and, in stages, benefit from) their affinity by helping them reach their goals.
We’ve been doing this for a long time. If you’d like to chat about your audience and generate some new ideas, we’re always happy to talk.
A bunch of Rogue marketers