Five Stages of Customer Journey- The Customer Experience Era – Part 2

Last time we used a female Bird of Paradise to signify the difference social media and the internet have had on our purchasing decisions. We noted that there’s no longer a need to kiss a hundred frogs in order for her to find her one true prince. No need to physically confront them all and watch their fear of rejection as they dance and preen for her. No more restriction to the local gene pool. Instead, she has an available choice from all over the forest and can afford the energy to travel for the best. Once she has made her choice and bought the deal, she can spread the results of her experience throughout the forest. She will refer this hunk to all her friends. Next season’s search will reveal the best in Brand Delivery and they will be invaded with new customers. But Promises that didn’t deliver will forever be met with a scornful “Oh, him!” No wonder some businesses are so terrified today!

 

The losers are the ones who haven’t properly defined their brand promise (is this guy my path to paradise or is he a sparrow?). There are also those whose brand promise doesn’t reflect what they actually deliver. These are the businesses that are reckless in their promises and who don’t pay attention to all touchpoints along the customer journey. They will eventually be found out, wither, and ultimately die.

 

The winners however are the ones who recognize that this digital age is as much a wonderful opportunity as a threat. They have recognized the benefits of social media—the combination of a targeted niche broadcast as well as an opportunity to engage on a personal level. They have adapted and survived just as Darwin and Wallace had predicted of some.

 

Social media is hugely important for one key reason: the recognition that customers are far more likely to believe what their friends tell them rather than what you might say. That’s why you need to engage on social media. Your campaigns are about driving word-of-mouth to spread the message more effectively and far more cheaply than with any other advertising channel.

 

Let’s go back to the Awareness phase of the journey, which forms part of the brand promise. The old model was a monologue—a one-way conversation. It was the business telling the customer, “I know what’s best to meet your need.” But social media marketing is a dialogue, and if you’re going to run a campaign on social media then it needs to be a dialogue. Sales pitches don’t cut it. Messages must become conversations. Target audiences are communities of people who are interested in the market niche you are selling to—and they do talk to each other. You must personally engage with these users. Remember that they’re people; not hash tags. People do something with your brand when they are in love. It’s an emotional experience.

 

Your key goal from social media campaigns is to generate positive word-of-mouth referrals. You build respect and trust by providing useful information and feedback. Then let word-of-mouth take over and create the buzz that drives referrals, sales and increased market share. Sales pitches and marketing campaigns are simply inappropriate in this context.

 

Social media campaigning is not easy. Because it’s a dialogue, it’s not something you can fully plan for. It won’t always go the way you want or expect it to go. But if your brand delivery is solid, you will be well on your way to positive results. We actually need to discuss this subject a lot more, don’t we?

 

Graeme Stevens
CEO and Co-Founder
neXtep easy
www.nextepeasy.com

 

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