If you are in marketing, you well know that for years we were told that the customer conversion funnel looked like this:
A direct, linear pathway to a sale that ended at the conversion.
Later, we were told the funnel was no longer a 'funnel', but instead a loop - that looked like this:
With the conversion point no longer the end of the journey, but instead opening a new pathway towards building customer loyalty and advocation.
But in today's world, with hundreds of thousands of media outlets and different ways to consume content, the customer conversion journey really looks more like this:
It's nearly impossible to map every single pathway to conversion that a potential customer might take. The days of dictating what the customer journey is for the customer, and building content to encourage the customer to move to the next phase of that journey, are over. The best thing for brand marketers to do now is to relinquish control.
Because now the customer is in the driver's seat.
In today's increasingly digital world the customer has more power then ever to determine when, how and where they interact with brands. It will be on their own terms and in their own time. Therefore brand marketers must adapt.
Some of the best methods to accommodate this new consumer power are to leverage complex (and expensive) omnichannel and dynamic personalization technologies.
However, I know that we don't all have the means of implementing such technologies into our marketing efforts yet. So there are a few steps I recommend brand marketers adhere to in the meantime.
1. Don't make assumptions:
Don't assume that someone who downloaded your product whitepaper is ready to talk to a sales rep. They ultimately might not have found that whitepaper useful and require 3 more (or different) pieces of content before they are ready to engage with someone from the sales department.
Don't assume that a customer is visiting your social media handles for your thought-leadership articles. They might be engaging your social handle because they have a customer service question or a concern to be addressed - be sure someone is there to answer them.
Don't assume that your AdWords copy was the reason that a person converted. They may have seen a billboard, and then read a blog article, and then been delivered a display ad 15 times, and then had a conversation with a friend, before ultimately deciding to purchase and doing so by searching for your brand name in a search engine. Don't assume Search deserves more of your marketing spend because that was the customer's "last touch".
Ultimately, do not pigeonhole a customer to a result based on one action that they took. Just because another customer, or even most customers, react in one way does not mean this consumer will; and assuming that they will will result in a lost customer.
2. Provide choices:
While this may not always be something you can offer through your marketing efforts, providing choices to a customer and allowing them to choose what they need instead of having you tell them will be the most rewarding for them. And ultimately the most rewarding for you since it will likely keep them engaged with your brand longer.
For example, offer additional whitepapers for a customer to choose from after they've downloaded the first one in addition to the ability to speak to a sales rep if they want.
Post thought-leadership content on your social media accounts but also occasionally ask your community if they have any feedback to share. Social media accounts are a two-way street after all, use them to build relationships and make new connections, which might also end up benefiting your company in the long run by making your product or services stronger.
Always allow a user to 'unsubscribe' from your newsletters. Nothing destroys brand affinity like sending unwanted emails to customers who have no way to tell you to STOP.
So remember to always provide a choice if you have the ability to.
3. Repurpose your content:
It is certainly daunting to think about the many different forms of content you'll need to produce in order to accommodate the ever-expanding amount of touchpoints in today's customer journey.
However, you don't always have to; repurposing your existing content into multiple formats and for different platforms will help keep you from spending precious time & money on generating original content every time.
All content can be repurposed into different formats for different platforms and for different stages of the customer journey. Whitepapers can be turned into listicles, blog posts can be turned into slideshows, videos can be turned into eBooks, etc.
Diversifying the format will give your existing content additional exposure and allows more possibility for a customer to engage with it via their preferred media.
I'll dive more into the specifics of how to repurpose your content in my next article...
Please feel free to leave me any comments, or reach out with any questions. I'll let you chose your preferred method from the below :)