Target audience – why is the customer journey like climbing a mountain?
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We think that the customer journey is a bit like climbing up a mountain. In this Marketing Nugget, we’re looking at how one stage of the journey leads to another.
Stage one – building awareness
Building awareness is essential if your marketing activity is going to be effective. If nobody knows what you’re doing, how will they get to the point of purchase?
If you think of the customer journey as a trek up a mountain, the building awareness stage is at the bottom where the Visitors Centre is. Your target audience can find out what the journey ahead has to offer. They can have a think about if it’s something they’re interested in.
Even though you’ve identified your target audience, not everyone will go on to be a prospective customer.
It’s busy at the bottom of the mountain
- This is where you’ll have the most people – not everyone will decide to make the journey to the top.
- Some will decide it doesn’t suit their needs – the road that lies ahead could be too much of a challenge or conversely could be too easy.
- This is a good thing – you can’t be everything to everybody because you will quickly become nothing to nobody.
The logic here is that you have to build awareness with your target audience. You want to get on the radar of the people who are most likely to purchase from you and then take those who show they’re interested on a journey.
An important thing to remember is that this isn’t about the hard sell. It’s about being helpful. In this example, it could be about offering maps of the mountain and exhibiting great photos that have been taken by other people as they have ventured to the summit. The aim is to bring the experience to life without selling it because nobody likes being sold to.
Stage two – consideration phase
Half way up the mountain is where you start to get prospective customers. They like what they’ve heard so far and want to know more! They’re considering if what you’ve got to offer is worth the effort it takes to get to the top.
They’ve decided to set up camp at the mid-way point for a bit to perhaps have a picnic or BBQ. They probably want to look at what else is around them. From this vantage point, they can see a large lake in the distance, a forest walk and a tree house village. They’re asking if any of these options would suit their needs better before they commit.
In the consideration phase, they’re liking to be comparing
- Customer benefits – whether it would be a relaxing and calming or strenuous and invigorating experience?
- Quality – for example, is it something that’s quite different to anything else or does it offer amazing natural beauty?
- Value for money – how much would entry or a tour guide to each of these places cost? This would of course be relative to the experience offered and therefore value provided.
Perhaps, the most intriguing thing here is that all of these considerations are subjective. They are very much dependent on the perspective of the prospective customer.
Some of the prospective customers might turn back. They could decide that the effort to get to the summit isn’t worth it and they don’t want to pay for the tour guide needed to progress from this point onwards. Instead, they want to visit the tree top village which they didn’t know was there!
This is where knowing the quality of what you offer and your place in the market really helps. The people who go to the final stage are the ones who really want what you’ve got to offer.
Stage three – purchase and beyond
Getting to the summit of the mountain means the prospective customer has converted and become an actual customer. But, making the purchase is only part of the story. There is a lot more to the final stage of the customer journey.
Each part of stage three is linked
- Purchase – making that all important first sale. This means that the hard work that’s gone into marketing at the awareness and consideration stages is starting to pay off.
- Loyalty – this is where the customer goes on to make repeat purchases or buys another product or service. It could be thought of as deciding to build a house at the top of the mountain because the view is so good!
- Recommendation – once the customer is bought in and truly loves what you’re doing they get even more engaged. They start to shout about what you’ve got to offer to family and friends.
There’s a cause and effect relationship between each of these final parts of the journey. Customers have to love what you’ve got to want more. They’ve then got to be increasingly happy to trust you and recommend.
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A quick recap
Whilst we like to think of the customer journey mountain, these three stages are often thought of as the marketing funnel, which is simply the mountain turned upside down! But, given that you’re taking your customers on a journey we think the mountain is a great way to bring it to life.
We’ve boiled down this Marketing Nugget on reaching your target audience to just three sentences so that they’re easy to remember and put into action:
- Building awareness – identify your target audience and get on their radar by being helpful and bringing what you have to offer to life.
- Consideration phase – it’s all about customer benefits and letting prospective customers know about the quality of your proposition and your brand values.
- Purchase and beyond – once a customer has bought from you, think about how you can encourage loyalty and recommendation.
Fancy a chat?
If you’re thinking about how you can reach your target audience more effectively and want some help, please just give us a shout. We can have a chat over a coffee underneath the space rocket in our office.
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