The Customer Value Journey
Written by Ben Skelton
Good marketing is about putting the right message, in front of the right people, at the right time. Simple right? Well, at least it sounds simple.
The most valuable customers are the ones that not only buy from you once, but stay with you long term. To do this you need to build deep and lasting relationships. While technology is a helpful tool and has revolutionised digital marketing, many businesses have forgotten that the principles of relationship building are universal. It is about getting to know each other, deepening the rapport and consistently being there to grow the connection. Whether it is online, or in person, relationships don’t just spring out of thin air. You have to invest in building and nurturing them if you want to make them real. In other words, marketing should be a journey of discovery, not just a one-night stand.
So, how can business owners make sure their message is in front of the right people, at the right time and that they are building real relationships with their customers?
A Customer Value Journey is a strategic relationship building framework that is essential for any business trying to navigate the online landscape in 2019.
WHAT IS THE CUSTOMER VALUE JOURNEY?
The Customer Value Journey is an 8-step path that maps out the desired journey for your target audience. Put simply, it is a journey that takes a person from brand ignorance to raving supporter of everything you do.
Most people are great at forming relationships when speaking to someone one-on-one. We were all taught as children how to listen to people, show how you’re interested in what they have to say and hold a conversation. But for some reason, when we get online we speak to people in a totally different way. We stop having conversations and start using it as a platform to just shout your thoughts and messages as loud as you can to anyone who will listen. This one to many approach isn’t working like it used to. You have to remind yourself of your relationship building roots and start approaching online interactions like they are one-to-one.
The conversations you have need to be mapped out as a journey and they don’t happen accidentally, it has to be considered and strategic. We need to build relationships just like we would be any other intimate relationship. You meet, you feel a connection, you exchange numbers, you go on your first date, you have your first kiss, you see each other exclusively, you move in together, you meet the parents, you get engaged, you get married, you have babies and you live happily ever after. Of course, the steps don’t always go like this, but you get the idea!
It would be really strange if you were on your first date with someone and they proposed marriage to you, right? But we do this over and over again in business, particularly online. We jump right to ‘marriage’ with our customers[, demanding they buy from us from first touch and the community runs in the opposite direction.
If you aren’t killing it with online sales but think that you are doing everything you should be doing, chances are you’re guilty of this.
This is where the Customer Value Journey will absolutely revolutionise your marketing and win you lots of fans along the way.
THE STAGES OF THE CUSTOMER VALUE JOURNEY
This is the phase where a potential customer becomes aware of your brand or product. This often occurs by seeing an ad, finding you in a search, being referred, reading a blog or any other marketing activity. In this stage, prospects want access to a ‘discovery’ of the brand before they are pushed into action to give up an email address, sign up for more information or buy your products and services.
This phase is when a prospect first engages with your brand. They might read a blog, visit your website, react to a social media post with a like or comment. In this stage a business can focus on developing trust, rapport, conversation and relatedness with a consumer, long before you ask them to hear about a product, buy a product or buy another product. High quality content is key.
The subscribe phase is where a business uses gated content in exchange for an email address or phone number. This is the critical stage where a prospect turns into a lead. In normal relationship this might be an exchange of numbers.
This stage is about changing the relationship you have with your leads. In the convert phase they go from being a lead to one of your customers. Please note – this is not about making money, it is about changing the relationship by getting a commitment of time or money out of your lead. The barrier to entry must be low (small purchase or commitment, but a commitment nonetheless). Depending on the product this could be seen as the first date, first kiss or moving in together.
This is where the customer receives the actual value from their initial transaction. The excite stage is the single most neglected stage by businesses. If you’ve had a great first date it might be a good idea to follow up with them! The hard work isn’t done simply because you’ve had a sale, it’s time to “wow” them! Buy them metaphorical flowers so they know this just the beginning of a wonderful, lasting relationship.
These are the core products, upsells, cross-sells, profit maximisers, incentives and value-adds (eg training) that brings profit and additional revenue to the business by extending the lifetime value of the customer.
A customer gives a (positive) review, testimonial or case study.
A customer tells their friends/colleagues about your brand.
The Customer Value Journey is your businesses new age marketing weapon. I implore every business to create their own map. If you don’t, just know that there are other people who are and they are winning friends and influencing people.
The first step is to go and try to fill out all 8-steps as they relate to what your business’ marketing looks like today. Then brainstorm how you can strengthen the parts that are weak or bare. If you have lots of missing spots, chances are your business isn’t building the type of relationships it needs for rapid, sustainable growth. If yours is looking pretty full, this is your opportunity to make it bigger and better! I challenge you to go even harder on building exceptional relationships online and for your customers.
If you want to create your own Customer Value Journey and build a strategy from it email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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