Marketing Foundations: The Customer Decision Journey Online Course

Who is your ideal customer? What is their buying process like? How do they behave? These are crucial questions to ask when attempting to achieve business success. Differentiation, relevance, and trust are the three pillars upon which your marketing strategy must be founded. Differentiation ensures your product is easy to find amongst your competitors. Relevance makes sure that your product or service solves a real problem for your target audience. Finally, trust builds the case for why your target audience should believe what you say and do.

To answer these questions, we must look at the customer decision journey. We will then be able to map out the ideal customer’s path to purchasing your product and determine the best strategies to take along the journey. This is known as marketing strategy formulation.

The following marketing foundations course will introduce you to the basics of the customer decision journey, how to approach strategy formulation, and how to put all of this into practice.

Marketing Foundations: The Customer Decision Journey

The journey begins with a series of awareness steps. Your product or service may be introduced to your prospective customers through different methods such as;

  • Awareness- Through advertising, promotions, or direct marketing.
  • Attract- To grab the attention of your target audience and compel them to take action.
  • Consider- To persuade your target audience to think about your product or service and consider purchasing it.
  • Purchase- Once your target audience decides to make a purchase, educate them on the benefits of the product and ensure they make a happy and lasting experience by following up after the sale.
  • Re-market- To encourage former customers to come back and make further purchases.
  • Loyalty- To retain customers by providing exceptional service and value.

What is the customer decision journey?

The customer decision journey is the step-by-step process that customers go through when deciding to purchase your product or service. In other words, it’s the path that leads a customer from initial awareness of your product or service, to a decision to purchase it, to a continued use and evolution of the product or service into a long-term relationship (e.g., loyalty).

The customer decision journey is made up of three distinct stages;

  • Awareness
  • Attract
  • Consider

These stages reflect the crucial questions that emerge for your product or service at each step along the way. For example, when a customer becomes aware of your product or service, you’re essentially asking them;

“Will you consider purchasing our product or service?”

“Will you be attracted to our product or service?”

“Will you choose our product or service compared to those of our competitors?”

Why does it matter where your customers come from?

The most effective strategy is often the simplest one. In the same way that an accurate map is the best way to navigate, having precise data about your customers can be incredibly useful. Knowing where your customers are, what platforms they’re using, and what is important to them can help you craft the most effective marketing strategy for bringing them closer to making a purchase. This data can be found in the form of;

  • Demographics (Age, Gender, Location, Economic Status)
  • Performance metrics (Product usage, Order history, etc.)
  • User feedback (Product reviews, Event attendance, etc.)

Knowing which platforms and channels your customers are using can help you find them and engage with them. The more you know about your customers, the better you can tailor your approach to achieve results. Tailored marketing is the name given to this philosophy of individualizing each customer’s experience. By understanding your customers’ needs, wants, and concerns, you can craft marketing messages that will appeal to them and bring about the desired results.

The ideal customer research process

The customer is the king or queen of the marketing project. No matter how wonderful your product or service is, it will never matter if nobody buys it. You can’t serve someone who doesn’t exist. Before you put a single ad into circulation, you need to know who your target audience is, what they want, and how you can provide it.

To find your ideal customer, you must take into account what they want and need. This takes a bit of creativity and some outside the box thinking, but it’s essential for putting together an effective marketing strategy. Start by considering what you know about your customers;

Demographics- What age group, gender, and location they fall into.

Performance metrics- How much your product or service is being used and how effectively it is being sold.

User feedback- Anything that can help you improve and shape your product or service, ranging from positive to negative (e.g., complaints, queries, etc.).

From this, you can determine what your customers want and need. What are their pain points? What features or benefits do they find most appealing? This will all be reflected in the customer persona you create. Take some time to fill out a simple survey that can help you find these answers and much more. With a little bit of research, you can find the answers you need and move forward confidently to put your marketing strategy into place.

The customer decision journey framework

The customer decision journey framework is a tool that will assist you in mapping out your customers’ path to purchase, as well as the essential questions that should be answered at each stage. The framework can be used to identify key decision points along the way and the best strategy to take at each one of them. Before we get into how to utilize this tool, it’s important to understand what it is and what it isn’t.

The customer decision journey framework is not a step-by-step guide to selling a product. This would be akin to having a step-by-step guide for creating a business plan. Instead, the customer decision journey framework is a tool that will assist you in formulating the right marketing strategy for your product or service, taking into account the various stages of decisionmaking and the variables that influence each stage.

The framework is very simple to use. At the beginning of your journey, you will identify the key decision points. Next, you will map out the essential questions that should be answered at each stage. Finally, you will lay out the variables that can influence the decisions made at each stage. With this information, you can put together a plan of attack for getting your product or service to the top of the funnel and into the hands of your customers. This is also the place where you should identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) to keep track of your progress.

How does it work?

The customer decision journey framework will guide you through the process of identifying your key decision points and answering the crucial questions that emerge at each stage. To begin, you will simply need to fill out the survey that corresponds to the first stage of your customer decision process (e.g., awareness).

For each of the three distinct stages (Awareness, Attract, Consider), you will answer questions that reflect the critical decisions that need to be made at that stage. When you reach the final stage of your customer decision process (e.g., Purchase), you will answer questions about the benefits and drawbacks of your product or service, as well as the factors that influence whether or not a customer will keep using your product or service. Additionally, you will evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy and create a plan for improving matters.

Putting it into practice

To get the most out of the customer decision journey framework, you must put it into practice. When creating your plan of attack, you will have a starting point from which to work. It’s a good idea to create a flowchart of the customer decision process, putting the framework into practice. This will help you identify each step of the way, as well as the critical questions that need to be answered at each stage. The more you can do this, the better. Having all of this mapped out will then be the key to formulating a marketing strategy that gets your product or service in front of the right audience.