five stages

The better you know your customers, the easier it is to market to them. Of course, it’s one of the first things you learn as a marketer. But how well are you putting it into practice? To really succeed at content marketing, you need to know their needs, inside out. Only then will you be able to create a customer journey that will turn them from prospects to loyal clients.

Do you practice Customer Experience Management?

According to Bernd Schmitt, Customer Experience Management is “the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company.” So how important is it to manage every customer interaction as they pass down the sales funnel? It’s something that enterprise companies, employing more than 2,500, are significantly more likely to adopt as part of their overall strategy—56 percent of them have done so. This compares to just 33 percent of mid-sized companies and 27 percent of small businesses. Obviously, this reflects the resources and expertise required to manage such a strategy, but it also reflects a greater concern on the part of enterprise companies to nurture their customers. Only 29 percent of enterprise companies rate themselves as very effective at creating a cohesive customer journey, compared with 40 percent of small businesses.

The five stages of the customer journey

Building your customer interactions around a five-stage model will result in a managed customer journey. The stages we use are listed below, but you can tailor them to suit your own proposition. However, you need to constantly build up brand trust along the journey and make sure the experience is consistent.

  • Research—customers are getting to know your brand, products and services and relating them to problems they have. This is where you can take the chance to educate them about problems they might not have even realised they have.
  • Consideration—now your prospects are evaluating and comparing you with alternative suppliers. They’ll be consuming more content and focusing on features and details that are valuable to them. You need to approach them appropriately or you won’t make it onto their shortlist.
  • Acquisition—as they move into the acquisition stage, their interaction with you will become more personal. One-to-one meetings and demos can be used to build a personal relationship.
  • Conversion—you’ll need to provide a compelling reason for them to make the purchase. At this point you’ll be talking to the decision maker rather than just influencers.
  • Retention—making the purchase shouldn’t be the end of the customer journey. Nurture first-time buyers post sale to turn them into advocates and loyalists moving forward. To achieve this, make sure onboarding runs smoothly and give them all the guidance and information they need early on.

For further insight into how you can address your customers’ needs, blockers and touchpoints along the customer journey, register for our new webinar:

B2B Content strategy

Is your content connected to your customers? 

Presented by SuccessFlow Managing Director, Mark Donkin and Creative Director, Karl Horton 

Register now

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Request a 15 minute presentation