To be better advertisers, we need to first be customers

To be better advertisers, we need to first be customers
June 7, 2017 Ben Shapira

Advertising is about providing incremental value to our clients over a period of time, helping them drive awareness, engagement and sales. We have a variety of channels and tactics at our disposal along with terabytes of data to help inform our decisions, but in the modern age of advertising, we often miss the human equation – our end user – our customer.

To be better advertisers and marketers, we need to be customers first. We need to put ourselves in the place of customers, going through the entire path to purchase to truly understand our clients. It’s by this process we can understand the gaps in offering, the issues and concerns our customers have with the overall experience with the brand and with each step in the relationship.

In short, it’s about the customer journey.

Businesses are too close to their products, services and environments to truly appreciate the customer experience. Which is why some of the larger organizations hire mystery shoppers – but this typically only tracks the aspects of the engagement that the brand deems as important.

By going through the entire customer journey, we can see how our customers engage with our brand at every touch point. At each phase of the process from research to purchase and post-purchase will help us understand how our brand communicates with customers.

Mapping the customer journey will define our product lifecycle form the customers perspective, not from the brands. Overlay that with the idealized version from the brand and we see the difference between ideal and real. We see opportunities to make our customers happier by making the experience better.

Every industry is highly competitive and margins are shrinking as we all race to the grab market share. What will set businesses apart from each other in the future is going to be about experience, not just product.

Businesses should look to strategy first.

Hire an independent strategist to map the customer journey, then work with your marketing, sales and c-suite to find the gaps against the idealized version your business intended. Find the gaps and invest in the changes needed to make a difference.

Remember – it’s not your journey – it’s theirs.

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