What is the Customer Journey? Well, you almost won’t believe it, but it maps out the journey of potential customers. You see, there’s no need to make things hard or complicated in marketing.
The customer journey is what I call ‘semi-linear’. It goes in a straight line, but also takes retention and advocacy into account. So, it does what the Flywheel does, but in a much simpler way.
Advantages of Customer Journey
When building the Customer Journey, you look at your business through the eyes of a potential customer. This is a huge advantage, because, in the end, it will be the customer who decides whether or not you’re worth their time. Looking at your business from their perspective can really open things up for your business.
The Customer Journey identifies what clients are looking for, where they’re looking, how they’re feeling,… That means you know what to say to them, where to say it, what words to use, etc.
The Customer Journey can also help you predict what potential customers might want. When looking at your business from their perspective, you can identify little extras that would fit in really well with what you’re already offering. This can pleasantly surprise customers, encouraging retention and advocacy.
This funnel was created in the late 1990’s, so it’s not as young as the Flywheel but still relatively young compared to the traditional sales funnel. It’s at that fine age where it’s been around long enough to have proven results over time, but is still young enough so that it’s not rusted into old (and wrong) habits.
But it’s been around for over a quarter century though, and that means that inevitably there will be different variations and spins on it. But, throughout the years, most versions will include these five stages:
You’ve made it through the blog so far (congratulations to you!) so you’re familiar with what these stages mean right now.
What I like about the Customer Journey, is that it’s relatively simple to assign certain things to them. For example, you know that a loyalty program belongs in the Retention phase and that an ad explaining the benefits of your product belongs in the Consideration phase.
Disadvantages of the Customer Journey
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been pretty positive about the Customer Journey. It’s by far my most favorite funnel to use, so that might explain it. However, there still are some disadvantages that you should be aware of.
For starters, it’s great that you can look at your company through the eyes of your potential customer, but how well do you really know them? Is it always safe to assume you know exactly who they are and what they want?
In order for you to make the right assumptions, you need to do a lot of preparation and research and, best case, actively include customers in helping you map out the journey.
You won’t always have the time or resources to do this, however, leading to the fact that sometimes you have to make assumptions and guess what they want. This is obviously not recommended, but if you’ve got enough experience and knowledge about your customers and your product or services, a little calculated guess can do little to no harm. It’s still not ideal, however.
But this guesswork can also be found at stages of the Flywheel and the Sales Funnel, so it’s not exclusively linked to the Customer Journey.
You should also know that the “journey” isn’t always a straight line. People can go from almost buying your product to changing their mind at the last minute and not consider a purchase again for over a year. There’s little to nothing you can do about that.
It also is in danger of becoming too complex because there are just so many touchpoints today. A touchpoint is any time a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your business.
Today, there are about a dozen social media, television, steaming services, e-books, magazines, newspapers, books, road sings, billboards, celebrity and influencer endorsements,… Trying to fit them all in your Customer Journey can be overwhelming.
Even though it can be challenging to view your business through the eyes of a customer, there are enough tools and even some happy customers who can help you do this.
The Customer Journey is not too complicated, but still offers more than enough insights to make a well-thought-out decision about how you should proceed with your marketing and communication.
It can, however, require some time and commitment. You will need to dedicate time and resources if you want to reap all the benefits of correctly building and implementing a Customer Journey. But even with limited resources, I believe the Customer Journey is the best solution for small and large businesses. Simply because it offers what the Sales Funnel doesn’t, without making it as complex as the Flywheel.