Customer Decision Journey.
The digital age has upended the way marketing managers and business owners engage with the traditional sales funnel. The “Funnel” no longer captures the shifting reality of the Customer Decision Journey (CDJ) – how customers engage and make purchase decisions with brands. Traditionally, companies would use push marketing through paid advertising (both physical and digital) to build brand awareness, drive consideration and ultimately convert sales.
Forget about traditional strategies for a minute, though, and consider how quickly paid digital advertising trends change — they are almost instant and require consistent monitoring. Now, successful brands use the CDJ to create messaging that bonds with their target market. But, this bond mentioned drives consideration, inspires conversion, communicates in the post-purchase phase.
The experience interpreted by the consumer causes them to either join or abandon the Loyalty Loop. Meaningful bonding throughout the CDJ will ensure repeat business and brand advocacy, where consumers become champions of your product in the post-purchase phase. Kirsten Burkard explains the importance of brand advocates, loyalty and word of mouth in her smile.io article. Customers in the digital age do their own research and interpret a brand’s core marketing message through the expanse of marketing channels and customer advocacy.
What is a Core Marketing Message?
Marketers must consider Touch Points to deliver a Core Marketing Message and define a brand identity. How and where a consumer first interacts with a brand is the first phase of the customer decision journey. A Core Marketing Message must talk “to” the consumer and not “at” the consumer – too many companies try to push the sales pitch too soon. Consumers today are increasingly sensitive and averse to being “sold something.” A core marketing message must serve as an introduction to your brand; offering value while also being original and memorable. Here’s a great blog outlining 7 Components of a Brilliant Marketing Message with great examples taken from successful core marketing messages.
How to Create Your Marketing Message
In the marketing section of a business plan, you should have a few marketing exercises to anchor your messaging to your brand identity. Examples of brand identity exercises include a positioning statement, a brand persona and a customer segment analysis. These practices may seem frivolous, but they are crucial for message consistency and for anchoring your brand identity to your core marketing message. Your message should both simple and exciting, exhibiting your product or service differentiation to compel an online purchase. What is fresh and new about your product? Your message should evoke emotion, create imagery and be actionable.
How Marketing Channels Add Value
Choosing among the glut of channels available to market your core messages can be daunting and frustrating task. Understanding the reach of each marketing channel can help you decided how to optimize your brand messaging for your target market. The “go-to” channels are neatly laid out and explained by Valerie Neumark in this Rootid article. Just as there are exercises to help you develop your marketing message, there are also exercises to help you understand your target market. It is also important to stay up-to-date with potential changes different marketing channels, particularly Facebook for Business and Google.
Proof of Concept exercises may be useful to help you identify your addressable market. Create surveys to learn more about that market and get feedback for how to best align your message with a marketing channel. It is important to remember that the quality of the content, regardless of the channel, will ultimately determine how much vale you can derive from your marketing messages.