A Unique Approach to Mapping Your Customer Experience.

Every business owner or marketing professional hopes that their marketing infrastructure will pull in the right customers, and ultimately lead them to making a purchase. But the million dollar question is – how?

Let’s start by pulling a page from the marketing playbook of Santiago Castillo with Schema, who recently published a blog post on Google Think, on the customer empathy journey. Instead of looking at your business from your own perspective, take time to learn who your customer is and put yourself in their shoes at every stage of the buying cycle.

From A to Z, before your customer even hears about you, to engagement, and finally to point of purchase – what are they feeling? What pain points are they experiencing? What are their needs throughout the buying cycle?

What are the stages of the buying cycle?

  • Awareness: Customer is introduced to your company; gains knowledge surrounding what you do, who you are, and how you can help them.
  • Consideration: Customer weighs the options of whether your value proposition is worth the purchase, and how it stacks up to competition or other solutions.
  • Preference: The customer experiences both an emotional and logical pull towards a solution, which leads to a point of purchase.
  • Purchase: The actual purchase or exchange of money and goods; when the customer buys from you.
  • Repurchase: The customer relives its preference phase of emotional and logical inclination toward one solution and chooses to buy the product or service again.

Implementing the customer empathy journey into your buying cycle.

Start by clearly defining one persona within your audience segment. Once defined, start the problem solving journey your selected persona experiences.

Take a look at an example scenario.

Let’s say you’re Target. One of your buyer personas is Candice – a 29 year old, newly married working professional who lives just outside of Seattle. Candice values authenticity and individualism, but she’s also frugal and isn’t willing to spend more than she has to.

Candice’s mental journey to Target.

  1. Candice’s nephew is turning 5 on Saturday. It’s Friday night and she’s about to head home from work, so she needs to get a present on the way home. But after a long week, Candice is tired, and just wants to go home. Convenience is a top priority.
  2. Candice racks her brain for a store that’s on the way home, that has convenient parking, would have a good present for her nephew, and that also has wrapping paper and cards. Fred Meyer? Feels too grocery store-like for this. Boutique store downtown? Too expensive and inconvenient. The mall? Out of the way, inconvenient, and overwhelming….Target? Yes, Target.
  3. Target is on the way home, it has cute products, they have a good variety of kid products to choose from, it feels classy but it’s not over priced, and they have everything she needs.
    Candice heads to Target. The parking lot is sparse so she gets a spot close to the entrance. She easily finds a present, a card, and even finds a couple of other household items she needs.
  4. She goes through self checkout, the cost? Very reasonable.
  5. She walks to her car – which is just a few steps from the exit –  and heads home to wrap the present for her nephew…all in a matter of 20 minutes. Not bad.

By interviewing your customers, or simply by walking through the buying journey as they experience it, wrapping your head around their needs becomes possible. With a clear understanding of what your customer needs, it gets a lot easier to meet each of these needs to create a painless and even pleasant buying journey.

Start empathizing with your customer, to inform a buyer’s journey that will separate your company from the rest.