Navigating the Vital Role of Mapping Customer Journeys in High-Consideration Purchases

The saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Too often for marketers, this saying is used as a crutch when facing the challenges of marketing to prospects in high-consideration purchase categories. Whether it’s choosing a health care provider, selecting a college, booking a vacation, or financial planning and investments, such decisions involve extensive research, comparison, and evaluation before conversion. However, in today’s analytics-rich world of marketing, the struggles of navigating through these once uncharted waters should be a thing of the past. Mapping out the customer journey from awareness to conversion and beyond is no longer an option, but rather an indispensable strategy for success. Let’s delve into why it’s so crucial.

Understanding the Terrain

It starts here, marketers need to be planful and do their research up-front to gain a clear understanding of what the terrain looks like, otherwise, how do you know you are prepared to take it on? High-consideration purchases entail significant investments of time, money, and emotion. Unlike low-cost impulse buys, consumers embark on a journey of deliberation and well-researched exploration when making these decisions. This thoughtful consumer approach makes it imperative for marketers to clearly understand the many pathways that customers take during their journey to arrive at a brand connection.

Know Who You Want to Connect With

Again, marketers need to be knowledgeable going in. Building out well-defined target personas compiled from both demographic and psychographic data sets a course for a more holistic approach to mapping the customer journey, which allows marketers to be more strategic at the top of the funnel giving greater success to building meaningful connections with prospects from the start. Equally as important as the “who”, is the “what” – strategically identifying and executing tactics that work at the various stages of the journey; awareness, consideration, decision-making, and post-purchase – to reach prospects, allows marketers to tailor their messaging and interactions accordingly. This “meet me where I am” approach fosters trust and rapport, which is crucial in influencing high-consideration purchase prospects.

Guiding Decision Making

Do not just set it and let it. Even the most well-thought-out customer journey – from awareness to conversion – can be impacted by uncertainty and indecision, and other influences outside of the controls put in place by the plan. Understanding that even the most well-thought-out and strategic customer journey serves only as a guide for prospects navigating the competitive choices available. It is important for marketers to have foresight and control as much as they can by anticipating potential roadblocks and addressing them proactively. Then once in execution mode, it becomes critical to leverage the tools of today’s digital age to put measurements in place at each step of the journey and monitor and optimize along the way to improve performance and user experience, ultimately creating a frictionless flow that engages prospects and moves them more effectively and efficiently towards a conversion.

Maximize ROI

A strategic approach also applies to budget allocation. High-consideration purchases often involve lengthy sales cycles and substantial marketing investments. Mapping the customer journey with aligned goals and budgets enables marketers to allocate resources appropriately by allocating resources to researched platforms and tactics that have proven the highest returns at each stage. Noting, this too is not a set-it-and-let-it part of the plan, ongoing optimizations to the marketing mix and allocated resources can maximize ROI.

Ongoing Engagement

Many marketers map the customer journey out in the shape of a funnel, with the narrowest part being conversion. However, the journey doesn’t end at conversion; in fact, it’s just the beginning. Therefore, looking at the journey as an hourglass seems much more appropriate. By continuing to engage and support customers post-purchase, marketers can foster loyalty and advocacy, turning one-time buyers into lifelong brand ambassadors and creating opportunities for ongoing engagement and exceeding customer expectations. And it is with this informed data set of customers that strategic analysis is applied and the bottom half of the hourglass is expanded by identifying and connecting to the prospects most like the customers who converted and therefore have the highest propensity to purchase.

Staying Agile

The landscape of high-consideration purchases is ever-evolving, shaped by changing consumer behaviors, market trends, and competitive dynamics. Mapping the customer’s journey should remain agile and responsive in the face of uncertainty. Ongoing monitoring and analysis of customer interactions, feedback, and performance metrics, can adapt strategies in real time and allow marketers to stay ahead of the curve.

Navigate with Confidence

In navigating the flow of high-consideration purchases, the customer journey is not a static map; but rather a dynamic compass that guides marketers towards success. By understanding the terrain, knowing your prospects, guiding decision-making, maximizing ROI, ongoing engagement, and staying agile, businesses can navigate through the complexities of the customer journey with confidence and with great results, not only in driving conversion but also building the prospect base, and enduring relationships that result in a journey that is more effective and efficient.

Looking to chart a course or improve your customer journey in a high-consideration category? Reach out to us. We’re always up for sharing insights and guidance steeped in our strategic approach and proven results.

Posted by David Refinski