The Customer Value Journey

The Customer Value Journey is the strategic foundation of Digital Marketing. It’s the master template upon which every other digital marketing discipline and tactic is built.

With a Customer Value Journey that strategically builds relationship with new prospects and converts them into loyal, repeat customers. This Journey is the process every prospect goes through to become a new customer. It’s how strangers become buyers and, eventually, raving fans of your business. The hard truth is that marketing is not a one-step process. There are eight stages you must account for on the path to purchase and promotion. If you understand this digital marketing strategy (a.k.a. the Customer Value Journey), then you can intentionally engineer your business in such a way that it moves people predictably through the stages in this template.

Customer Value Journey Worksheet:

Now let’s walk through the 8-step process of crafting your digital marketing strategy:

Step 1: Awareness

Before someone can buy from you, they have to realize you exist—right? Well, that’s Step 1 in the Customer Value Journey.

This step is pretty self-explanatory: It’s where the person becomes aware of you. After all, nobody is born knowing who Apple or Amazon are. At some point they have to become aware of these companies if they are to become a customer.

Step 2: Engagement

Your prospect is now aware of you—they know who you are—but you’re still in the early stages of a relationship with them. They don’t yet know you, like you, or trust you. So the next step is to start developing relationship with your prospect.

Step 2, Engagement, is where you start conversing with your prospects. You engage them through some form of content that provides entertainment, information, or both. Engagement is something that must continue throughout the Customer Journey. It’s not something you do once and move on.

Step 3: Subscribe

At this point, your prospect knows who you are and has engaged with you in some way or another. However, if you failed to get that person’s contact information, odds are high you’ll never hear from them again. Why?

Because people today are inundated with marketing and content, creating a scarcity of attention. Just because someone reads one of your blog posts today does NOT mean they’ll remember to revisit your site in the future. Instead, you need to get that person to progress to Step 3 in the Value Journey, which is to subscribe. Here, the person gives you their contact information and, in doing so, grants you permission to contact them again in the future.

Step 4: Convert

If the subscribers you gain in Step 3 of the journey remain engaged, some of them will be ready to increase their level of commitment. They like the information you share and have begun to trust you, so they’re ready to invest in one of two ways: either with time or money. At this stage, to ask for a significant investment in a complex product or service would be asking too much, too soon. You’re still in the early stages of relationship. In fact, it’s too early even to concern yourself with profitability. That’s right: in this stage of the Customer Journey, you might lose money on the prospects you acquire as buyers.

The Convert stage of the Customer Value Journey is about acquiring buyers or ramping up the commitment level of the leads you already have. It is NOT about profitability.

The most valuable businesses in the world all understand that the costliest marketing activity your business undertakes is customer acquisition.

Step 5: Excite

At this point, your new customer has had a transaction with you. A small transaction, sure, but a transaction nonetheless. Your job now is to make sure the transaction is a good one, that the excitement of the purchase develops into good will and trust.

The reason for this is simple: if the person doesn’t get value from this transaction, they won’t move on to the next stage and purchase more expensive things from you.

Step 6: Ascend

At this stage of the Value Journey, you’ve sunk time, money, and resources into acquiring leads and customers and making sure they get value from doing business with you. It’s entirely possible that, until this stage, you have yet to turn a profit. In fact, if you’re in a competitive market (and who isn’t?) you may be losing money on the front end of this process to acquire customers. That’s perfectly acceptable cause you’re investing in your future profits.

Always remember that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing one. That first sales isn’t about profits. It’s about converting a prospect to a customer, so you can begin a long (and profitable) customer relationship.

Step 7: Advocate

You now have a happy customer who has made several profitable purchases from you. The next stage in the Value Journey is to create marketing that encourages your most loyal customers to advocate for your business. An advocate is someone who speaks positively about your brand. They won’t necessarily promote your business in an active way, but when asked about you, they will respond favorably.

Step 8: Promote

Promoters differ from advocates in that they are actively seeking to spread the word about your brands, products, and services. The promoter simply had a great experience with your company and wants to share their story with friends and family. In other cases, they promote because you’ve created an incentive for them to do so.

References:

Digital Marketer. (n.d.). The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing. Course Hero. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/file/94978188/Ultimate-Guide-to-Digital-Marketingpdf/