In the not-so-distant past, the customer touchpoint journey resembled a quaint Sunday drive, with a few pit stops along the way. But in today's multichannel, always-on, and somewhat saturated consumer markets, the customer's journey is more likened to a high-energy road trip with copious stop-off opportunities en route.
And, thanks to data and technological advances combined with unpredictable customer behaviours and changing preferences - it’s a journey that’s constantly evolving!
The ways in which we can now show up in front of audiences and connect with potential customers are boundless. Still, these touchpoints need to stay relevant to meet the expectations of today’s dynamic customers, thus putting them in the driving seat.
Rising generations are particularly keen to do their research and find brands that resonate or provide highly satisfying solutions. Furthermore, they expect companies to do their own level of research, shunning a mass marketing approach and demanding more personal interactions.
And so, in this latest Modern Marketer instalment, we’ll be delving into the new-age customer touchpoint journey and exploring how embracing a holistic approach - spanning print and digital realms - can make the journey feel a little less bumpy!
ETA: How Many Touchpoints Are Needed?
It’s no secret that the number of touchpoints required to convert a target into a customer can vary significantly depending on the industry, product, and individual preferences. In the past, it was widely believed that a consumer needed around seven touchpoints before making a purchase. However, in today's fast-paced, switched-on and hypercompetitive world, this number has increased.
Consumers now have a sea of information at their fingertips, not to mention a constant flow of marketing messages in their eye line. So, additional touchpoints are often required to capture their attention, build trust, and ultimately persuade them to purchase.
Transport: A Multichannel Voyage
While the exact number of touchpoints can be challenging to determine, what's clear is that brands need to be present, consistent and engaging across various channels to meet customers where they are in their buying journey.
As an innovative print company that’s driven by digital, we’ve waxed lyrical about the power of taking an omnichannel marketing approach. Both mediums have unique strengths that, when used in harmony, can significantly influence customer behaviour and seamlessly take them from spectator to all-inner!
Eyecatching & Engaging: Physical mail, brochures, and flyers grab attention in a way unlike any other. Their tangibility appeals to our senses, encouraging deeper engagement and more time spent absorbing the content, making the brand and message more memorable.
Nostalgic & Unintrusive: In an increasingly digital world, print materials provide a touch of nostalgia, evoking memories of simpler times and feelings of reliability. Unlike online ads, print doesn’t interrupt the user experience but can be engaged with when desired.
Trust & Credibility: Physical mail is often associated with official or important communication, triggering feelings of trust and, therefore, helping to enhance a brand's reputation.
Inclusivity & Longevity: Print materials transcend generational gaps, making them an effective way to reach audiences of varied ages and those offline. Furthermore, print has a longer lifespan than other marketing mediums, often weeks or even months.
Precision Targeting: Digital ads allow for precise targeting, ensuring messages reach those most likely to be interested in the product or service.
Interactivity: Social media and online content create opportunities for direct interaction with potential customers, which is essential for relationship building.
Instant Accessibility & Adaptability: Online touchpoints are readily accessible, enabling potential customers to explore a brand with just a click. Digital content also allows for rapid changes.
Global Reach: Digital advertising can reach a global audience with ease, making it appealing for those looking to expand their reach beyond their local market.
Navigation: Planning The Journey
Then comes plotting the actual journey, considering the various stages potential customers will pass by…and how to stop them dead in their tracks!
To do so, it’s essential to step into the customer’s shoes. To look at and understand things from their perspective in our modern, hectic world and to map out touchpoints that align with their wants and needs.
Each interaction presents an opportunity to engage and influence their decision-making process. As such, it needs to deliver an aspect of the brand that speaks to that individual customer, making our dear friend ‘personalisation’ a main player.
Of course, no two brand journeys will be the exact same, but there are some key checkpoints for all to navigate and consider the best marketing approach at that particular juncture.
1. Getting Attention & Creating Awareness:
In a world teeming with distractions, the first challenge is to cut through the noise and grab your audience's attention. Think short, sharp, attention-grabbing content that gets to the point and strikes a chord. Tangible and eye-catching direct mail campaigns can help make a memorable first impression away from crowded digital spaces. Better still, by harnessing the power of technology with data-driven targeting, you can land your masterful marcomms with those most likely to interact with them.
2. Reinforcing Brand & Creating Interest:
Once you've made an impression, your goal is to stay top-of-mind, right? Meaning consistency is key! Employing a cross-channel marketing strategy to reinforce your brand image can help reel in prospects further. For example, combining personalised direct mail campaigns with QR codes that lead to your website or using online ads that mirror the visual style of your print materials can strengthen your branding and message.
3. Striking Connection & Triggering Consideration:
Now comes the time to foster a deeper connection with potential customers. This is a great time to share brand values, empathise with customer needs and demonstrate how your offering meets expectations whilst highlighting the benefits and solutions it brings. Golden online data can be used to create personalised print brochures featuring products most likely to appeal and perfectly timed to arrive when they’re desired most. Think home-movers shopping for their new abode. Such intune interactions show your attentiveness to their particular needs and wishes, encouraging further brand exploration.
4. Winning Over & Making Conversion:
Once warmed up, those final wooing touchpoints come into play to achieve the ultimate goal of converting a prospect into a customer. This wants to be as seamless and appealing as possible. Personalised offers and welcome discount codes can be sent through carefully curated direct mail campaigns, guiding perspectives to your website. Alternatively, for those with bricks and mortar premises, the same can be done to deliver exclusive in-store promotions. These entice audiences to physical stores where creative in-store experiences can be the final cherry on the touchpoint cake for closing a sale.
Destination: Onboarded Customers
So, there we have it. In a world where attention is scarce, and choices are abundant, understanding evolving customer touchpoints and crafting effective omnichannel interactions can help create a smooth and successful conversion journey.
It’s about making meaningful connections with prospective buyers en route aided by data-driven targeting, personalised communications and memorable experiences. And, of course, using a dynamic print/digital approach that cleverly reinforces whilst seamlessly guiding audiences through the awareness, interest, consideration, and conversion legs of the voyage.
Look out for more posts from our Modern Marketer’s Guide blog series, which highlights how tapping into smart strategies and taking an ‘always on’ marketing approach can help keep up with ever-evolving consumer behaviours and needs.