Marketing personalization goes beyond using a prospect’s name in an email. Learn how to give your audience the personalized experience they want and need by aligning content to your customer journey.
Episode Show Notes
Introduction to Iterative Marketing
(0:00 – 1:49) Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results. The topic of this episode is the importance of aligning content with both your persona and your customer journey state.
The resources discussed on the show can be found at brilliantmetrics.com, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.
The Importance of Personalization in the Customer Journey
(1:49 – 3:16) Why Personalization is Key: In the dynamic marketing landscape, the alignment of marketing strategies with customer personas and journeys is not just beneficial but a necessity. This is driven by the demand for personalized, digitally connected experiences akin to what consumers receive from platforms like Netflix or Amazon. Importantly, this demand is not just a millennial phenomenon; it cuts across all generations. Businesses failing to deliver such personalized experiences risk falling behind their competitors. Hence, personalization is now a key component of any successful marketing strategy.
(3:16 – 6:07) Timing Your Message Right: Personalization in marketing isn’t just about addressing customers by name. It’s about crafting content that resonates with their unique journey. As customers navigate through different stages of the purchasing process, their information needs and the brand attributes they value evolve.
Sending the wrong message at the wrong time isn’t just a missed opportunity – it can actually push potential customers away. Imagine it like a first date – you wouldn’t immediately ask someone to marry you, would you? The same principle applies to marketing.
The key is to align your content strategy with the customer journey. Deliver the right message at the right time. This approach not only optimizes your resources but also enhances your chances of converting prospects into loyal customers.
Remember, marketing is a lot like dating – it’s all about timing and context!
Optimizing Content Creation for Every Stage of the Customer Journey
(6:07 – 11:17) The See State: The See state of the customer journey is all about brand awareness. It’s the phase where you’re dealing with potential customers who might not yet know you exist or understand why they need your product. The goal here is to develop a brand message that communicates who you are, what you stand for, and what it’s like to engage with your brand.
There are two core types of content suitable for this audience: interruptive advertising and value-added content.
Interruptive advertising might include billboards or TV ads that subtly place your brand in the consumer’s field of view. The goal isn’t to educate or inform about your product or service but rather to create an emotional tie with the brand.
Value-added content, on the other hand, is more subtle. It provides utility to the audience without directly addressing your product or service. A fun example of this is the Charmin Sitter Squad app, which guides users to the cleanest public restrooms. It doesn’t sell toilet paper directly but enriches the lives of its users.
In essence, the See state is all about creating a brand presence and offering something of value to your audience. In doing so, you establish a positive connection with potential customers, setting the stage for deeper engagement in the future.
(11:17 – 13:54) The Think State: As potential customers move from the See to the Think state of the journey, they’re no longer simply aware of your brand – they’re considering a purchase in your product or service area. At this point, the content must shift to be more engaging and thought-provoking, aiding the decision-making process.
In the Think state, your content should still add value and possibly include a call-to-action, guiding your audience towards making a purchase. However, it’s not always about explicit calls to action. Sometimes, it’s about subtly changing their perception and making them feel like more informed buyers.
Advertising and content at this stage could involve white papers, webinars, or any print or web advertising designed to stimulate thought about the purchase. However, it’s important to note that we’re not yet advertising sale prices or detailing features and benefits. We’re aiming to help the consumer rethink the product category and feel more informed.
A prime example of this approach is the Project Color app by Home Depot. The app allows users to visualize different paint colors in their own rooms, thus facilitating their decision-making process without pushing a direct sale.
The Think state is all about nurturing prospects’ decision-making process, offering engaging content that helps them feel more informed and prepared for the purchase.
(13:54 – 15:49) The Do State: When your prospects enter the Do state, they’re ready to make a purchase. At this point, your messaging must create a sense of urgency and present them with an offer. This is the stage when you introduce coupons, limited-time offers, and “buy now” calls to action to encourage immediate action.
On the content side, your aim is to facilitate the purchase process. Providing buyers guides, features and benefits comparisons, and other resources can help prospects confidently commit to buying your product or service. The goal is to make it simple for them to complete their purchase and become a customer.
For example, Wayfair.com excels at Do stage content. Their resource gallery includes helpful guides on measuring flooring for installation, making it less intimidating for customers to purchase wood flooring online.
It’s essential to remember that content remains critical even after someone becomes a customer. Retaining and growing existing accounts or customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Thus, continuing to provide valuable content and support throughout the customer journey can lead to long-lasting relationships and growth for your business.
(15:49 – 17:46) The Grow State: In the Grow state, your focus is on creating content that promotes cross-selling, up-selling and deepening the bond with your brand. This stage sees a resurgence of brand advertising to reinforce brand values and the benefits of purchasing from your business. It also serves as an opportunity to present relevant offers and introduce new products or services.
On the content front, the aim is to help your audience better utilize your product or service. Content in this stage often takes the form of email newsletters highlighting features and benefits of existing products that customers may not be aware of. The goal is to inform them about other offerings in a way that adds value without coming across as overly salesy.
Recipe sites are a great example of Grow state content. Most major food companies have recipe sites that offer valuable content to their customers. Campbell’s Kitchen, for example, provides recipes, cooking tips, and even a section dedicated to 30-minute dinners. These resources not only help customers use their products in new ways but also serve to strengthen the relationship with the brand.
Companies often focus heavily on the See, Think, and Do states, aiming to attract new customers. However, the Grow state offers a valuable opportunity to solidify relationships with existing customers and encourage further engagement with the brand. Continual communication and value-added content can transform a one-time buyer into a loyal customer.
(17:46 – 20:09) The Give State: In the Give state, customers become more than just consumers – they evolve into brand advocates or evangelists. Identifying these individuals and targeting them with unique content can be immensely beneficial for your brand. These customers are the ones you want, leaving positive reviews and spreading your brand’s message. It’s crucial to ensure that they’re well-equipped to do this accurately, representing your brand’s image and message as you’ve carefully crafted it.
This stage often leverages brand advertising to reinforce key messages and implements referral programs. Dropbox’s Refer a Friend program, for example, is an excellent illustration of a clear, easy-to-share referral scheme that has yielded tremendous success.
In terms of content, joint case studies involving customers can be a great way to engage with these brand advocates. This approach provides them with a platform to share their experiences with your brand, further promoting your message.
The Give state allows you to cultivate your brand advocates, turning their passion for your product or service into a powerful marketing tool. It’s about taking their goodwill and channeling it effectively for the benefit of your brand.
The Importance of Tailored Content in the Customer Journey
(20:54 – 21:57) Content as a Guide: We explored the various customer states in the journey and the kind of content that adds value at each step. It’s important to understand that a customer’s progression from one state to another should not dictate the exclusive type of content they receive. Rather, it should guide the introduction of content from the subsequent state, paving a clear path for the customer’s journey.
(21:57 – 23:10) Offering a Pathway Through Content: The customer journey is not something marketers can force. Instead, it’s our job to provide a clear path and to light the way, allowing the customer to choose when they move to the next state. This doesn’t mean mixing content types; rather, the bulk of the content should correspond to the customer’s current state, with small introductions of content from the next state. This strategy helps identify what state the customer is in and encourages their progression in the journey.
(23:10 – 24:18) Considering the Do to Grow Transition: The transition from the Do state to the Grow state is slightly different. Here, content is not typically used to detect the move from one state to the next. Instead, it’s the customer’s decision to make a purchase and follow through with it that signals this transition. The definition of a loyal customer may vary from company to company, and therefore the content strategy needs to be adjusted accordingly.
(24:18 – 27:43) Why is Content Necessary at Each State? Skipping content for any state in the journey leaves gaps that your competitors might fill. This could hinder your brand awareness, impede long-term growth, and deteriorate the personalized experience your customers are seeking. A well-rounded content strategy involves providing value at each state:
- See content ensures your prospects are aware of your product.
- Think content aids customers in becoming more considered in their purchase decisions and builds brand affinity.
- Do content helps monetize the audience you’ve built, moving them to make a purchase.
- Grow content maintains customer relationships post-purchase, providing opportunities for cross-selling or upselling.
- Give content nurtures your advocates and evangelists, amplifying your word-of-mouth marketing.
(27:43 – 28:46) One-Size-Fits-All Content: It might be tempting to create content that fits all audiences to save on production costs and simplify the process. However, this approach dilutes the effectiveness of your content strategy. A message that is meant to appeal to everyone often fails to meet the needs of individuals at different stages of their journey, making it easy for them to tune it out. Instead, your content should be tailored to each state, ensuring relevance and engagement at every step.
Join Us Next Time
(28:46 – 30:01) Conclusion: The human brain is wired to filter out noise and identify patterns, making it difficult for customers to find relevant content when there is too much clutter. It’s crucial to produce tailored and relevant content at each stage of the customer journey to avoid being ignored.
Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.
Iterative Marketing is a part of the Brilliant Metrics organization. If you would like more information on the marketing services provided by the expert team at Brilliant Metrics, reach out today for a free discovery call.
The Iterative Marketing Podcast, a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.