The Digital Customer Lifecycle
by iperceptions, on Jun 3, 2014
The traditional, linear understanding of the customer journey is being turned on its head in our multi-channel and interconnected digital world. As the century-old “shotgun” approach of traditional mass advertising is being replaced with a concern for meaningful, targeted brand experiences, marketers must anticipate their customers’ needs in order to make an impact.
More than ever, brands that can identify and address a customer’s lifecycle state possess a powerful competitive advantage. While clickstream measures of behavior may offer hints, nothing paints a clearer picture than actually knowing visitors’ intent.
After 14 years of experience with thousands of brands, and millions of completed website visitor surveys, iperceptions has developed guided research approaches. These frameworks allow you, the savvy marketer, to measure customer lifecycle states and take action based on insight.
The quality of the experience on your website underlies all consumer lifecycle states. It is the starting point and center of its health measurement. However, gauging satisfaction is vague, at best, through clickstream data. The iperceptions Experience Tracking & Optimization framework fills in the gaps by measuring and trending satisfaction with navigation, content, interactivity and motivation. Barriers to task completion can be identified, and positive and negative themes from visitor comments can be extracted in order to identify tactical improvement opportunities.
Let’s take a look at the 4 major lifecycle states that your visitors find themselves in.
A need for a product or service is felt, and the information search begins. In some cases, this need can be anticipated by the brand marketer, as the replenishment cycle nears its end. Different digital channels (search, social media, email, direct website visits, etc.) can be used to inform and plant seeds. Understanding discovery goes beyond measures of conversion. In fact, indicators of effectiveness can be re-imagined. Instead of asking “how many come from different digital channels?”, why not ask “who comes from different digital channels and why?”. Instead of looking at conversion per keyword, what if we also look at consumer profile by keyword. These key pieces of information, available with the iperceptions Marketing Effectiveness framework, enable the optimization of channel and keyword strategies, as well as shed light on visitor personas.
In this state, the customer knows information on brands, models, services and more. Options are evaluated and, from the marketer’s website point of view, different offers and paths aim to persuade the visitor towards a final choice. This is where the experience leading up to the sale must be smooth, with the least friction possible. Identifying purchase barriers and process bottleneck is essential, especially for visitors who may have come to purchase but not entered a shopping cart. The Purchase Optimization & Conversion framework tells you what your visitors want and need most when it comes to purchasing. Options and sources being considered by your shoppers can also inform you on competitive threats.
Satisfaction, retention and advocacy are shaped by experience with the product or service and the way in which the brand nurtures its customers. Website self-service support capabilities are pivotal to visitors’ expectations of quick resolutions to their problems. Identifying those who are in distress and engaging them is an opportunity to build good-will. The Customer Care & Retention framework flags “at-risk” visitors in order to help optimize online support capabilities.
Engagement is loyalty at a long-term level, and involvement and stimulation at a short-term level. Websites that have a recurring visitor-base must focus on keeping it engaged while limiting attrition. Tracking unduplicated multi-device engagement is an important step in monitoring attrition. In the Engagement lifecycle state, the brand maintains dialogue with the consumer to reinforce its position. As a marketer, offering relevant and unique content is one of the best ways to stay top-of-mind. For this to happen, content resonance must be tracked continuously. The Engagement & Audience Building framework pinpoints drivers of engagement and engagement profiles that are crucial to successful visitor retention and advocacy.
Research frameworks leverage best practices, are focused and actionable. They provide key insights into lifecycle states of your visitors, beyond what is hinted at through behavioral data analytics. Marketers who are clever enough to leverage a combined approach of behavioral and attitudinal tools can tailor their approach to increase success.
In a fast-paced world where more and more tools enable iterative adjustments, strong monitoring is key. While the “what”, “why” and “who” help diagnose opportunity, taking action translates that opportunity into bottom line improvements for your business. Focused reporting dashboards are built-in to iperceptions frameworks to showcase your most meaningful visitor insight, so that you can do what marketers do best: build relationships.