If you have worked in the marketing department of a company or marketing agency, you will have seen some highly successful campaigns in terms of visibility, sales, and other indicators. You will have also seen the opposite; a campaign that did not work. Let’s face it: many marketing campaigns offer a negative ROI for the brand. Perhaps too many.
In the latter situations, we tend to wonder: What went wrong? What does the success of a campaign depend on?
The answer, in part, is that in ours and many other professions, there are simply some factors beyond our control. Some of which we might ascribe to “luck.”
Added to this is the fact that marketing and communication have an artistic and inspirational side, which adds a further layer of complexity in efforts to map for systematic success.
This said, there are several factors that affect the probability of defining a winning marketing strategy. One of them is the lack of a formal methodology for creating content strategies.
Ever strategy shares, at least, some of these elements:
When defining a Buyer Persona, the first, most critical aspect is to understand the difference between Buyer Persona and Target clearly. A target would be defined as something like “Men aged between 35 and 55, living in New York,” whereas the definition of a Buyer Persona would be more specific and detailed.
A Buyer Persona is a detailed description of someone representing your target audience. The persona is fictional but based on thorough research of your existing or desired audience. Source: https://blog.hootsuite.com/buyer-persona/
With that definition in mind, endless models and templates are available online to create a highly detailed Buyer Persona. But, do all those detailed descriptions work for you and serve your purpose? Obviously not.
For example, in this link, you can download some great looking, visually attractive templates with different Buyer Persona formats, such as this one:
While this example poses a graphic and user-friendly way to define a Buyer Persona, it leaves out two oft-forgotten aspects crucial to defining a successful strategy.
It’s all well and good to define every social-demographic trait of the individual, complete with hobbies, interests, and lifestyle. However, that information is useless if we overlook the two points of the relationship between the Buyer Persona and the product our strategy is designed to sell:
The first step is to understand the psychological characteristics of the Persona-product relationship and summarize these within the Frustrations and Motivations category. Only then can we define Buyer Personas that are truly helpful in defining all the ensuant parts of the strategy, such as channels, actions, key messages, and others.
The Customer Journey is undoubtedly the preferred strategy planning method of marketing professionals. Readers will be familiar with the Customer Journey and have likely used it in their day-to-day work. This said, a review of the basic concepts of the Customer Journey is in order, before offering our own thoughts on the keys to planning a successful Customer Journey.
The Customer Journey is the process by which a customer interacts with a company in order to achieve a goal. Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-journey-map
There are myriad Customer Journey models. Each model is comprised of different stages. A cross-check of the nomenclature used to describe stages shows confusion of terms due to lack of standardization: different names are assigned to stages that are in fact, identical.
At Contegy, we’ve opted for a Customer Journey model limited to five stages:
The key to harnessing the full potential of the Customer Journey is an understanding of the stages and psychological timing of the customer experience. The stages are not “types of actions” that can be performed (see next section) rather, they refer to the target buyer´s state of mind. Creating content for each stage, fine-tuned to the state of mind of the Buyer Persona is essential.
The Key Event is the primary action we want the Buyer Persona to take (buy the product). But to get there, prior actions are needed along the way: the lesser, but no less important KEs in each stage of the Customer Journey. For instance, in the Conversion stage, the Key Event is usually “Buy” or “Download App,” whereas in the Awareness stage, it could be “Read a post,” etc.
Examples of KEs for a SaaS type tool like Contegy:
Examples of KE in fashion, B2C e-commerce:
Note that achievement of an intermediate KE indicates the likelihood of change in consumer attitude and decision to purchase, not a clear-cut change from one stage to another.
The KEs are merely indicators of potential for change from one stage to another. So we should avoid considering the stages of the journey as watertight compartments, and forget about clearly defined boundaries that strictly determine when the user is in one stage and when they move on to the next.
We have frequently heard phrases like “OK, now we can build some social media content for the Interest stage!”. Good intentions, BUT not well-thought-out to include the whole picture.
Many marketing campaigns neglect a crucial element: the type of action.
For each buyer persona at a particular stage of the journey, we can implement three types of actions:
Acquisition actions to win new users for their first touchpoint with the brand are not applicable for the Conversion and Advocacy stages. By definition, users in these stages have already had contact with some contents or elements of the brand.
Hence, the definition of a strategy on a journey is closer to a matrix than a funnel. For example, in Contegy, when creating a user journey, the next step is to determine which platforms to use for each combination of Action Type and Journey Stage:
As you can see, mapping out the whole customer journey while considering all those other factors is crucial to achieving an effective strategy.
This post is an abridged version of our white paper. Click here or on the side-banner to download the fully-fledged document for additional strategic tips.