What are personas and why do we need them?
We’ve all been there. It’s the moment you’re sitting at your desk at work and all you can think about is that beach in a country far, far away. It’s the moment your imagination goes wild and your mind begins to play out your dream vacation – it’s the moment you begin the trip planning process.
According to Google research, 37% of people think about their next trip weekly to several times a month. When someone is beginning their trip planning process, what kinds of things are influencing the decisions they are making? How can we as marketers influence the process, touch points and decisions that each potential customer is making along their journey of trip planning?
First, we must know the customer journey taken by a potential traveler planning a new vacation. Unlike other purchases, a trip is something that most people plan far in advance with many touch points along the way. Data from Luth Research’s opt-in panel shows an example of how many travel micro-moments a participant experienced over a 5-month period:
In a travel customer journey, there are typically four key moments that matter most in influencing the destination of choice for the customer ( Think With Google):
1. Dreaming Moments
Dreaming begins the moment someone starts thinking about their next travel adventure. People instantly turn to their mobile device to search the, “Where is…?” and "What to do in…?” questions. Travelers are also utilizing platforms such as YouTube to watch travel-related videos. In fact, according to Travel Trends, 64% of travelers watched these videos while in the process of thinking about a trip.
As we ponder the opportunities to become better marketers in 2019, it is easy to feel that we are on the cusp of another marketing revolution. Voice marketing, privacy laws, and OTT (over-the-top television) are all influencing consumer behaviors, and therefore affecting how marketers interact with them. As new tools and channels gain traction in 2019, marketing strategies are likely to evolve rapidly throughout the year–– or at least among early adopters.
Advertising hasn’t always been seen as the most trusted industry. It’s known for half-truths and bait-and-switches in the name of a few extra dollars.
A customer journey model, like a marketing funnel, is helpful when tracking customer progress toward a desired action (conversion). As with any decision path, the coordination of sound strategy and timing of tactics is key to success.
The goal of any sales journey is to be in the right place at the right time.
Have you ever tried to hit a firefly with a pebble? In today’s morass of messaging, marketing must work harder and smarter, looking beyond the finite universe of tactics to satisfy strategies that coincide and bring the customer positive brand experiences in a timely manner. If we understand the circular (and at times organic) nature of the customer journey and look beyond our tactics to products and properties that enhance and capture brand advocacy, we increase our chances by launching not just the same pebble our competitors have access to, but multiple pebbles from different directions, at the right moment. With this type of approach in-mind, your chances for building a strong, sustainable brand increase exponentially.
Once when I was conducting brand research for a large regional bank, I was interviewing commercial customers and prospects and heard one piece of unexpected feedback over and over. ‘Quickly. I want the answer quickly, even if it’s ‘no.’ It’s interesting that getting turned down for a loan can be considered a positive customer experience.
Part 1: If you're reading this, you should damn well be blogging.
Well, hello. Fancy meeting you here. We weren't expecting company, but we're glad you dropped by. Who could blame you, really? I mean here we are, a sophisticated marketing juggernaut. Then there's you — the enquiring mind, parched for fresh ideas.
This beautiful thing we've got between us? It's more than passing fancy. It's a blueprint for taking your brand from Point A to Point Kicking Ass. You see, blogging deepens the relationship with your audience along a number of important dimensions. So slip off your boat shoes and stay awhile. Let's chew the proverbial adipose tissue about the whats, whys and wherefores of blogging.
First up, the whys. Here are four undeniable reasons to get the blog train choo-choo-chooing.
1. You're a suspicious character and probably full of crap.
After all, you're SELLING STUFF. And people who sell stuff are pathological phonies who'd say anything to make a buck. Or, maybe... I don't know. Maybe you're not so dastardly after all. I mean, that limerick in your blog wasn't totally cringe-worthy. And you seemed so... Darn. Genuine. Are you human? I'm starting to think so.
It’s hard to believe that less than ten years ago, “4G” and “LTE” were buzzwords at consumer electronic tradeshows. In that short span of time, advertisers were given an arsenal of new mediums capable of reaching an increasingly powerful cohort of eager consumers. The yields of a 4G-connected world included easier mobile video streaming, the exponential growth of app stores, programmatic advertising platforms, and the genesis of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. Now, these new capabilities have hit a ceiling — they can only perform as quickly as our rapidly aging communication infrastructure will allow.
In a 5G world, the consumer experience becomes seamless, frictionless and, most importantly, effortless.
The processing and exchange of data will be reduced from 100s of milliseconds to just a few, and with that, the introduction of ultimate, ubiquitous connectivity. By 2020, the number of connected devices is estimated to reach 50 billion, which means an even greater amount of data being exchanged each day. In that same time span, Cisco predicts global data usage to reach 30.6 exabytes per month — that’s 30.6 billion gigabytes for those keeping count.
One area of promising advancement, for customers and advertisers alike, comes with the introduction of autonomous vehicles. You have probably heard of a “journey map” or “customer experience map.” To sum it up quickly, a journey map is a holistic visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. We can use this process to understand our customer and be aware of communication touchpoints with our brand. If you’re a business that has brick-and-mortar locations, then there is probably an area in your journey map where a customer transports themselves to a store location. Until now, companies have only been able to reach that stage of the journey via radio and out-of-home advertising. But even then, messaging was mostly restricted to the awareness subsection of the marketing funnel. Autonomous vehicles enhance that touchpoint by utilizing the advancements of 5G connectivity. Brands will be capable of reaching customers at different stages of the marketing funnel by providing them with highly interactive and actionable content right from their dashboard.
David Hinds is Oklahoma City.
You’d think a metropolitan area home to 1.3 million people couldn’t be personified into a single soul, but there stands David. At a staunch 6’6, he’s big. And with an easy-going attitude and warm personality, he’s friendly.