The word strategy can mean a plethora of different things when used in the context of marketing. In turn, the job description of a Strategist can also be wide reaching. No matter the specific definition someone opts for, it's essentially an ability to uncover, present and successfully leverage a human insight.
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.
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.
At VI, we track our client’s customers by using a marketing funnel. In descending order, our funnel stages look like this: Attract, Educate, Engage and Convert. But… what happens after conversion? Sometimes we need to consider brand loyalty programs if one of our objectives is to cultivate loyalty.Loyalty matters.
In 2009, during the heat of a recession, Hyundai started a promotion in conjunction with Walkaway USA that allowed anyone who purchased a Hyundai in the past year and suffered a job loss or bankruptcy to return the vehicle and walk away from the loan obligation. This, along with Hyundai’s unmatched 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty, helped the automaker go from the lowest-end option on the market in the 1990s to a trusted, dependable choice for middle-class Americans. The brand was reborn. This type of thinking comes from marketing that goes beyond the thought that the customer journey is a one-way street. Brands like Hyundai understand that winning trust, along with building and maintaining relationships, is the lifeblood of a brand.
At VI, we use a marketing funnel to help implement strategy and deploy tactics in a timely manner. Using the funnel as a marketing tool has served us well, but like every effective instrument, it’s healthy to fine-tune from time to time. We strive to stretch our thinking by trying to innovate regardless of our customer journey model. There are many other customer journey tools, approaches and theories around, and many of them offer valuable insight on the decision process.
The goal of this blog is to educate you on the difference between marketing goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
The objective of this blog is to give you at least one real takeaway that helps you develop a marketing plan. That plan must be easily communicated and executed by any professional marketer who reads it.
Our key performance indicators for this blog are: the number of persons who click on it to read the entire blog on our website www.vimarketingandbranding.com; the number of persons who share this blog; and the number of comments the blog receives, all in the first 30 days of its publication.
At VI, we like to explain a customer journey as a marketing funnel. As with most things marketing-related, there are no sure things. Understanding the customer journey better, however, allows us to be much more accurate when it comes to predicting and projecting customer behavior. And that means a greater ROI for our clients. Here are a few things to keep in mind…
A customer journey is no longer linear or as predictable as it once was.
Customers can enter and exit their decision path (and do) anytime they please. They can change directions, and even turn around. While this might be unsettling for some brands and marketers — because it means things are less predictable — it also gives marketing more power to leverage the brand in unique ways. Understanding this new model of behavior will allow us to dream up new ways to reach our customers — above and beyond our current arsenal. When considering the current universe of options, it’s important to realize which channel is most favored for different brands/products. In other words, TV might be the best way to showcase a hospital while SEO might be a better approach when selling a car. It’s critical to focus on the most influential channels, that way we can become a brand under consideration.
There’s a simple rule about consistency in advertising design: Each execution should have a similar look so that your campaign becomes recognizable, benefitting from the frequency of each impression with your target audience. Consistency results in familiarity, which leads to trust. We marketers know it and live it. That is, until it comes to the voice of the brand. Then, consistency hardly exists for most of them.
Brand voice is just as crucial to marketing communications as design, yet most people fail to define how their brands are represented in the written or spoken word.
Pause for a moment and listen to what’s going on in your office or home. You recognize the voices without even seeing who’s talking. The same should be true for your brand. Your prospects and customers should be able to get far more than words from how you ‘speak.’
Your brand voice represents your style and attitude.
The personality and tone of your ad copy, social media posts and website copy should become synonymous with your brand.
As a marketing strategist, or anyone who is working towards marketing goals, your marketing mix should strategically ladder up to your objectives. Finely crafted marketing strategies should guide every touchpoint you have with your prospects and existing customers. For example, if a tactic effort you are considering doesn't fall under one of the strategies you’ve chosen, you shouldn’t do it.
Strategies are the how to help you achieve your objectives.
Okay, so how do you get there? A strategy should never be a guess, an assumption or just an idea you've brainstormed. Success as a marketer requires many things, but without data and proper marketing planning, you're really just planning to fail.