Customer journey work is often thought of as looking at a point in time such as a single mission of a day or moment. This type of work, however, is also an important tool for building a strategic foundation for growth.
For example, a global pet food brand wanted to plan for its next stage of growth, and needed to expand its understanding of customers throughout the complex life stages of pets and the owners’ relationships with pet food brands. Previous research had already identified key moments that are influential during pet ownership, and areas where the brand can be at the center of the pet and pet owner relationship. It was clear, however, that pet owners also change their relationship with brands during different stages of a pet’s life. As the pet ages, the consumption loop has potential to shift at these critical moments, and pet owners often look to product reviews they can trust for new brand choices.
Building growth strategies for the future required the brand to expand its customer journey work to understand the complexity of both pet owners as their pets age, as well as their shifting relationships with brands. This more robust customer journey work focused on several key issues for the brand:
- Understanding the broader ecosystem for the customer journey in the future. The brand needed to understand what is an important influence in the future, and reimagine who and what is important.
- Developing the indirect relationships and how those can influence the purchase decisions. New pet owners who are looking to find their ideal pet will rely on experts to guide their decision making and help them care for their pet. These “upstream” relationships may also influence their purchase decisions as the pet ages and throughout all stages of the brand relationship.
- Using customer touchpoints wisely. Pet owners, like most customers, are increasingly savvy to “brand slap” where brands force themselves into the conversation without considering the true social and human capital of what they are doing. Keeping brand authenticity is critical when customers are in the “moment of truth” and making a brand purchase.
A global pet food brand wanted to plan for its next stage of growth, and needed to expand its understanding of customers throughout the complex life stages of pets and the owners’ relationships with pet food brands.
For any brand looking to expand its customer journey understanding for future growth, here are 5 guideposts as you develop your research and strategies:
- Be clear on what you are looking to achieve. Ensure clarity on what outcomes you seek, and how the research will inform future strategic decisions.
- Bring your insight team and external partners in as early as possible. It’s important to sort through what you already know and what the insight team can address, and then partner with your customer journey experts on what is possible to address through the research design.
- Understand the broad touchpoints first. Conduct early stage qualitative discussions with customers to ensure you have a broad view of their experience with the category and your brand. From there, you can create focus on what’s critical for your brand’s deeper understanding through additional behavioral and data science research.
- Bring customer journeys to life for strategic decision makers. Showing customers talking in their own words is a powerful way to help stakeholders connect with the research and the strategy you are looking to move forward.
- Consider co-creation workshops among internal teams. Customer journey work can impact many different departments of your organization and ones that perhaps don’t interact frequently or at all. Bringing the diverse teams together to co-create the strategic actions for the future will ensure ongoing momentum for the customer journey insights.
Want to discuss more about expanding your customer journey insights for future growth strategies?