Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep 18: Aligning Content With Your Customer Journey

Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep 18: Aligning Content With Your Customer Journey


Hello, Iterative Marketers!
Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where each week, we give marketers and entrepreneurs
actionable ideas, techniques and examples to improve your marketing results. If you want notes and links to
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and our community LinkedIn group, where you can share ideas and ask questions
of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now, let’s dive into the show. Hello everyone, and welcome to
the Iterative Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Steve Robinson, and with me, as always, is the insightful – and that’s
always with an S never with a C – Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing today, Elizabeth? I am good, Steve.
How are you? I am doing great. So, I was kind of curious,
what are your biggest pet peeves? Oh gosh! I think it probably depends on
what’s going on in my life right now. So, my biggest pet peeve at the moment
are people who leave their dishes in the sink. What about you? It is doors left ajar, so cabinets that are left open or if the microwave
is left open or one of those sorts of things. Things need to be closed
and kind of dress right, dress. And I don’t know if that’s my
military or what it is, but yeah. And a funny thing is I think it’s genetic. I think it got passed down to my son and my
daughter, because they go around closing things. Well, that’s good, then. You don’t have
anything that’s annoying you, right? Yeah, exactly. It’s as simple as that. So what are we talking about today? Today we are talking about aligning content with
both your persona and your customer journey state. I know this kind of comes back to a lot of
what we talked about with Iterative Marketing and really your customer journey and your persona
being the backbone of your marketing program, but why is it important for
us to achieve this alignment? Well, I think it’s an important
topic for us to talk about today because we have been talking a lot about personas
and customer journeys in the past few episodes, but when you are talking about why it’s
important in general to your marketing strategy, it comes down to the basic fact that it’s just
a requirement to play the game these days. Yeah. I think we are definitely seeing
that we are in a moment of change, both in what our competitors are doing
and also what the audience expects. I think that, particularly — and you can
read all of the studies about millennials, but I think it transcends that to anybody who is
used to a personalized, digitally-connected experience demands that in all corners of their lives. I mean, call it the Netflix effect
or the Amazon effect. We are used to this higher degree of
personalization, based on our own context. Yeah. I love that you pointed out
that it’s not just tied to millennials. I think a lot of times,
those poor guys get a bad rap, but this is something that,
across — it’s spanning generations. We are seeing it across the board
with different demographics, and not delivering that personalization that customers
are looking for is putting businesses at a disadvantage. They are behind the eight-ball. We have talked about personalization
in the past in the context of a persona and making sure that you are
really speaking to your audience, but today, we are really focused on
personalization based on the journey. How is that different from persona? Personalization. First, I think it’s important to note that when
we are talking about personalization, we are not talking about things like
putting their name in the email. We are talking about personalization in terms
of the content that we are delivering to them and the message that
we are giving them. And so it kind of connects persona and a customer
journey in the sense that the state that they are in, See or Think or Do or Grow or Give, is going to determine the type of message that they want to receive. It’s going to determine the type of information
that they are looking for at that point. The brand attributes that they need reinforced to feel
comfortable with moving forward in the purchasing process, the persona is going to influence that based on maybe the methods that you are using to target them, maybe some of the jargon that
you may be using or not using. It’s going to help kind of filter that out, but when you are looking at your content,
what you are talking about is specific content that is tied to where they are in the purchasing
process at that specific point in time. And so if you end up sending the wrong message
at the wrong time, it can have detrimental effects because you are – either the audience is not going to be paying
attention to the message that you are sending because it’s all out of context for
where they are in their journey, or it could actually drive them away. Yes, and it goes beyond that. It’s not just the fear of potentially losing the ability
to talk to a potential prospect or customer, but you are also being wasteful
of your own resources, your own time and your own money, putting that content or that advertising out
there that just isn’t resonating with your audience. Yeah. The way I like to think about
it is sort of in the context of dating. If you are dating someone, you have to be
very careful about exactly what you reveal or what you say at what point
in that relationship, right? Eventually, you end up at the point where
you are comfortable saying hopefully anything, but in the beginning, you can’t just walk up to
someone that you like and say, “Hey, will you marry me?” Or other slightly less PG things that you could
say too early in the dating scene. But it’s sending the right
message at the right time. And I think that you are right. If you don’t, then you are
just wasting. You’re wasting air. You’re wasting air probably
that you are paying for. Well, tying it back to your proposal example, if I am on my Facebook feed and there’s
this company I have never heard of before that’s asking me to come and buy a
product that I have never heard of before, I am going to ignore them. Or if its offensive enough messaging and not offensive in the sense that
bad words and distasteful images, but if it’s so in my face,
it actually turns me off, and now my chances of interacting with
that brand in the future are pretty slim. So I think today, probably the most
effective way to go through this would be just to go through the individual different
states within the customer journey and go through kind of
some best practices or tips about creating content that is
appropriate for that particular state. Do you want to kick it off with See? Sure. So our See audience, again this is going to be that pool of
people who are our target audience, who fit with anyone who
can buy our product, and who has a use for our product. And tying back to some previous episodes
and we have talked about this, they have the ability to buy your product,
they have the money to do it. It’s not just that they want to.
They can actually afford it. And so when we are looking at See, we are
really focusing at this point on brand awareness, because most of this audience either doesn’t
know you exist or doesn’t realize that or think that they have
any need for your product. And so at this point, we are focusing on simple
brand messaging that says or shows who we are, what we stand for and what
it’s like to engage with us so that when they do get to that next stage,
when they get to Think or when they get to Do, they already have an idea
in their mind of who we are. And I think that there’s kind of two
core types of content for this audience. You have your advertising, which is — you are
trying to get a message in edgewise. You are interrupting and you are getting a simple message in front
of somebody who needs to hear it at that point in time, or you have your content,
or as J. Baer likes to call it, utility-type content, where you are adding value that is tangential
to whatever it is that you are offering. Exactly. So when we are talking about advertising,
we are talking about that interruptive advertising. We are talking about billboards. We are talking about brand banners that have your brand name and your logo, or maybe your brand name and your tagline. Some other examples, we’ve got product placements that aren’t necessarily getting a message out but they are getting the user or
the viewer used to seeing the brand and the logo being
used in a specific context. And then TV ads, and we
love to talk about TV ads. Procter & Gamble’s Olympic Moms, I mean I can’t even talk
about it without tearing up, so we won’t go too far into that. Or Johnson & Johnson’s Mother’s Day touch, which
is another one that makes me tear up a little bit, but they do exactly what
they are supposed to. I now have an affinity for a brand that I may
or may not have already had an experience with. Yeah, and in all cases, I think it’s
really important to mention that these TV ads are not trying to educate or
inform the audience about the product or service. If it’s See stage content, it is really
just highlighting the brand and hopefully creating some
emotional tie to that brand, not hawking the features and
benefits of product A, right? Exactly. And both of those brands have successfully
succeeded, at least in my point of view. When we talk about content, I know you have got some
great examples of content that some brands have used. Yeah. And so here — this is content that, again,
isn’t talking about your product or service. It may be tangentially related, but it isn’t
directly addressing your product or service. Instead, it’s trying to add value to your
prospects or your customers’ lives. I think a great example of this is — or at least one of the most fun examples
of this is the Charmin sit or squat app, which, if you think about who is
your See audience for Charmin, well, I guess it’s anybody that poops, right? So if you think about
it from that standpoint, then providing an app that provides
utility for anybody who needs facilities and showing them where the good ones
and the clean ones are is the right way to do that. And I have got Elizabeth blushing and cracking up
on the other side of this conversation. Yeah. If anyone’s watching our video feed
I am bright red right now. I told Steve when we talked about this earlier
that he was going to have to talk about this example because this is not something I am
comfortable talking about necessarily in public. I think the toilet paper commercials
are a little odd, but that’s okay. But the key is that it adds
value to the audience. It does. By no means is it going
to directly sell toilet paper. Instead, it’s going to hopefully enrich
the lives of those that are on the go. Yeah. I think Nivea has
another great example. They had a magazine ad that I believe
they only ran it — I think it was in Brazil. But a magazine ad that
included a solar panel charger. Well, Nivea doesn’t sell solar panel chargers,
but they do a lot that has to do with skin and skin being in the sun, and so they were really
going after beachgoers and giving them the ability to charge
their phones while they sunbathed. And so again, adding that utility, adding that
value that doesn’t necessarily tie back to the product but met the needs of the audience
they were trying to reach. Right. So now I am sitting on the beach, getting a lot
of sun that may or may not be good for me and may require some product, and in front of
me the whole time is the brand and logo of Nivea, so… And I like Nivea, because they
charge my phone for me so it’s a win-win. And flipping this a little bit when we move into
Think, now that that content has to shift a little bit because now you are approaching a prospect
who is actually considering a purchase in the product or service area
that you are offering, right? Um-hmm. And again, generally, we want this to add value
and help someone in the decision-making process because they are getting closer to it, now they are aware of the product, they are ready to
– they are starting to evaluate their options and getting ready to potentially
move into that Do state. And so when we talk in terms of
our advertising and of our content, again, we are looking for something that’s more
engaging than what was delivered in the See state and something that’s going to make
someone think differently about the purchase. A lot of times, this can
include a call to action. We are sort of laying the path to help them move
down that purchase process, although it may not — I mean, there’s a good chance
that it doesn’t include that. It may just be something that’s
helping to change their perception. Great examples of these in terms of advertising
and content are white papers and webinars, or really any print or web advertising that
makes you think about how to make that purchase. Right. And we are not getting into offers here. We are not advertising sale prices. We are not talking about
features and benefits. We are helping the consumer think differently
about the product category overall and making them feel like a more
informed purchaser generally, and so the same thing is true of content. A couple of examples in the content area, one that I really like is that the
Project Color App by Home Depot. So if you think about it,
if you are in Think state and you are thinking about repainting the inside
of your house, what are you going to be doing? You are going to be looking at different colors
and trying to figure out where you want to go and trying to create a vision of what
it could look like if it’s been repainted, and this app does exactly that. You snap a picture of your room and you pick
a color, and boom, your room is that color. Well, it works most of the time. But it helps solidify that vision and
get you thinking about that purchase without offering a sale on Behr paint
at Home Depot this weekend, 20% off. It’s, instead, facilitating that
Think state of the buyer’s journey. Exactly. You take your phone and you say I want
this and it makes it that much easier, so you have removed some of those barriers
based on this app that has been created. Um-hmm. I think that Hubspot and Marketo on the
B2B side also do a really phenomenal job in terms of Think state content. So, what happens when we move to Do? What does that look like? When we get into Do, that’s when
our prospect is ready to buy. They are ready to make that decision, and so now our messaging changes and it’s
different than what we have seen and think, in that we need to create a sense of
urgency and present an offer to them. And so to your point earlier, this is where we start introducing things like coupons and limited time offers, anything that sort of has
a buy now call to action. These are things that are going to instill that
sense of urgency and get them to take action. Yeah. And on the content side, really,
we are trying to grease those skids. We are trying to make it easier for somebody
to follow through with that purchase, so we want to give them buyers guides,
we want to give them the features and benefits, comparisons, our product versus another
company’s product head-to-head, anything that’s going to help them
really make that buying commitment and follow all the way through to being –
completing that purchase and becoming a customer. Yeah. I think wayfair.com is really,
really great at Do state content. They have a phenomenal resource gallery that
has how-to guides and different sort of buying guides, and they have got how to
measure flooring for installation. I mean that seems so overwhelming and they have this phenomenal, easy
to understand downloadable PDF that you can go in and kind of walks
you through the whole process and eases that fear of going
and buying wood flooring online when that may be something that you might be
too scared to do before you have read this guide. See, Think and Do are all of those states that
occurs prior to somebody becoming a customer, but then we have the two states that occur
after somebody becomes a customer and content is just as important
then as it is prior to that. It’s a whole lot cheaper to retain and grow
existing accounts than it is to acquire new ones or existing customers if you
are more on the B2C side. And so when you are working within Grow, here you are really trying to come up
with content that helps cross-sell, up-sell or drive a greater bond to your
particular brand or company, right? Um-hmm. And so on the advertising side, we start to see
our brand advertising coming back into play because, again, we want to
reinforce those brand values and help reinforce why making
it a purchase decision from us, buying from us is a good idea. It’s also an opportunity to
provide some relevant offers, and that’s where the kind of cross-sell
or up-sell comes into play. And then on the content side, here’s where
your classic email newsletter type of content comes in. How can you help your audience better
consume your product or service? How can you highlight features and
benefits of the existing products and services that they are using that
they may not be aware of? How can you make them aware of other
things that you offer in a way that isn’t so “salesy” that it makes them unsubscribe
or pushes them away, but is really adding value to them of
the other things that you have to offer? And I think recipe sites are
a great example of this, and pretty much every major
food company has a recipe site. Some are better than others. I think, Elizabeth, you stumbled
on a really good one. Oh yeah, Campbell’s Kitchen. I have used it for dinner
myself a few times, but they have got great recipes, cooking tips,
they even have a section for 30-minute dinners. I mean, who doesn’t have 30 minutes
to try and get dinner together? So great resources, and I think this is an opportunity
here when we get into Grow. So many companies and so many brands
are so focused on See, Think and Do, and getting those new
customers in the door that a lot of times, they kind of let that communication
drop off once that customer becomes a customer, and this is a great opportunity, I think, to help strengthen
that relationship and to further that relationship, helping them feel comfortable and giving
them new avenues of using the product. And so this is, I think, a really great opportunity
for a lot of our listeners out there. And that brings us to Give. So these are your current customers who kind of
go a little bit above and beyond your normal customer. And they have moved
into that advocate scenario, where they are now advocating
your brand to others. They are the evangelists of your brand
or your mission or your product or service. And I think it’s important
to identify these individuals and target them with slightly different
content than your Grow audience, because these are the folks that
you want leaving you reviews. These are the folks that you
want sharing your message, and you want to make sure that they
are on point when they are doing it, right? Yeah. You have worked so hard on crafting
this brand message and creating this brand image that while we want our
customers to talk about us, it would be great if they could talk about us in
the way that we have crafted in our brand guide. And this is kind of our
next step to getting there, and we use things like brand advertising to
reinforce that key message and referral programs. There are so many great examples
of referral programs out there. I think Dropbox’s Refer a Friend
is a really great example. It’s very clean and concise messaging. It makes it very easy to share and it’s
a very successful program for them. On the content side, we are looking
at things like joint case studies that, when you ask a customer
to participate with you so the two of you are
working on that together. And there’s, I think, a couple other examples
of really great content opportunities where you can help to give customers the
chance to talk about you in an educated way. I think a really great example
of this is actually with Lego, which of course is kind of the poster-child
for content marketing as well. But when you look at their ability to
co-create content with their audience, particularly those that are their biggest fans,
they are evangelists of Lego content. They do a phenomenal job. If you go on their Facebook page, it’s riddled with contests and competitions where you have people trying to, both kids and adults, trying to
create various things with Lego, take photographs of it, share it. All of that’s going to their friends, their followers
and sharing their love of Lego with a broader community and helping to really reinforce
that brand through word of mouth. And it’s a great example of taking their Give audience
and really nurturing it and putting it to good use. I think this is a great point for us to take
a quick break and go help some people. Before we continue, I’d like to take a quick moment
to ask you Iterative Marketers a small but meaningful favor and ask that you give a few dollars to a
charity that’s important to one of our own. This week’s charitable
cause was sent in by Brittany Tamminga in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Brittany asks that you make
a contribution to Micah Ministries, a faith-based organization addressing the basic
needs of the homeless in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Learn more at www.micahfredericksburg.org
or visit the link in the show notes. If you would like to submit your cause
for consideration for our next podcast, please visit iterativemarketing.net/podcast
and click the “Share a Cause” button. We love sharing causes
that are important to you. And we are back. So prior to the break we talked
about the different customer states and the different states
in the customer journey and what type of content is most
valuable to a prospect at each step in that — or customer in each state as they
move through the customer journey. But I think it’s important to note that, just because
an individual happens to be in an individual state, they are either in See,
Think, Do, Grow, or Give, doesn’t mean that you should only be targeting
that individual with content for that state. You have to introduce content from the following
state in the path that you want that prospect to follow so that you can know exactly where
they are in the customer journey. Exactly. If you don’t provide Think
stage content to your See audience, you are never going to know
when they have moved to Think, same with Think to Do. Do grows a little bit different, because they have made a purchase so there’s a different way to acknowledge that. We are going to talk about that in a little bit, but if you haven’t given them a path to make the move,
then we don’t know when they have made that move. With that being said, I think it’s very important to
note that we cannot force someone down this path. They have to make that
decision on their own. It’s our job to provide them with
that pathway to light the path for them, but they have to make the decision when they are
going to move into the next step, into that next state. Exactly, exactly. I think it’s also important to note
that when we are saying that you need to introduce Think state
content to your See audience, that we are not saying that
you should mix your content and you shouldn’t be providing one piece
of content that is both See and Think. We are saying that the bulk of your
content should be See state content, and that you should introduce small pieces of
Think state content in addition to that See state content. And then once they have acted on that,
[they] will have a bulk of Think content and introduce some small pieces of Do stage
content until they make that next move. And that’s how we can, again,
determine what state that they are in. You want to do the same
thing from Grow to Give. So when a customer is in Grow state, you
are going to drop a little bit of Give state content just to see, hey, is this somebody who wants
to promote our product or service, our brand or is this somebody who is still just
focused on becoming a loyal customer? Now earlier, I mentioned that
Do to Grow is a little bit different. What makes it different? Well in this instance, you are usually
not going to be using content to detect when somebody moved
from Do to Grow, right? Because there’s usually a point where
they have decided to make a purchase and they have followed
through on that purchase and that’s when they
move from Do to Grow. Now everybody’s definition is a little bit different
of when is somebody a loyal customer that you are working on growing into.
That’s different for every company. In the case of e-commerce, you are
probably going to set a threshold on they need to make two purchases and have a user
account before they are considered a loyal customer. But in the case of if
you are selling a car, people only make that purchase decision
every three to five years anyway, so you are not going to really –
they become a customer after one purchase, so content — you are not going to really dangle
your Grow content in front of your Do audience. Instead, you are just going to
wait for them to cross the line and then you will move into providing them
with Grow and a little bit of a Give content. Why do we need content
at each one of these states? Can we just skip around and provide some See content,
maybe some Do content and leave it at that? Great question. And I think we alluded to
it just a few minutes ago, but if we want to lead them
down this purchasing path, to light the path for them
as we referenced earlier, then we need to have
content at each of the states. I think it’s important to note that if
we skip states, then we leave holes, right? So you have chunks of your audience
that is in each one of these states. And your audience is in one state;
they are not in multiple. So if you are not offering content
that adds value to an individual state, then you either are providing them
with the wrong content at that state or you are leaving a gap and perhaps your competitor has come
in to provide the content for that state. Again, our customers and our prospects
are looking for a personalized experience and if you are not offering it,
they are going to find someone who is. So when we talk about content,
let’s start with See. If we are not putting See content out to
our prospects, to our possible audience, then we are ignoring anyone who isn’t
thinking about our product right this second and that hurts our brand awareness. And when our brand awareness hurts,
then that hurts our long-term growth. Exactly. And if we skip Think content, then we are not
helping people be more considered in their purchase. We are not building any brand
affinity or trust along the path and chances are your competitors are. So they will be getting that content from
somewhere as they try to figure out — become an informed consumer
of your product or service. I think at this point, it’s important to note when you get into Do, if you do have Do content, you think, well, I am just going to share it with my Think
audience or my See audience. It’s not a big deal. It is a big deal, because if
you turn them off too early, if you go at them too hard with too much
of a sales message too early in the game, then you are going to turn them off and you
are going to lose that potential sale in the future. And then if you skip Do,
and not many people skip Do, usually we run across brands
that are only doing Do, but if you did somehow skip Do and you build this really loyal tribe of people
who love your articles and your content, that helps them or makes them feel good but then you do nothing to monetize it. Well then, you don’t make money,
so that’s not a good thing either. Grow is another area where I think I mentioned
earlier a lot of brands have opportunities, If you skip Grow, you have provided this great service up to this point,
and now you have just sort of disappeared. You have fallen off the face of the earth, then you have started to lose that trust that
you had built up during your sales process and you also lose the opportunity to cross-sell
or up-sell or maintain retention, and that’s important because the cost of acquiring a new customer is
so much more than maintaining a current customer. And then finally, Give. Really, if you skip Give, it’s more of an opportunity
cost, because you are losing the opportunity to, (a) direct or influence your evangelist,
your advocate audience, to make sure that they are sharing the right message
as they go and talk about your brand to others. And (b) you are missing the
opportunity to nurture that audience and really amplify your word of mouth
marketing, which is a really powerful force. Some businesses grow
only on word of mouth. So the opportunity to influence and accelerate
it is really one that you don’t want to squander. Now, people that love you want to talk about you, so help them do it. Give them the words to make it happen. Yeah. One of the questions I get is
so why can’t I just create some fits-all content? Some content that actually just
works for all of these audiences, and then that also really save on my production
costs and really make things a lot simpler. Do you want to address why
that’s not a good idea, Elizabeth? Yeah, it comes back to that — a message that is
pertinent to everyone is not interesting to anyone. So if you write this message
that’s going to appeal — in your mind, appeal to
See, Think, and Do audiences, chances are that it’s not meeting the needs
of the individual users in each of those states, and so at that point, they are
just going to tune it out. Yeah. Our brains are naturally wired to go
out and find signal among noise, right? We are great at identifying
patterns, even some that don’t exist, but if you start producing content that has too
much clutter, too many different things in it, it just becomes the noise, and your audience, your prospects, your customers will be unable to find signal in it and they won’t latch onto it because it isn’t relevant to where they are, their context at that particular moment. I think we have pretty well summed up,
beat this topic to death as it were, and I want to thank everybody
for their time this week. And I know time is precious,
and I appreciate you making it for us. Until next week, onward and upward! If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the
podcast on YouTube on your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links
to resources discussed on the show, sign up to get them emailed to you
each week at iterativemarketing.net. There, you’ll also find the Iterative Marketing blog
and our community LinkedIn group, where you can share ideas and ask
questions of your fellow Iterative Marketers. You can also follow us on Twitter. Our username is @iter8ive or email us
at [email protected] The Iterative Marketing Podcast is
a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping brands and agencies
rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman
with transcription assistance from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by SeaStock Audio,
Music Production and Sound Design. You can check them out
at seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week. Until then onward and upward!

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