Brands and agencies often use the terms “advertising” and “marketing” synonymously, resulting in confusion and a myopic view of the mechanisms that may be used to solve a brand’s business challenges. Business suffers then, because only a small portion of the customer’s journey and marketing funnel is being influenced (via advertising), versus an impact on results across the funnel, the customer experience, and the brand’s bottom line at the end.
While advertising is critical in delivering content to customers to drive awareness and consideration, change perceptions, or even drive action, it must be used in conjunction with other marketing techniques to fully impact a brand’s business and deliver a full-funnel solution.
For example, simply advertising a certain aspect of a brand’s value proposition without fully incorporating the same content across other owned and earned channels — as well as ensuring the value proposition is being delivered via customer journey research — could potentially result in a brand wasting its precious marketing budgets without achieving any real business results.
How Marketers Bring True Value
By understanding a customer’s individual needs and preferences, marketers can drive relevant, personalized content across the entire customer journey and convince customers to move from one point to the next and, eventually, take the final step of transacting with a brand. Marketers can develop content, offers, and calls to action by mapping the individual’s needs to business goals at each point of the customer journey.
Attracting the right audiences and providing relevant and personalized content through the journey is the true value that marketers bring. Here are some ways that marketers should be approaching and prioritizing these efforts:
1. Journey mapping: To drive impact and business results, marketers must start with understanding and documenting the customer’s (current and ideal) journey with the brand or product, breaking it down into phases and milestones, triggers and barriers (emotional and physical) at each phase, and defining business goals for each milestone. This helps marketers develop a blueprint that can be used to define and design the ideal user experience across touchpoints or channels to accomplish the goals for each phase or milestone in the journey and, in turn, help deliver bottom-line results for the business.
2. Customer segmentation and UX design: Brands must also invest in research and analytics that helps them understand the profiles (demographic, psychographic) of their customers as well as their needs and preferences across the various phases of the customer journey. These insights should then be used to group customers into segments and develop relevant experiences in order to attract, capture, and retain each segment and maximize the return of marketing investments.3. Measurement and optimization: Definition of clear goals and continual measurement of efforts across the various parts of the customer journey are other integral and essential components of a successful marketing program. KPIs grounded in business goals help teams understand the effectiveness of marketing tactics so they can optimize spend, targeting, and experience to deliver a higher ROI.