How can small businesses learn from big companies by defining a customer journey

Key takeaways:

  • Small businesses can learn from big companies by adopting the practice of defining customer journeys to organize their marketing activities effectively.
  • The emergence of the internet and various marketing tools has made marketing strategies more complex and interconnected, necessitating organized approaches.
  • Customer journeys help big companies understand how customers interact with different marketing activities and ensure they are utilized at the right time and in the desired manner.
  • Similarly, small businesses can benefit from defining customer journeys to understand their customer acquisition process better and identify areas for improvement.
  • While small businesses may have fewer customer journeys compared to big companies, the process of defining them offers valuable insights and opportunities for optimizing interactions with potential customers.

Long gone are the days when small businesses depended solely on word-of-mouth and any marketing efforts were left to the big companies that have time and resources to deal with them. The emergence of the internet brought access to the marketing knowledge of the experts with experience from these big companies along with a ton of online marketing tools that are easy to use even for non-Madison Avenue types.

If you didn’t get the reference, Madison Avenue in New York City used to be known for the most creative marketing agencies in the US (and therefore, in those times, it meant in the word). If you were called a Madison Avenue guy, you were in the advertising business.

With the many marketing tools and activities came the need to keep track of how each of them is used, what specific purpose it serves, how it makes sense in relation to others, and at which point is the customer presented with it.

It also came down to the strategy: they didn’t want to throw all their marketing activities out there and let people randomly find and engage with them. They were thinking about how is their target group going to interact with the individual pieces of the marketing strategy, and how to shuffle them in a way that this continuous interaction actually keeps going, and that it leads to the desired ending: making a sale.

This only used to be a problem of Madison Avenue, because they were basically the only ones with marketing strategies big enough that they had to be kept track of in an organized manner. But since these Big Apple residents are not the only ones using many complicated marketing tools and strategies anymore, the need to keep them organized is not solely theirs, either.

Nowadays, a complex marketing strategy is an ordinary thing in every mid-size and big company. The emergence of the internet and countless marketing tools that became available that we alluded to in the introduction of this article, made marketing strategies so complicated and interconnected, that even Madison Avenue gentlemen would wonder at what they’re looking at.

To make sure these tools are applied and used at the right time and in the desired manner, big companies formulate customer journeys to illustrate at which point a customer is reached by a particular tool or marketing activity. There are many possible combinations of marketing activities a customer will be reached by on his journey, so there are usually multiple different scenarios prepared to account for the most common ways potential customers take to become actual customers.

Since many of these tools and marketing activities are also available to and utilized by small businesses, it only makes sense for them to also keep them organized and to think about the particular order of their utilization – same as big companies do.

Depending on the scale of marketing a small business has, there are maybe only one or two customer journeys to be made. But it’s also about the process itself: when you think about the actual steps a person has to take to become your customer while you’re writing down your customer journey, it gives you a new perspective on how your whole customer acquisition process works and how it can be improved. 

Maybe you’ll also notice there are some steps in your customer journey missing or not sufficiently addressed, which will give you an opportunity to further improve your interaction with potential customers.

The amount of possible customer journeys in big companies usually becomes so big that it’s best to elevate this approach and make one huge customer journey map where all the steps a potential customer can take can be connected and combined in many different ways.

So whether they end up making a simple customer journey or choose to take it to the next level (for example by adding personas or touchpoint performance data), this is definitely a principle small businesses can take from big companies and utilize for their own customer acquisition strategy.

Do you want to create an interactive and easy-to-use customer journey map with powerful touchpoints, personas, automatic KPI import & monitoring, and much more?

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