You’ve probably heard of the customer journey before. It’s the process customers go through from their first awareness of a brand to their final purchase. The customer journey is a framework that looks at the different touchpoints a customer has with your company, so you can understand where your customers are in their decision-making process and what you can do to influence them along the way. B2B (business-to-business) companies need to understand. B2B sales are complex, with multiple stakeholders and players involved in every deal.
But what about B2C (business-to-consumer) companies? Can the customer journey be equally useful for them?
A successful B2C company is just as concerned with getting customers to take action – whether making a purchase or sharing their data. B2C companies may have an even greater need for a customer journey framework because of the sheer number of potential customers and the time and resources needed to connect with them individually.
The good news is that it’s possible to apply the customer journey framework to B2B and B2C companies. It’s just a matter of tweaking the model in a few places to make it fit better with the needs of your audience.
Understanding The Customer Journey
At its core, the customer journey represents where customers are in the decision-making process, including the various steps they go through as they become aware of a brand, learn about it, talk about it and ultimately take action. These steps don’t necessarily happen in a linear order. For example, someone might first learn about a brand before talking to friends who have already purchased it. Or they may be aware of a brand and know what they want to buy but need to research before making a purchase decision.
The customer journey framework can be applied to B2B or B2C companies. Then, adjusting the model for your audience
is just a matter of adjusting it.
Several models vary slightly, but most customer journey frameworks fall into one of these two camps:
The awareness and consideration model is the most common. It includes five stages:
The customer life cycle model has seven stages:
- Repeat purchase
What’s important to know is that each stage represents a different point in the customer decision-making process. For example, someone aware of a brand has already heard about it but may not know much about it. On the other hand, someone interested in it could be actively researching it or simply considering purchasing it. The two models demonstrate that customers move through several steps but focus on slightly different things.
The awareness and consideration model focuses on the customer’s journey from first being aware of a brand to purchasing it. Finally, the customer life cycle model looks at the customer’s long-term relationship with a brand. It starts with someone becoming aware of a brand and ends with them becoming a loyal, repeat buyer.
Both of these models are valid ways of looking at customers. The important thing is to choose the one that best fits your brand’s needs and its customers.
The Customer Journey For B2B Companies
For most B2B companies, the awareness and consideration model makes the most sense. This is because it focuses on customers’ awareness of your brand and whether they’re interested in learning more about it.
The customer journey for B2B companies focuses on customers’ awareness of a brand and whether they’re interested in learning more about it.
It’s helpful to look at the customer journey as having two phases: initial awareness and the subsequent interest. In the initial awareness phase, someone becomes aware of a brand but is not interested in learning more about it. In the subsequent interest phase, a person becomes interested in learning more about a brand and is further in the decision-making process.
The awareness and consideration model can help you understand where your customers are in the decision-making process and what you can do to influence them along the way.
Understanding where your customers are in the process will help you focus your efforts so that you can spend time and money on the right tactics and strategies at each step.
The Customer Journey For B2C Companies
The good news is that the customer journey framework can also be applied to B2C companies, with a few adjustments.
Using the same awareness and consideration model, we’ll focus on three phases instead of two: initial awareness, subsequent interest, and decision. This shift allows you to become aware of a brand in the same way a B2B customer would. For example, you might hear about a brand through an advertisement or read it in a blog post. You might even become interested in learning more about it. But you wouldn’t take any action with the brand yet.
The customer journey for B2C companies focuses on three phases:
- Initial awareness
- subsequent interest
In the decision phase, you would purchase a product or sign up for a service. Then, you move from being a new customer to become a repeat buyer, similar to the loyalty and advocacy phase in the customer life cycle model.
The decision phase is the most important part of the B2C customer journey framework. It’s where a customer takes action and becomes a repeat buyer of your brand.
However, there’s one piece missing from this framework: how a customer becomes aware of a brand. In B2B companies, a salesperson often initiates the process of becoming aware of a brand. For example, the rep might meet with a prospect, learn about the prospect’s business and recommend specific products relevant to the prospect’s needs.
So if you’re a B2C company, you’ll want to add an awareness phase to the model, which includes how someone becomes aware of your brand. For example, you might hear about your brand through an advertisement or read it in a blog post. Your awareness level could be high (as in you’ve already purchased one of your products or services) or low (you’ve never heard of your brand before).
An awareness phase is an important part of the B2C customer journey. It includes how someone becomes aware of your brand.
What is Customer Journey Mapping Used For?
Customer journey mapping is a great tool for improving the customer experience. It allows you to identify pain points that can be fixed so that people get a more positive experience with your brand. It also helps you to identify areas where you’re doing well and can keep doing what you’re doing.
Customer journey mapping is also great for identifying new opportunities for service and revenue growth. You can use it to examine which markets are untapped and where your current processes might limit your company’s potential.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, the customer journey framework can help you identify where your customers are in the decision-making process and how you can influence them along the way.
In the awareness and consideration phase, customers become aware of a brand and show initial interest. In the subsequent interest phase, they’re becoming more interested and are further in the decision-making process. In the decision phase, they’re taking action and becoming repeat buyers. And in the loyalty and advocacy phase, they’re loyal repeat buyers
who are more likely to share information about your brand with others.
The key is to choose the model that works best for your company. If you’re a B2B company, you’ll likely benefit most from the awareness and consideration model. If you’re a B2C company, the customer journey framework can be adapted to your brand’s needs by adding an awareness phase and adjusting the decision phase to be more like the loyalty and advocacy phase in the customer life cycle model.