Marketing Now: New World, New Rules - Take a Trip Down Customer Lane

Friday, December 11, 2020

2020 has us all grounded — stuck at home with nowhere to go. But here’s a positive spin: you now have the time to travel your customer’s journey. Take a walk in their shoes and learn how customers find you, select you, perceive you, and refer you.

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IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) leaders are ready to be your tour guide. Last month, we covered digital marketing and failing fast. In this article, we’ll focus on customer journey mapping.

Check out these pit stops on a customer’s journey — and avoid some key pitfalls. Take a trip down customer lane.

Stop 1. Identify. What do your customers look like? This is different than the specifics of “who” your customers are. Who they are – well that’s Bob, Janis, and Eric. Great people despite their idiosyncrasies, maybe even because of them. But they are just three individuals. For the purposes of marketing, we need to look at the journey they take as your customer. Where do they come from? Why are they here? Follow their path.

Stop 2. Recognize. What do your customers need? They might be looking to you because of an emergent need — an equipment failure, for instance. Or they may be doing research to fulfill a capital-spending plan. Either way, you need to know what they need.

Stop 3. Seek. When and why do customers seek you out? Do they come to you early in the decision-making process for advice because you are a trusted source? Do they turn to you because you have solved problems in the past? What do your customers typically want?

Stop 4. Select. Where are your customers in the decision-making process? Are they ready to make a selection? When a client is ready to “hit go” depends a lot on the scale of the project, the urgency of the need, and their personal decision-making style. Know your clients, and help them get to go.

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Stop 5. Give. What is your customer giving you? Seems obvious, and maybe it is. The customer may be simply paying for a product or service in a traditional transactional relationship. Or maybe you have industry partners who can trade with you. However you establish value, it has to be set and clearly communicated to customers.

Stop 6. Get. What is your customer getting in return? What product or service will you deliver? Is there an explicit understanding about what is (and is not) covered by this agreement?

Stop 7. Use. How does the customer use your product or service? You made a sale! Congrats! Now make sure the customer is actually using your product or service to fulfill their original need. Be there to coach and guide customers as they integrate your deliverable into their systems.

Stop 8. Fix. What type of service do you offer? Warranties and service agreements should be worked out at the point of sale. However, all companies should be willing and able to stand by the products they produce and rectify problems for customers. That is how customers become referrals. This is a critical step — and a potential pitfall. Don’t backslide!

No matter where your customers come from, they follow the same path once they get to you. Know their path and be proactive. Head them off at the pass if they are headed toward LOATHE. Focus on ensuring that all customers exit your path feeling the LOVE — even if they don’t buy something right away. A happy customer (even if they aren’t a paying customer right now) will come back to you when their needs change or they need something else.

Using IMTS spark, manufacturing technology companies can begin, track, and fast forward customer journeys with multiple customers all at once. Launched by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology and GBM – Gardner Business Media, IMTS spark gives manufacturers a modern meeting place filled with solutions, networking opportunities and industry knowledge. Join more than 2,000 exhibitors on IMTS spark today. Your journey starts there!

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