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A new shape for the customer journey

I enjoyed the article Rethinking the Customer Journey: A Strategy for Marketers by Michael Stelzner on the Social Media Examiner site. The article suggests that in the traditional ‘sales funnel’ model, “Businesses would bring attention to themselves in a variety of ways and introduce themselves to consumers. As consumers got to know those businesses, they’d move deeper into the funnel and start to like those businesses and want to know more. And finally, by getting to know and like a business, those people built up trust in that business and moved forward with their buying decision.”

However, a new ‘hourglass shape of the customer journey’ extends further. “Consumers want to be able to trust the entities they do business with, and to refer those businesses they know, like, and trust the most to their friends and family. Hence the hourglass shape: the larger end at the top when businesses are first introducing themselves, getting smaller around the middle as those consumers make the decision to purchase, and then getting wider again at the bottom as those purchasers refer the business to new consumers.”

The author then comes up with seven stages of the customer journey:

  • 1 – Make Prospects Aware of Your Business
  • 2 – Give Prospects a Reason to Like Your Business
  • 3 – Build Trust That Your Business Has the Answers Prospects Are Looking for
  • 4 – Convince Prospects to Try Your Offer
  • 5 – Make the Sale
  • 6 – Generate Repeat Business From Happy Customers
  • 7 – Actively Seek Referrals

The influence of referrals in B2B marketing can be greater than many marketers think. The article is worth a read.