One of the most popular topics among marketers these days is the customer experience and the customer journey. Even if you aren’t involved in helping them map out those journeys, it helps to understand what they are so you can help improve the end consumer’s experience (to the extent that you can) and capture as much of “share of wallet” from your customers as possible.

More specifically, if there are places your customers can be using print, email, or other channels you manage, you want to make sure they are making the most effective use of them where and when they make sense.

What is a customer journey? It is all the steps a customer takes before, during, and even after the sale. For example,

  • How does the target audience learn about your customer’s products and services? What path do they follow? What channels do they use at each stage?
  • What are the steps involved in the purchase decision? Who do prospects talk to? What kinds of information do they use at different stages along the funnel?
  • Once they make a purchase decision, where do they make the actual purchase? In-store? Online? Via mobile? What purchase methods do they use?
  • If they need to install or register the product or have it serviced, what are the steps involved?
  • What happens after the sale? Does the product require ongoing service? Upgrades? Repairs? What do those communications look like?
  • Once they have purchased the product, do buyers need follow-up support?
  • Are consumers talking about the product or the brand to others? What are they saying? What channels are they using to express their views?
  • If consumers are unhappy with the purchase, what is your customers’ plan to address those concerns? If consumers are happy, what steps can your client take to turn those customers into brand advocates?
  • Are there cross-sell or upsell opportunities?

At each of these stages, your customer has a variety of channels to use to communicate with consumers—what the product options are, where the audience can find them, the benefits of purchasing those products, how to install or use them, where to find service and support. Is your customer using the full range of channels available to them? Are they using the right channels at the right times? Is there a role for printed materials that is being overlooked?

For example, we know that consumers process and retain complex information better in print than they do in digital.  Would adding printed collateral facilitate the purchase decision? In the areas where customers are using print, are there pain points that could be helped with the use of highlight color? More graphics? Personalized content?

Is the customer retargeting? If not, is something they should consider? If they are retargeting, are they following the traditional online-to-social-media pathway? Have they considered retargeting online efforts with direct mail? Do you have case studies on hand to show them how effective this can be?

How is the customer evaluating the success of its strategies? What services, such as online or printed surveys, could be used that are not being used currently?

The more you understand the customer journeys of your clients’ customers, the more you can help. There are communications strategies and options your customers might not have thought of. There may be places you can pinpoint where a new communications strategy (or having a communications strategy in the first place) will solve a pain point that they or their customers are having. But you can’t offer insights until you know what those customer journeys are.

So ask the question. “Do you map customer journeys? If so, would you allow us to see them so we can see where we can help?” After all, you don't want to leave opportunity on the table—for you or for them.