oracle customer journey loop
Earlier this year, Oracle created the infinity-loop graphic above to illustrate “The Customer Journey.” While customer journey mapping techniques have been around for years, our hats went off immediately to this illustration’s designer. Most customer journey maps we’ve seen in the past looked more complex and confusing than one of those infamously indecipherable Power Point slides created by the Pentagon.

The most important thing the Oracle illustration communicates is something marketers too often forget—the word “customer” can be applied to two distinct groups: Shoppers & Owners. (In a business-to-business context, the term shopper may be replaced with any number of titles, like  prospective buyer or specifier.)

While customers are shopping, marketers should provide helpful, research-oriented information. Buyers’ guides, product comparisons and customer reviews are among the most effective ways to serve your audience at this point in their journey. How effective? According to the most recent research from Nielsen, 68 percent of shoppers trust customer opinions and reviews and 52 percent trust the information they find on companies’ branded websites. Compare those with the percentages of shoppers who trust search ads (35 percent), ads in social networks (31 percent) or banner ads (28 percent)*.

During the owner phase, customers need the types of media and content that help them better understand and more effectively use your product or service. Video tutorials, online classes and various types of how-tos can help you turn an owner into a fan—even an evangelist. Such helpful content not only builds long-term customer relationships, it can lessen the need for call support, one of the things customers say they dislike the most.

Deliver content media that serves and supports your customers at the specific place they are in their journey and you’ll build relationships that last to infinity… and beyond.

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