Many marketers associate November and December with incredible pressure to close as much business as possible before January 1. Too often, I see this short-term focus prevent marketers from spending the necessary time to strategize for the year ahead.
Take customer journey maps, for example. Shoppers’ habits are constantly evolving, and re-evaluating these maps is an important aspect of annual planning. Yet, many brands leave customer journey maps unchanged from one year to the next, resulting in campaigns that don’t deliver the intended results in terms of affecting shopper behavior.
While customer journey maps vary greatly depending on the products or services you’re selling, and the channels you’re selling through, it’s critical to ensure that these maps take into account influencers’ impact on your shoppers.
Increasingly, shoppers’ purchasing decisions are affected by the people that they trust and engage with online. From the celebrity Instagram post that leads to product discovery to an Amazon customer review sought out moments before the point-of-purchase, influencers big and small can hold sway over your customers.
Accounting for how influence impacts your customers’ paths to purchase will require you to revisit your current customer journey map, and diagram how the various types of influencers are impacting your customers’ behaviors. If you’re interested in creating an influence-augmented customer journey map, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Understand Your Influencers at Every Touchpoint
A good place to start the process of revamping your customer journey maps is identifying how each of the six influencer personas—mega-influencers, macro-influencers, micro-influencers, advocates, referrers, and loyalists—are already engaging with your brand.
Using the chart below, you can map the current state of your influencer-based relationships, from how each type of influencer is already affecting your customers’ shopping decisions, to their personas:
Once you’ve completed this chart, you can align your current influencer marketing strategies and tactics with your current journey map.
2. Prioritize Certain Channels for Influencer Discovery & Activation
Use your target audience, preferred channels, and behavioral triggers to identify influencers at each touchpoint for recruitment or activation. Determine which influencers can deliver the right content to your consumers and the composition of your ideal influencer marketing mix by using quantitative and qualitative data to understand what influences consumers’ experience and decisions in each moment.
3. Seek Common Targets, Touchpoints, and Triggers to Help find Efficiencies and Scale
In an effort to increase the scale and frequency of your influencer marketing efforts, repurpose high-performing influencer-generated content at priority touchpoints that can accelerate the path-to-purchase. For instance, our team at Mavrck has found that repurposing micro-influencer Instagram content can drive 7x higher on-page engagement and conversion rates for the products featured.
4. Create an Influence Experience Layer to your Journey Map
Your relationship with your influencers matters, and as such, their experience could define determine their preference and loyalty to your brand. Treat influencers as a net new persona, with their own unique needs as a target audience to generate awareness, brand affinity and loyalty. In an expanded customer journey map, detail your influencer experience to identify which channels and touchpoints are ideal for influencer engagement and relationship building. If you’re currently working with influencers, and see that they’re driving positive results for your brand, identify recurring signals and attributes in an effort to engage additional influencers with similar audiences.
5. Validate Your Customer Journey Map with an Influencer Advisory Board
Use your existing customer base to source a board of influencer advisors, and use this group to gain insight into what influences them at each stage and touchpoint. Feedback from your influencer advisory board is extremely valuable, as it can help you understand how influencers affect your customers’ journeys at various stages and touchpoints.
When working with your influencer advisory board, make sure that you’re cross-referencing their insights with your current customer journey map, and make changes as necessary. For instance, though the process of sourcing feedback, you might find that celebrity endorsements don’t affect your shoppers’ purchasing decisions in ways that you had hoped. If this is the case, and you happen to be paying celebrities to post about your products, you might consider spending that money elsewhere.
Aligning your influencer marketing strategy with customer journey mapping is critical for pursuing effective influencer campaigns. The marketers who do this successfully will reap the rewards in 2018 and beyond.