If you are involved in BtoB marketing, you are probably no stranger to the customer journey. The customer journey is the process of converting a potential customer into a customer of the company, and for a while it was very popular to create a customer journey.
Many people were attracted to it and jumped on board, partly because it was so easy to understand and beautifully presented in a visual sheet. This is a bit of a digression, but I felt that no matter how good something is, if it looks bad, people will not understand its true merits, while if it looks beautiful, it can attract people more than it is capable of doing, even if it is not so great. In fact, the appearance of a product is an important factor, since sales are influenced by its packaging.
But what happened a few years later? Even today, there are still courses on creating customer journeys, but only a handful of people have high expectations for the customer journey. What on earth has happened?
As those of you who have worked on customer journeys may understand, there are several drawbacks to customer journeys. In this article, I would like to introduce those drawbacks (two of them) and suggest what can be done about them.
The first drawback is that even if you create a customer journey, it is difficult to create new value by repeating what you already know. The companies that feel this way are usually BtoC companies or BtoB companies that have been practicing marketing continuously so far. From their perspective, things like the customer journey have been done for a long time, and they don’t see anything new in it. Sure, it’s new in the sense that it’s a visual representation of something that used to be fragmented on a single sheet, but they know the details of each step well enough to have tried and tested all kinds of measures.
Therefore, they often end up just summarizing what they knew, and it was not very useful to create it. The measures derived from the customer journey are only things that have been done before or that are still being worked on on an ongoing basis, which is disappointing. Of course, there are new things that can be discovered by bringing together the disparate pieces, but these are only a small part of the picture, and in many cases they are similar to what is described above.
But on the other hand, it can be useful for companies that have not engaged in marketing before. I think many BtoB companies in particular find it so. Therefore, the customer journey is not beneficial for all companies, and it is important to be well aware of the fact that some companies may benefit from it and others may not, before deciding whether or not to implement it. In fact, the overwhelming majority of BtoB companies use customer journeys. The customer journey is considered a very useful first step in marketing.
And the second drawback of customer journeys is that they often “don’t take competitors into account. (I’m not saying all of them.) As you know, many customer journeys do not include a section on competitors. In most cases, we just describe what the customer perceives as challenges at each stage and what resources are available to them. In most cases, we just describe what challenges the customer perceives at each stage and what resources are available. What competitive products are available at each stage, and are they likely to be enough to win? etc. are not often taken into account. So you should create a customer journey and focus on this! But when you actually implement the measures, you may end up with a product that is not likely to be competitive with your competitors.
The basis of marketing is to find a segment where you can beat the competition and concentrate your investment in a segment where you can expect to get a good return on your investment. However, the customer journey, as it is commonly referred to, completely lacks this perspective, and it is difficult to achieve sufficient results. Of course, it is common to talk about competitors at the stage of creating a customer journey, and it is correct to have such a conversation, but such a conversation is only possible for people who have been practicing marketing for a long time, such as BtoC companies, and for the first time in BtoB companies, people who have been practicing marketing for a long time are not able to have such a conversation. It is difficult for a first-time marketer in a BtoB company to take such things into consideration.
For this reason, I suggest to these clients that they should also create a customer journey for their competitors. If you create a customer journey with only your own team members, you will only be able to think in a very narrow scope, and you will not be able to create a useful customer journey. However, by creating a customer journey for your competitors and comparing it to your own customer journey, you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and see where you can invest your resources most effectively.
The above diagram is just a sample, but it is possible to add the perspective of “how does my company feel at each stage, and how do my competitors feel? By adding these perspectives, you will be able to create a more precise marketing strategy. Thinking in this way is truly a marketing “strategy. Why not give it a try?