The Persona Section of the customer journey documents brand interactions from the perspective of the chosen persona. This section is based on the actual needs of the persona as he or she moves through the sales process. It does not change unless the sales process changes.
Important Note: Before reading any further, you must download the free customer journey template. When the template loads, you’ll be prompted to subscribe for free to IterativeMarketing.net, where you will gain complete access to our premium content. The rest of this post will be very hard to follow without it.
Important Note #2: This is the second blog in a five-part series. Check out the remaining blogs for details on completing other sections of the customer journey: Mapping the Customer Journey; Mapping the Customer Journey: Marketing’s Perspective; Mapping the Customer Journey: Sales’ Perspective; Expanding The Customer Journey (reference this blog to break the consideration states into more actionable segments).
Step 1: What Causes [Persona Name] To Move Into This State? (Row 5)
One of the most powerful insights in the customer journey map is understanding what the prospect needs to move to the next state. In some cases, it may be an internal need like recognizing that there is a problem that must be solved. Other times, it may be external, like a failure in their current product or service. In both cases, it is important to understand that the decision to move forward is entirely up to the persona. While they may be waiting on information from us, it is how they internalize that information or how that information meets or doesn’t meet their needs that determines if the prospect goes on.
Questions to ask to uncover what the customer needs to move forward:
- In the past, what has stopped a prospect from moving forward in the process?
- What questions does the prospect have at this point in the journey?
- What internal or external needs does the prospect have at this point in the journey?
- What information or action moves the prospect from this state in the customer journey to the next?
Step 2: What Is [Persona Name] Thinking? (Row 6)
By understanding what our persona is thinking, we get a better understanding of what other factors may be pushing them towards, or pulling them away from, our products or services. Remember, this is from the perspective of our persona and should be about them.
Questions to ask to uncover what the prospect is thinking:
- What is on the mind of our persona at this state in the buying cycle?
- Are they aware of our product/service?
- What do they know or not know?
- What is their top concern or worry?
- What questions are they asking?
- What other factors are influencing them and their ability to consume our content?
Step 3: What Actions Are [Persona Name] Taking? (Row 7)
This section documents the actions the persona takes at this state in the customer journey. These actions may or may not touch our organizations and generally include touchpoints with competitors. Documenting these actions provides insights that can be applied to the type of content and how it can be delivered to the prospect.
Questions to uncover what the prospect is doing in this state:
- Who are they talking to?
- What are they reading/watching/listening to?
- Where else are they seeking information?
Step 4: Most Important Brand Attribute (Row 8)
Brand attributes are the functional and emotional characteristics that are attached to our companies. Representative of our brand, and not just our product, these attributes are consistent at every touchpoint. However, different characteristics are more important to our personas at different points in the journey. These brand attributes allow the persona to identify with the organization, and help to reinforce their choice at this particular state of consideration.
Questions to ask to uncover what brand attributes the customer values:
- What brand attributes are most important to the customer at this point in the customer journey?
- Is there a brand value that guides our interactions with customers? If so, how does the prospect feel about it?
- What insecurities or feelings drive persona behavior at this state?
- Which of our brand characteristics alleviate the fears, insecurities and frustrations of the persona?
Step 5: What Does [Persona Name] Need to Hear? (Row 9)
This line identifies the messages a persona would be looking to hear from our brand or our competitors at this specific state of the customer journey. By combining what the persona is thinking (Row 6) with the insights from our documented persona, we can create targeted content that meets the needs of this user at this state in the buying cycle.
Questions to ask to uncover what the persona needs to hear:
- What are the pain points and how does our organization address them?
- What products/features/benefits might the persona be unaware of?
- How can our organization help them accomplish their goals/aspirations?
Step 6: Content/Tools That Are Valuable To [Persona Name]? (Row 10)
We’ve documented what our persona needs to hear, but now we need to get that message to break through the clutter. To do this, we identify valuable content that the persona needs and would be willing to pay for. “Pay” does not necessarily mean dollars, but rather something of value the persona would exchange for access to content, like an email address or social network information.
The content at this state may not have anything to do with the organization’s product or service. That is OK — especially when content is targeted at the “See” state. Instead, we are identifying content or tools the persona needs and would find valuable. Content that is more brand or product-centric can be brainstormed for marketing and sales activities later in the journey.
Questions to ask to uncover the content or tools that the persona would be willing to give up personal information to access:
- What information does the persona want or need at this state?
- Is there a need that is not being met with current content (either our content or a competitor’s)?
- How does the persona consume information?
- What channels is the persona interacting with?
Step 7: Other Personas/Roles (Row 11)
While the customer journey maps the experience of one specific persona, there are often other people involved in their decision-making. Acknowledging external influences, and identifying those influencers, allows us to understand how content is shared. This information can then be used to document other personas’ journeys in the future.
Questions to ask to uncover roles or personas that influence this state of the sales process:
- Is the persona making this decision on his own, is someone else involved?
- Where is the persona getting his information at this state in the process?
- Who else has influence over the purchase?
For advice and tips on uncovering your customer journey, join the Iterative Marketing Community on LinkedIn.
Don’t forget to check out blog #3 in the series to map the customer journey from marketing’s perspective.