Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer mindsets and behaviors are evolving rapidly and require quick, critical shifts in marketing approach and messaging. From channel usage to content preferences, it seems every week there’s a new development that requires strategic action from marketers.
In a customer-first marketing approach, understanding how consumers experience your brand – from their perspective – can help you pinpoint places to pivot when unexpected challenges (like global pandemics) arise.
What does this mean?
It’s time to dust off, sharpen and re-think how to better use two key marketing tools: customer journey maps and personas.
A good customer journey map is a comprehensive yet easy-to-read visualization of every stage of a customer’s experience with your brand, beginning before the customer is even aware of you and following them through – and beyond – their decision-making process.
A necessary partner for your journey map, personas result from a data-based deep dive into the demographics, psychographics and technographics of your customers. They include pains, gains, motivations and goals. The best personas are specific, aspirational and include insights into your customers’ mindsets.
What should marketers be doing?
If you haven’t yet developed customer journey maps and personas as part of a customer-first approach to marketing, the current crisis is a compelling reason to do so. If you do already use these tools, now is the time to consider the following key optimizations:
- Keep the ‘person’ in ‘persona’: Make sure your persona is a true person – with a face, name, age (not age range), job position and life situation.
- Be specific: Rarely will one persona and one journey map represent your entire target. Be as specific as possible and make as many journey map / persona pairs as needed.
- Increase your EQ: Revisit your journey map to identify moments of high emotion – or “moments of truth” – as well as moments of neutrality. While moments of high emotion are opportunities to intervene or intercept, moments of neutrality can be opportunities to surprise and delight.
- Improve your “I” sight: Add a key quote at each stage of the journey that contextualizes your consumers’ primary drivers. This should be an “I” statement that you can envision your consumer saying, informed by data and adapted to the specific persona of Mike, or Jane, or Tyler….
- Evolve your persona: For extra credit – and better results – evolve your persona into an empathy map. Like a persona, empathy maps are data-driven and include pains, gains and motivations, but also offer insights into what the person hears, sees, says, experiences and does. It is a robust tool (and an LGA favorite) for driving marketing strategy and inspiring new creative output.
Create revised versions of your maps that are COVID-19-specific, incorporating key data and insights about consumers’ shifts in channel usage and mindset. The insights we’ve shared recently on our blog are a great place to start.
Interested in learning how the empathy and journey maps can enhance your marketing strategy and creative?