A fun, illuminating one-day Customer Journey assessment with Off Road led to several profit-generating “quick wins,” and a wealth of longer-term, strategic gains. Here’s how it all unfolded, and where the process is leading.
South San Francisco Conference Center’s sales and marketing teams knew there was room for improvement in their online marketing efforts. They contacted Off Road because they knew about our expertise in Search Engine Optimization, which is always a good place to start with improving digital results.
What we discovered as we got to know each other better, however, is that improved Google results were only the beginning steps to getting more business. At Off Road, one of our most rewarding insights in working with clients that customer experiences with any business or organization are the single most important factor driving successful growth. We call this the Customer Journey.
A Day of Discovery
We got together in the client’s offices, armed with paper, colored pens, and plenty of coffee, prepared for an all-out brainstorm!
The starting point for understanding our Customer Journey is getting clear on who our best customers are. The Conference Center team worked with Off Road’s facilitators to actually identify three “ideal customer” personas. For the rest of the day, we looked at everything the sales and marketing team does through the lens of these customer profiles.
This was one of our first “profit-ready” takeaways from the process.
It’s not too surprising -- but still something of a breakthrough -- to realize that different customers have different wants and needs.
Learning to tailor marketing communications to these client-specific objectives is already improving the success rates of the Conference Center’s outbound strategies.
Best of all, by helping the team define who their best customers are, we were able to pin down the specific touchpoints that actually impact the experience of that prospect, with all their individual wants and needs!
Touchpoints Are Where Business Is Won… or Lost!
When we drilled down and started looking closely at customer experiences, we saw that there are several points in the sales process where communication with Conference Center prospects made all the difference in getting the booking. So we took a closer look at these touchpoints, and specified several ways to improve results.
Whether in person, by phone, or by email, sales and marketing staff contact prospects several times prior to signing an agreement… and even more before, and after, the event.
Each contact, when approached mindfully, affords an opportunity to:
- Deepen relationships with prospects,
- Qualify prospects for need and budget parameters,
- Add value in the process by educating future clients,
- Move closer to closing the deal, and
- Assure the customer that they made the right decision.
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Touchpoints Are Where Business Is Won… or Lost!
Thinking in terms of the Customer Journey, and looking at every point of contact from the prospect’s point of view, illuminates new approaches.
For South San Francisco Conference Center, this means finding ways to qualify inquiries better, improve follow-up to RFP’s, secure more business, build the number of positive customer reviews, and more.
Finding the Quick Wins
One of the most exciting parts of Off Road’s Customer Journey process is uncovering the best ways to rapidly improve client operations. From ad budgets to copy review to results tracking, most organizations are leaving money on the table.
With the Conference Center team, we found several options for improving results, just in the online arena:
Advertising expenses. Most marketing generalists are unfamiliar with the details of online ad buying. Off Road was able to recommend several cost-saving measures.
Design and copy testing. Continually refining and optimizing the look and feel, and messaging, of online advertising and content can be a challenge. We came up with some simple fixes.
Tracking. It’s one thing to track inbound leads by source. The Center’s team knew whether a lead came from Google, or any other site. What wasn’t always clear is which search term, or what content piece, elicited the response. With Off Road’s help, they now have a much more detailed tracking model.
Content development and delivery. Developing a strategic plan for creating and posting quality content to internal and social platforms is another way to drive more prospects into the sales process.
Taken together with the customer profile insights and touchpoint analysis mentioned above, the Conference Center team came away from this awesome creative “think-in” with a wealth of actionable items for rapid sales gains and increased organizational alignment.
Other areas of opportunity include offline advertising and networking, managing the event experience, increasing conversion rates, clarifying internal communication channels, and more.
The “Deep-Dive” Phase Provides Even More Value
The benefits to the Customer Journey assessment don’t end with the one-day session, either.
Off Road provides detailed audits into several areas of client operations, and submits additional recommendations after completing the review. After the quick wins are found, we dig in to create continual improvement in each category.
“Off Road helped us look at our business in ways we never have before. Finding new ideas, or different approaches to familiar problems, can be hard when we’re caught up in everyday activity. The Customer Journey gave us a chance to step back and really see what we can do better.”
South San Francisco Conference Center
People and Culture Make a Huge Difference
The Customer Journey is not limited to quantifiable subjects like sales revenue and advertising budgets. The customer experience is impacted in countless ways by the human aspect of your organization.
We started by asking “who are your best customers,” but we also helped the team at South San Francisco understand “who are we?” Looking in the mirror isn’t always easy… but the clearer our view of ourselves, the better we are able to present authentically to those we wish to do business with.
Together, we identified the three main values informing the Center’s business as Creative, Environmentally Focused, Space Specialists. How cool is that?!
Equipped with this self-knowing, the team is able to engage confidently with customers, co-workers, vendors, and everyone else who interacts with their business.
Unlike the typical consulting firm, Off Road is deeply concerned with the people and culture of client organizations. How we function internally is reflected in how we relate to prospects and customers. Not only is this vital to the health of your business, but it also goes a long way to determine the quality of your customer experience.
People like doing business with people they like, and they like people who are honest and real. Likeability may not be something you can count or measure, but it’s an absolutely essential piece.
Building Out the Campaign
Next, we were able to propose a specific implementation. At this Campaign stage, the benefits of our one-day brainstorming and subsequent audits pay big dividends.
- We dramatically slashed ad budget waste by managing “bounces” in Pay Per Click placements.
- We eliminated previously ineffective ad copy, crafting a new “control” from messaging already proven to work.
- We eliminated redundant placements and improved outbound email efficiency.
- We are providing integration of business intelligence across platforms, making sure that what we learn is working can be used in all the Center’s advertising and content placements.
All of this works together to deliver vastly improved Return On Investment, in both short-term results, and over the long haul.
Knowing “what to do” with online strategy is only half the challenge. A clear picture of the “why,” from well-defined objectives to a strong grasp on your data, is equally necessary.
The Big Picture View
Have you ever played with Google Earth? You can see a picture of your house… zoom out and view your entire neighborhood… or back up more, and your whole city fills the screen.
When it comes to your company or organization, though, you need to combine views. Off Road’s Customer Journey process combines a detailed, street-level look at your business with several broader perspectives.
For the Conference Center team, this variable scope meant looking closely at the details of their business model, while at the same time keeping in mind their core values and strategic goals. We found areas of opportunity for immediate wins, and other priorities that would need more time to develop.
The destination for this Customer Journey is increased revenue and better return on marketing investment, with empowerment of each individual team member, as well as the entire organization.
Here’s a high-level map of the entire South San Francisco Conference Center Customer Journey.
Planning Your Customer Journey
Of course, your business is very different. The details of your situation, your best customers, the opportunities you may be missing, or those you can leverage more effectively… that’s all unique to your organization.
The best way to get started with your own Customer Journey is to call Off Road’s Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Fish, at 503.201.4719.
Or click this link to schedule a time for a 30 minute conversation. Scott will preview the critical parts of a Customer Journey with you, and see where you may have needs or gaps that can be filled.