It’s common for marketers to break the customer journey into buying stages. Something like — Discover, Research, Compare, Decide, Purchase, Support.
Others use Selling Cycles — Requested White Paper, Demo, Pricing Request, etc.
Either way, using buying and/or selling cycles helps the marketing and sales teams segment audiences and deliver the right content to them at the right time, i.e. delivering content in context.
These approaches work well for infrequent purchases. It’s a path that buyers travel to buy a cruise, or a car. But for companies that offer ongoing services — plus the opportunity to add on extra services — we might think in terms of Relationships and how context marketing can help deepen the relationship.
Seth Godin proposed relationship types in the subtitle to his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers. In a subsequent book he added Tribes to the list.
For Sitecore marketers, a Stranger would be an anonymous user. Once the user connects — normally via email — they become a Friend. All the data associated with previous user sessions is connected to this profile. In other words, we have some details about this Friend. An engaged Friend becomes a Customer. An engaged Customer becomes a repeat buyer and adds more services. Some become Tribe members, or a brand Advocates.
None of this happens without intentionally developing content experiences that nurture this relationship.
For service providers, overlaying a user’s current relationship with behavioral data — via profiles and pattern cards — can be incredibly powerful.
Before you set up Goals and Outcomes in your system, consider whether using Relationship Stages should drive context instead of — or in addition to — Sales or Buying stages.