Use the Marketing Hourglass to Examine the Customer Journey

customer journey, marketing hourglass
Define the journey your customers go on, Photo via PhotoPin

You’ve probably noticed that our content theme this month is The Customer Journey. In our blogs we’ve been highlighting all different points of contact in the marketing hourglass, different ways to view the hourglass, and what is important throughout the buying process.

To my surprise and delight, we’ve seen a multitude of ways to approach the hourglass, all successful in their own way. Different industries might use different terminology than Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer. Some of you might use an organized formula while some might just use the hourglass to get a conversation flowing in the right direction. In our breakthrough training call, we asked Kevin Jordan, Mark Fortune, David Smith and Debra Mendes to give us some examples of how they’ve used the hourglass and how successful it’s been for their clients.

It’s obvious, the Marketing Hourglass truly serves as a framework and map to every marketing strategy. There are four important things to consider throughout the process:

  • Personas
  • Steps
  • Goals
  • Processes

By mapping out the many personas and points of contact in your (or your client’s) marketing hourglass, you can then control each point of contact. By adding control, you can ensure customers are truly gaining the best experience with your brand. In John’s post this month, he outlines the 60 ways to screw up the customer experience.

What is your key takeaway when considering the marketing hourglass?

Use Social Media to Influence the Customer Journey

Today’s Guest Post is by Massimo Chieruzzi – Enjoy! 

The growth of social media is astonishing, with no reason to believe this trend will reverse anytime in the near future.

Check out these statistics from Adweek:
• More than 255 million Twitter users send approximately 500 million tweets every day
• There are more than 50 million Facebook pages

Does that give you a better idea of just how powerful social media has become?

Why People use Social Media

Some people use social media to communicate with friends and family. Others use it to share thoughts with their audience. And then there are consumers who turn to social media for buying information, guidance, and advice. This goes along with the hundreds of thousands of brands using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (among other platforms) to connect with their target audience.

For companies, there are many ways to use social media to influence the customer journey. Here are some strategies for getting started:

Brand Awareness

You can’t expect somebody to make a purchase until they are familiar with your brand. Social media can help with this.

Across social platforms, there’s always some form of content doing the rounds. A majority of the trending stories are posted by brands aiming to create awareness about their products and services.

Nike is a great example of this. Here is a screenshot of its Facebook page:

With nearly 23 million likes, there are a lot of people out there who want to stay in touch with the company. Posting updates about new releases (and past products) allows the company to build awareness. This update has nearly 3,500 likes.

That is what you call the power of social media. For additional reach, companies can leverage Facebook ads and similar ad offerings on other networks to create even greater awareness.

Brand and Product / Service Evaluation

Regardless of what a person shops for on the web, one thing holds true: they won’t have to search far for reviews and opinions. This is particularly true in today’s world of social media dominance.
As a company, you want to do two things:

• Promote positive reviews and testimonials by sharing these via social channels.
• Respond to any negative reviews, comments, or feedback.

Sephora, the cosmetics brand, shows one way this can be done.

What you see here is a tweet that promotes a video of a celebrity using one of its products. When a consumer comes across something like this, they are not only inclined to watch the video, but they are more inclined to make a purchase.

 Product Demo

This doesn’t apply to every business, but it holds true for some. Do you sell the type of product that can be demonstrated? If so, one of the best ways to influence buyers is by sharing these actions through social media.

Like many, your smartphone is always by your side. And like many, you worry about damaging your device. LifeProof is one of the top manufacturers of smartphone cases. With so much competition, it is only natural for the company to look for ways to set itself apart. It has been able to do just that through product demonstrations. Here is what we are talking about:

The company retweeted this image of a user taking on wet conditions, all with his Samsung smartphone and LifeProof case in hand. When a consumer sees something like this, they can resonate with the product.

Customer Service

The customer journey doesn’t stop once you deliver a product or service. In fact, this is just the beginning. If you want the person to spread the “good word” about your company, while also checking you out again in the future, you need to provide top of the line customer service.

Southwest Airlines has a great reputation for top-notch customer service.

Even when things are going bad, the company always monitors its social networks to stay in touch with customers. As you can see below, Southwest Airlines never sleeps on providing customers with great service.

Final Thoughts

The use of social media to influence the customer journey is not something your business should overlook. The tips mentioned above should help you influence the journey of your audience through your social media strategy.

Massimo Adespresso Author Bio: Massimo is founder & CEO of AdEspresso, an optimization tool for Facebook Ads. Even tho’ he’s working in the advertising business he loves Inbound Marketing & SEO and personally writes most of the contents of their Facebook Ads Academy.

Time-Saving Hacks for Your Small Business

Today’s Guest Post is by Madison Aki – Enjoy!

Small business owners seem to have about as much extra time as Scrat the Squirrel before the world froze over. Their home lives are scarcely separate from their business lives, and things can get a little messy. If you can relate and are looking for some time-saving hacks for your small business, then it’s your lucky day.

Daily Goal Setting

I find that all my best ideas hit me square in the noggin while I’m driving, showering, or half-sleeping. Okay, rarely with that last one, but when this happens, and I don’t have a pen handy, I’m glad I’m bff’s with Siri. Whether it’s your phone or good old fashioned pen and paper, write down your daily goals for the day. List your priorities in order from greatest to least, and you’ll have ammunition to start the day.

Photo at morgueFile
Photo at morgueFile

What’s App?

How great is it that there is an app for everything these days? Great for you and your time-saving needs, not so great for that self-acclaimed entrepreneur in your Business course five years ago (chances are his/her app idea is already in the works by a ten-year-old genius). Here’s a list to glance over that may help get you out of the office by 6 pm on Friday night:
Asana: scheduling app that helps you delegate tasks to team members
Shyp: shipping app that allows you to snap a picture of what you need to ship and someone will come by and take care of it for you
Brewster: an app that sorts all of your contacts and updates current contact information
Zirtual: a little personal assistant app. Siri can only do so much…
Pocket: an app that lets you save an article or other content to read later.


Let me guess. The last time you asked for help was 20 years ago when you were too young to read the answers on the bottom of the cereal box. Understandably so, most small business owners are independent to the point where help seems unnecessary, but don’t let it become a fault. If you really want to save time, don’t let your ego get in the way of asking for help from people who can cut out some of the fluff for you.

Outsource What’s Necessary

While delegating is step one to saving time, outsourcing is numero dos. What, you’re telling me that you live in the age of the tech boom, and you don’t know how to write a website?! You’re a menace to society! No, you’re not, but you are if you try to learn code and build one overnight. Outsource things like this to save training, interview, and hiring time. Just make sure you know how to communicate with your outsource-ee…nothing’s worse than a language barrier, no matter how inexpensive their services are.

Schedules Are Your Friend

Oh great, you’ve got three meetings today and extra time for diddly squat. Stick to your schedule and if a meeting is running long, end it! Lord knows your group could go on and on about how you DON’T need a dress code, but please do not let meetings run your life. Be effective, stick to the addendum, and more importantly stick to your schedule. You’ll save a lot of time in doing so.

Utilize The Online Hangout

You’re out on business and have got some down time before you meet that potential client. Or better yet, you’re working from home today and want to be as effective as possible. Hop on to your Gmail and get a Google Hangout going. This beautiful invention allows you to meet with the entire marketing team, instead of just one person over the phone.

Become A Speed Reader

Wouldn’t it be great if you could speed-read through a case study and use the main points to better your business? To become a good speed reader, all you’ve got to do is practice. The amount of time you’ll save reading through documents will be a game-changer.

After reading this, I wouldn’t be surprised if your motivation meter just detonated the room. In all seriousness, use these tips to give yourself and business little more time to focus on other important aspects. Now go and continue to change the world, Superhuman!

Madison AkiMadison is a Community Relations Specialist at Cougar Mountain Software, an accounting software company helping out small businesses. She majored in Business at BYU-Idaho and enjoys running, sewing, marketing, and fashion illustration.