Customer Journey Mapping | Step 2 – The Search

In the first post in this series, we explored Step 1 one of customer journey mapping - Problem/Need (or The Inkling). As a reminder, there are five distinct steps that your prospects will go through to become your customers. Here they are again:

  1. Problem/Need
  2. Discovery
  3. Evaluation
  4. Decision
  5. Review

So let’s look at what happens when they move to Step 2.


Step 2. Discovery or The Search

In Step 1, they were trying to understand the problem or need they had. In Step 2, they start searching for ways to solve that problem or take advantage of the opportunity.

In Step 1, we presented the idea of someone who was tired of each month lasting longer than their money. How does this person start to address that problem? That is what informs Step 2. They start looking at all the options. And it may not just be competing products or services. For example, they may look at a checking account that comes with a free personal financial management app. But they also may look at stand-alone budgeting software. Or a system like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. The point is, it may not be an apples-to-apples comparison of products or services. They are looking for all the different ways they could address the situation.

You’ve probably seen a comparison matrix that a company uses to illustrate their product’s superiority over a competitor. Is this the right time for that communication? No. At Step 2, they’re not there yet. They are looking at disparate categories of solutions (ex: a seminar vs. a checking account). So you need to understand that at this stage and help direct them to your category. Maybe it is a useful guide that shows them how offerings in your category are the most efficient and effective way to address this situation. You notice I said “offerings in your category” instead of “your offering”. It’s not time to hard sell your offering. You need to sponsor great content at this point that moves them along. That way, when they are closer to making a buying decision, you will be remembered as a valued solution. But more importantly, you will have preference because they will recognize that you generously helped them move through their buying journey. That is something that no amount of “selling” can help you accomplish.

Just as in Step 1. of customer journey mapping, you’ll want to define the questions they have at this stage, as well as the places they go to find answers to those questions. As you document this information, you can start to see the shift that your prospects experience as they move from one step to another. And it helps you see when, where, and how you can effectively connect with them.

Next up is Step 3. Evaluation or The Pros & Cons.