The transition from the sales funnel to the Digital Involvement Cycle reflects digital’s changing the focus from customer “sales” to customer “involvement.” As the user experiences the product or service while moving through the various stages of the Cycle, the product or service grows in value to the user. For the brand, the goal is beyond just the sale; it is to create a sustained relationship or, even better, a lifetime brand advocate or champion.
Below are outlined the seven stages of the Digital Involvement Cycle (Table 1) with a focus on the customer experience (CX). During the movement through the seven stages, the target user changes their role in the process, as the value and involvement grow. The CX is benchmarked by the SERVAS Digital Analysis (see page 116 of Digital Marketing Guidebook). The CX is not linear but progressive, as each experience builds upon a previous experience, deepening the customer’s allegiance to the product.
As the customer moves from Pre Commitment to Post Commitment, the CX changes from enquiry about and engagement with the product or service to action-oriented initiatives to promote the brand. The satisfied customer is beginning to deepen their commitment to the product or service by synergizing multiple digital tools to engage potential users. At this point in the Cycle, the real value of the satisfied customer goes beyond acquiring new users for the brand, but in activating those users already in the satisfied customer’s community and networks.
Table 1: Digital Involvement Cycle – by Customer Experience
Click Image to Enlarge
As a user moves beyond commitment, the brand can consider the economic value of a satisfied loyal customer, brand advocate, and champion:
- It costs 6-7 x more to acquire a new customer than to sell an existing one.
- 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 95% because of
- Reduced sensitivity to price and discounts.
- Less interested in switching to competitors.
- Increase in repeat purchases and upsell of new products.
- Generate referrals, as satisfied customers are 50% more influential than the average customer.
- In 2013, a Facebook fan was valued at $174 to a brand, a 28% increase from 2012, and is expected to increase exponentially in coming years.
With the economic value of the brand advocate and champion established, here are five ways to grow and sustain this powerful user base:
- Track them – Listen, observe, and monitor their behaviors. Understand their values and motivations. Most like to share their brand experiences, break news first, and enjoy promotions and discounts from the brand – i.e. cash in on the perks of being “in the know.”
- Reward them – The top reason people follow brands on social media is to earn rewards and gain access to exclusive content. Invite them to be members of the exclusive inner brand circle and share their CX with others.
- Ignite their passions – Certain users are advocates and champions because they are passionate about your brand and want to share it. Your job is to ignite that passion by creating stories, videos, and fun games that they can share or use to generate their own content.
- Connect with them – Maintain regular contact with advocates and champions, keeping them informed of upcoming events and promotions. Consider them your first line and an extension of your marketing effort; they can play a significant role in the success of your marketing campaign.
- Measure the results – Track and evaluate the results of brand advocate and champion shares and click-throughs. Ticketing service Eventbrite found that, on average, every social media share generated $1.78 in ticket sales; Facebook shares came in at $2.52, email at $2.34, and Twitter shares were $.043.
The Digital Involvement Cycle views the consumer decision process through the lens of the user experience. Cultivating brand advocates and champions from satisfied customers can become a potent force for your organization’s marketing efforts.
- Brainstorm five ways that brand champions can generate user content to share with their network.
- In/on what venues can an organization support the efforts of brand advocates and champions?