The buyer journey versus the customer journey: what is the difference?

More often people talk about the buyer journey, a journey that the buyer takes till he or she eventually buys. Many companies perform research in this field but you don’t hear a lot about creating insight in the process that follows after the buyer journey, which we call the customer journey. These two terms look alike, are connected to each other but are not the same. Read more about the buyer and customer journey in this interview with Ingrid Archer, Managing Partner at SPOTONVISION and find out what the relation is between these two terms.

Where does the buyer journey or customer journey start?

“The buyer journey starts when something happens that triggers the person or the company to think that they need something to help their organisation to move to the next level or to make their work easier. You start looking for possibilities, which can help you and eventually you will choose the product or service that you want. As soon as you buy the product/service, you become a customer and the customer journey starts.

Usually you will be welcomed as a customer and a new set of interactions will start. Perhaps you will become a very loyal customer and even start promoting the product within your network.”

Customer journey

Insight into the customer journey

You now know where the buyer journey ends and where the customer journey starts. But the question that you have as a marketer is how to get the best insight into the customer journey. Ingrid: “Within SPOTONVISION we think it is important to use an outside-in approach for the customer journey. Talk to customers, former customers and potential customers. Try to find out how they see you as a company, how they buy the products but also how they experience you as a company. This is how you can grasp the ‘customer touchpoints’. These qualitative interviews are a good starting point. It is important to validate the results with, for example, ongoing quantitative customer research.”

How to proceed?

“Insight into the customer journey will help you to better understand the questions of your customers. The next step is to find out which activities and which content addresses these questions. By talking to your customers you will notice that a majority of the customer experience is in how they experience the product itself or the support. It goes further than just marketing and communications. You need to work along with your colleagues from other departments to improve the customer experience.”

What is your tip?

“If you are already working on creating insight into the buyer and customer journey, make sure that you use an outside-in approach. Really talk to customers, former customers and potential customers. They can give you valuable information. Use this information to continue to adapt your marketing and communication plans.”

Would you like to know more about customer journeys? Watch the full interview with Ingrid. Of course you can always contact us for questions.

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