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Embracing the Customer-owned Journey

Brian Newberry – VP, Brand Leadership

There has been a seismic shift in channel planning for the home products category. Channel planning once consisted of mapping media and messages to specific touchpoints on a linear buying journey. The marketer’s role was to guide the customer through each stage and channel.

However, changes in consumer behavior, new technologies and an upheaval in distribution and retail channels have created a scenario in which channel planning has to be reimagined. Customers, empowered by digital and mobile tools, have access to vast amounts of product and pricing information and multiple options for making purchases. The result: a much more challenging mandate as the customer journey becomes increasingly fragmented.

Customers own the journey

The customer journey isn’t what it used to be: a linear progression from awareness to interest, desire, and action. Today, the buying journey is nonlinear. The steps between awareness and action are many and varied, and they often loop back on each other, from a Facebook ad to a product brochure to a Pinterest board to an in-store display to a YouTube tutorial to a mobile app and so on.

The internet and social media platforms have transformed advertising and traditional brand-to-consumer contact, and the rapid spread of mobile shopping means every stage of the customer’s journey is now disrupted. Marketers today need to capture the attention of consumers as they are constantly inundated with content, ads and distractions. But it’s no longer marketers who lay out the linear purchase path to guide consumers. Marketers don’t own the customer journey … the customer owns the journey.

Marketers own the experience

While the customer may own the journey in this new environment, marketers own the experience. The marketer's role is to create relevant and useful experiences for each step of this nonlinear journey. Channel planning should create experiences that provide a frictionless path to purchase.

Hart has helped clients like Therma-Tru and Caterpillar reimagine their channel planning. By pairing traditional marketing tools (video, in-store and point-of-sale collateral) with tools like VR experiences, content marketing and marketing automation, Hart can help home products marketers evolve their channel planning and thrive in this new environment.

Contact us to identify the solutions that will enable your business to address this issue head-on:

John Logue
jlogue@hartinc.com
Director, Business Development
419.893.9600