More than a process where we just fill in templates, this is a way of thinking. It relies an our stakeholders buying into the notion that their goals for the business are most likely to be met by adopting a user-centric mindset.
Ambition and Personas
We subdivide our most valuable audience segments into individual personas based on real-world insights into their behaviour, their information seeking habits, their challenges and their goals. This can be done by desk research but it won’t give us the same level of integrity as we’d get by talking to our audience directly.
From our personas, we should have a list of the places that our users go when they’re seeking information. Our journey plan breaks this down into different phases. These aren’t fixed and depend on the project. In simple terms, we might just break the journey down using the tried and tested Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. The point is that we should be able to predict what the user is thinking at each stage – whether positive or negative – and start to document the channels and specific places where we can intercept them. Moving on from there, we can plan the types of content that will remove negative emotions, build on positive emotions, and move the user from one phase to the next. The idea of the game is to get them from just being aware of your product through to taking an action and buying it.
Often, we’ll need to change these phases but the overall model can be applied anywhere.
Now we know where our users go and what content they need, we can start to define how we actually engage them. This means we have to get them to participate in something that will provide them with some sort of value exchange. In simple terms, that might be liking a Facebook post, or, better still, commenting on it. It might be more complicated if we want them to start and finish a more complex journey like getting a quote for motor insurance. Ultimately, the more we get the user to participate, the more likely it is that they’ll act. Unless we consider engagement as part of our process, it’s unlikely that we’ll get users contributing to our business goals.
This is where we take all our insights and bring it to life with specific plans to show the activities and tactics we’re going to use, where we’re going to use them, and at what times. But always with the user at the centre of what we’re doing.