Oct 13, 2023

Customer journey vs. customer awareness

Explore the distinctions between the buyer's journey and awareness stages in marketing, and learn when to utilize each approach for effective customer engagement. Discover how these frameworks can enhance your marketing strategies and communication campaigns.

In An example journey of audience awareness in marketing we've explored the stages of awareness, looked at how they shape the customer's thoughts, and we've walked through Sarah's journey. However, our exploration doesn't stop here.

There's another important concept we need to understand: the customers' journey. You might be thinking, "Isn't that the same as the stages of awareness?" It's a reasonable assumption, but these are actually two different approaches to understanding customers. Let's delve a bit deeper to discern the differences between them.

Customer journey vs. customer awareness

The three vs. the five

The buyer's journey is like a grand overview of the buying process. Think of it as looking out of an airplane window, seeing the land, water, and cities beneath you. You get the gist, but the details? Not so much. It categorizes the process into three broad phases:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Conversion

On the other hand, the awareness stages (thanks, Eugene Schwartz!) are like zooming in with a magnifying glass. Suddenly, you're observing the ants, the blades of grass, and the tiny pebbles. It's more detailed, giving us five distinct stages that mirror the customer's evolving mindset.

Be it the buyer's journey or awareness stages, ultimately, both concepts help businesses engage with their customers more effectively.

But the discerning question remains - When to apply which?

Broad overview vs. detailed insight

The buyer's journey is an ideal frame of reference when strategizing on a broader level. It helps with campaign planning, resource allocation, and setting the tone of communication in broad strokes. For instance, if you are planning a new product launch, the buyer's journey aids you in structuring your marketing campaign around the three major phases. It helps you decide what type of content to create and when to disseminate it to maximize its impact.

Contrastingly, the awareness stages are your go-to when you want to delve deeper into the customer mindset.

This becomes crucial when drafting communication materials and designing ad campaigns. For example, crafting an email with context to the recipient's stage of awareness can significantly increase email engagement, fostering swift movement from awareness to consideration to purchase.