Engagement Journey Research Technique

By Ty Hagler and Kelly Harrigan | 5 Minute Read

What Is It?

Think you know your target customer? If you’ve narrowed it down to one type of person with one set of habits, you are likely missing out on a world of potential expansion. Any product on the market likely has multiple customer archetypes who want the item for a variety of needs or and perhaps for dissimilar reasons. Some customers have very different timing on when they want to buy a product. How do you discover your variety of dedicated buyers so that you can better design and market to their needs, thus maximizing profits? Trig has you covered with a brand new research technique. Mapping the customer engagement journey can encompass both qualitative and quantitative research methods

When Do You Use It?

Understanding the engagement journey is particularly helpful in strategy formulation for product innovation and marketing segmentation. Accurate personas of your customer base can and should take time to create, but the investment pays off with the knowledge of how best to customize your products and communications to meet diverse customer needs. We can identify low-cost options to introduce variability in the customer experience using software, assembly, or color changes, which makes this approach quite helpful. The strategy is commonly used by the large corporate innovation teams, but is available to savvy startups as well.

What Can It Look Like?

Engagement journey research is visually fascinating in graphic form due to the quantitative/qualitative research combination. Putting numbers to more abstract concepts like feelings and interest bridges a gap in understanding between company and customer or between one stakeholder and another. Below are display models designed to pinpoint engagement fluctuation levels from a variety of research segments.

The Experience Journey

Individual engagement is well exhibited in bar charts, letting the viewer gain a basic and straight forward understanding without having to get too far into the nitty gritty details that can cloud comprehension. Each step of the engagement is succinctly noted on a progress line. Each step can be tailored to the needs of an individual project and the scope of information gathering.

 Engagement Journey Persona Graphs

Above you can see side-by-side representations of engagement level bar charts. Different identified personas experience the highs and lows of your product journey very differently. Certain similarities can be identified and utilized for program-level decisions, while persona-specific nuances can drive low cost customization to the product.

Below is a zoomed in view of what different example phases can be identified and focused on. Not all design and creation processes will unfold in exactly this same way, but it helps to get an idea of what a process can look like in segmented steps and the cohesive mentality that binds certain steps.

 Engagement Journey Chart

Persona Verification and Market Sizing

“How can I reliably map customers to personas at scale?” you may ask. Intense data collection from a variety of relevant market segments gives us a view into the whole world of needs and values that accompany anyone who may be interested in your product. It’s easy to average all the findings into one single ideal customer to go after aggressively, but averages derived from so much information can get a lot of things wrong or get things right without useful context.

We design survey instruments with nuanced questions derived from the qualitative research to find clusters of people with similar engagement journeys and identify multiple unique personas instead of one blanket average. Breaking the information down into data-driven personas that statistically predict a respondents type is helpful in identifying unmet needs that competitors may be missing due to only performing surface-level analysis. From those identified common personas we can use incidence rates to derive their respective market share. This can be a powerful check on validating or refuting the qualitative findings, where small sample sizes and individual respondent salience can skew the findings.

Cluster Analysis to Predict Persona Attributes

 Once we find these clusters of commonalities, the next step is to paint a more complete picture of what these smaller averaged out persona archetypes look like. Maybe all your customers are in their 20s, but the generic idea of a 20-something year old may not want the same things as a 25 year old parent, a 21 year old single student, a 28 year old getting promoted at her dream job but wondering if she’s balancing work and home life properly.

Want Rich Data Visualization? We Have You Covered.

The beauty of violin plots is the amount of information that can be displayed and how elegantly. This display type is ideal if you want to compare engagement levels, distribution width including the representation of outliers, multiple peaks and their amplitude, median, and interquartile ranges. Violin plots are an upgrade from box plots many people are likely more accustomed to looking at.

Ready to learn about the engagement journeys of fellow stakeholders and targeted future clientele? Trig is ready to put our expertise to work. Let us clear the path to your future successes by scheduling a consultation today.