What are Customer Touch Points? (Defining the Buyer Journey)

As a marketing executive at a national retailer, it’s vital to have a 30,000 foot view of your business. However, when you oversee brand building, digital transformation, and ecommerce performance, you can lose sight of something much smaller, but nearly as important: customer touch points.

Think about it, how does someone go from not knowing anything about your company to ultimately buying from you? They take a journey that begins with a problem or opportunity and ends when you provide the solution.

Along the journey are customer experience touch points that have the power to change the outcome just like a “choose your adventure” story. These key moments ultimately determine whether a person buys from you or a competitor.

Read on to learn what customer touch points are, why they matter, and how you can optimize yours.

What are customer touch points?

Customer Touch Points


Customer touch points involve all of the online and offline interactions a customer has with a brand throughout the entire customer journey. These may include digital and traditional marketing, physical store interactions, phone conversations with sales reps or support teams, third-party reviews, and so on.

They start with touch points related to initial awareness of your brand. Flowing from that, there are touch points in the decision stage as well as retention stage.

Touch points significantly influence customers’ perceptions of both the brand and their experience with the brand. Think of each touch point as an opportunity to improve the customer journey.

Build Effective Customer Journey MapsSee how Terakeet builds more effective intent-driven customer journey maps informed by search data.Learn More

Why are customer touch points important?

Ultimately, customers don’t think in terms of touch points. They think in terms of experiences and the feelings those experiences create.

Every touch point influences how your target audience feels about your brand, whether positive or negative. And the sum total of brand experiences can result in a single transaction or a lifelong customer.

Customer journey mapping helps you identify any customer interactions that create friction so you can craft a superior experience.

Customer touch point examples

Now let’s look at some examples of customer touch points at each stage of the customer lifecycle

customer touch points along the customer journey

Awareness stage customer touch points

During the awareness stage, a prospect first realizes they have a problem or an opportunity. However, they don’t fully understand the issue and may not be able to name it or identify the cause.

Search engines

Google is often the first place people turn when they become aware of a new problem or opportunity. At this point, prospects tend to perform broad, general searches to understand their situation.

For example, imagine a 27 year old man who’s thinking about getting married. In addition to planning a wedding with his fiance, he’s now in the market for life insurance.

He’ll probably search broadly at first with terms like “life insurance” (246,000 monthly Google searches). Then, he may search “types of life insurance” (9,900), or maybe “term vs whole life insurance” (12,100). Further down the funnel he may Google “best life insurance companies” (18,100). Finally, near the bottom of the conversion funnel, he might search “Allstate insurance reviews” (1600).

You get the point. People search for lots of answers, in many different ways. Each time they search and find your content in Google, it’s a touch point.


Referrals are extremely powerful and often play an important role in the pre-purchase, awareness stage of the customer journey. Word-of-mouth (WOM) drives roughly $6 trillion in annual global spending.

Imagine a conversation about student loan refinancing between two close friends. If one friend had a good experience with your brand at the various touch points, they’ll probably recommend you. From there, potential customer would likely research your company and compare interest rates. The **** are high that they’ll ultimately purchase from you since referrals convert at a much higher rate than non-referrals.

Social media

Social media can be used at every stage of the funnel, but it’s particularly effective in the customer acquisition stage. It allows you to cost-effectively reach a large percentage of your target audience. In addition, it enables authentic interactions with prospects which build trust.


YouTube is the largest vertical search engine in the world and is sometimes one of the first customer touch points. Even if a person doesn’t search for something directly on YouTube, Google often shows videos directly in the search results.

If you know what your prospects want and which keywords they search, you can optimize videos to reach them. Video is effective for the awareness stage of the customer journey because it elicits greater engagement from the audience. Plus, visual information is easier for many individuals to remember.


Events such as trade shows or conferences are an excellent mechanism to meet your target audience face to face. Whether hosting, sponsoring, or speaking, you increase brand awareness and tee up future partnerships down the line.

Or, if you want to use a guerilla marketing tactic, borrow a page from Salesforce. The brand staged a mock protest at a Siebel conference (the 800-pound gorilla of the CRM software industry back in the day). Salesforce rented dozens of taxis to provide free rides for conference attendees. The trick was that the taxis were filled with Salesforce marketing brochures and covered in the “NO SOFTWARE” logo. This reinforced that Salesforce is web-based, not software-based like Siebel, a novelty at the time.

Although less effective than they were in the Mad Men days of advertising, print ads still generate brand awareness. Their most attractive attribute is low cost brand exposure compared to other marketing channels.

The global print market is projected to be $32.05 billion in size in 2021. While impressive, this would be a decline from 2020 when the market was $32.49 billion. Even though print advertising investments are trending lower, it’s still an important way to reach consumers at the awareness stage in certain markets.

Your website

Your website is, perhaps, the most important touch point in the awareness stage of the customer journey. It should be the epicenter of your marketing efforts. Your website should convince prospects to spend time with your brand, consume your content, and purchase from you.

If your site is easy-to-navigate, has compelling messaging, and has valuable content that addresses your customers’ pain points, you’ll create a strong first impression.

Decision stage customer touch points

The decision stage is when prospects understand their problem and begin to research solutions. They dig deeper into your brand and compare you against competitors on things like pricing, reviews and ROI. This phase includes every touch point from the start of research until they actually make a purchase.

It’s critical to identify customer touch points in this phase because they occur near the bottom of the funnel.

Communicating with company representatives

At some point, prospects may reach out to a salesperson to learn more about your product or service. This is an opportunity to make a strong impression on the prospect. So, fight the urge to provide boiler plate answers.

Instead take the time to truly listen and engage with them. Walk in your customers’ shoes, and make a strong connection between their pain points or needs and your solutions. More importantly, ask your sales team to pass along any feedback they receive.


If you sell online, potential customers will certainly visit your ecommerce site before they make a purchase. Make it easy for prospects to find exactly what they need and to compare multiple products. If your site provides an intuitive, pleasant digital customer experience, they will be more likely to buy from you.

If you’re looking to increase brand touch points for your ecommerce site, read our article about the best ecommerce marketing strategies.

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