How to understand the path your customer takes to become a client and creating a brand and marketing strategy around it

Want to know a secret?

Your client’s path and your path are the same.

I don’t mean that they’re the EXACT SAME, step by step, right, lefts, right, centers. No.
But both paths do contain the swoon spots and the pitfalls that can make or break you.

When I started designing for clients, I quickly realized how many similarities we had in our faces. We both were doing things we “thought we should” do, things we genuinely wanted to do, and.. things we didn’t want to do but still had to be done.

Now it’s been 12 years and the similarities are so plentiful I decided to draw a map about it. The more aware (and comfortable) you are about these different parts of the whole journey thing, the better of a coach/consultant/designer/insert label here you will be- this is a fact. The more comfortable your client is during working with you, and trusting that your guidance and process will lead them from where they are to where they want to be, the happier they’ll be- and the happier you will be. This is, my friends, another fact!

So let’s venture deep into the wonktacular world that is The Client’s Journey, shall we?

The Double Knot of Not Knowing

That weird ambiguously murky but DEFINITELY REAL urge sensation that’s not pee, but also not sure what else it is? That pit of the stomach feeling that you’re not DOING THE THING- but you also.. don’t know what THAT THING IS?

Yep. That’s the Double Knot of Not Knowing. Whether you’re on the client side OR the entrepreneurial side, the mom-to-be side, or the Am I Going To Be Single again side. This is a universal experience of Precipice of Change.

What do you do? Put one foot in front of the other. Every day. Small steps adding to big steps, yadda yadda- you know the drill.

If this is where you are right now:
Take every day as you can— and slather on an arsenal of self care.
Don’t have that arsenal yet? Now you know what THAT THING will at least start with.
(Fun tidbit of factual greatness: the sooner you institute self care into your everyday life, the better that life will be)

The Bog of Should Land

You can always get a sense that you’re entering the dark and murky waters of Should Land Territory by the stressed or lumbering way you talk and move. It speaks to the expectations we have for ourselves, and it is universal and ubiquitous.

I SHOULD cook more. I SHOULD work out more. I SHOULD have a list of 5,000 by now. I SHOULD be posting on Instagram more. I SHOULD have included that blog post in my last email. I SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN A BLOGPOST. WOO that bog fills fast, folks.

If this is where you are right now:
Take a deep breath. Remember why you started. Remember what brings you joy and why you do it. There are ways to success beyond the heaviness of Should Land. There are ways to proceed that do not have the unyielding burden of expectation. Pull out that Mufasa impersonation and REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.

The Traffic Jam of Trends

As constant as death and taxes – trends are the fun poppy beat that carries the song forward. Whether you’re creating them, in the thick of the people chase after them, or watching them float on by, they are unavoidable. Depending on your career, your client’s career, and how you feel about them trends can be the bread and butter necessity or the bane of your existence. What a wonderful full and varied world we live in!

Same with trends. Some are harmless, some are toxic. As a designer, I find it helpful to be mindful of trends, but some designers cast their entire career on predicting and curating them. As such the guidance for such a fully unpredictable space, it can be trusted that it WILL be fully unpredictable!

If this is where you are right now:
Know how you feel and handle trends in your own work and the work of your clients. This is the most responsible thing to do! Know yourself, be cool with that, and rock it accordingly

The Parade of What Everyone Else Is Doing

Like that chicken and the egg quandary- which came first? The Traffic Jam of Trends OR The Parade of What Everyone Else Is Doing? The Parade is usually filled with the latest and greatest of Trends, and the Trend Traffic is usually caused by oogling that very same Parade! The cycle sustains itself, perpetually.

Are you caught in a feed of Everyone Else? Are you comparing what you see out there and what you cultivate in HERE (Clearly, I am pointing to myself — indicating that *you* should be pointing to YOURSELF. I’m sassy, I know.)

If this is where you are right now:
Just like absorbing content has its place and creating content has its place, standing on the sidelines of The Parade will entertain you but could drain you if you stay too long. So take a peek, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the sights- but remember what really matters: what you’re doing and what interests you (beyond the sights and visions of grandeur created by others).

And there’s more. Waaaay more. There’s the Circus of Distraction, and a little ways past the Mountain of Self Limiting Beliefs lies the Sweet Bliss of Cloud Nine, The Winds of Change, and The Tangly Octopus of Priorities within the Vast Sea of Opportunities.

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And my job? My job is to guide clients (and the leaders that lead them) through to the shortcuts of The Overpass of Originality and The Less Beaten Path of Success. Want to know how I do that? Schedule a call with me by clicking here, find my work here, and let’s make your path as magical as it’s meant to be!

About the Author

Jenny Ambrose

Jenny Ambrose is an award winning designer running an award winning design science & strategy studio, Purée Fantastico.

Having worked with large Fortune 500 brands like Old Navy, HSN, POPSUGAR, ELLE, American Greetings, Alaskan Airlines, 3M, Walgreens, Reuters, and more across the last 12 years, Jenny understands the vast needs across the widest number of moving parts. Part scientist, part artist, all powerhouse, Jenny knows how to sync with her client’s deepest voice and concerns and communicate the solutions as if they’d always been present (because they are!).

Whether it’s creative & art direction, illustration, copywriting, strategic problem solving or thorough research and analysis, it can be trusted that Jenny can handle it with grace, tireless expertise, and unstoppable enthusiasm.

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