customer touch points

Customer Touchpoints: Influencing the Buyer’s Journey

Jonas Sickler, Digital Marketing Analyst

Key Points

  • Customer touchpoints include all of the interactions a customer has with a business or brand throughout each stage of the customer journey, from awareness to point of sale.
  • Every touchpoint influences how customers feel about your brand — their trust level, how authentic their brand connection is, and their willingness to believe your promises.
  • The customer touchpoint network reaches across the entire buyer’s journey, placing a relevant touchpoint wherever customers engage, providing value, and linking back to that network.

The buyer’s journey is a complex and nonlinear road trip across hundreds of points leading up to a purchase decision. Each individual customer enters that journey with different needs, expectations, problems, and other prerequisites that brands must meet in order to build an authentic connection


Brands can utilize the customer touchpoint philosophy to build a network of assets, tailored to deliver on customer needs and create connections. This concept helps brands execute an omnichannel marketing strategy, creating different touchpoints (or assets) to reach all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Touchpoints segment out each step of the customer journey map, are built in alignment with consumer needs insights, and can be turned into an overarching touchpoint asset map to make better, deeper customer connections.

Customer touchpoint definition


Customer Touchpoint

Customer touchpoints are all the points of contact, online and offline, where brands engage with customers. Touchpoints include any and all communication points across the entire buyer’s journey.

Common customer touchpoints include engagements with customer service teams, blog post reads and brand website visits, in-store visits, post-sale surveys, promotional emails, social media, and many other landmarks along the journey.

Brands can use customer touchpoints to optimize customer experience, build trust, and more.

H2: Why are touchpoints important?

Ultimately, customers don’t think in terms of touchpoints. They think in terms of experiences and the feelings those experiences create. They search for solutions to problems and the products and services that align with their values.

Every touchpoint is a major opportunity to influence how your target audience feels about your brand, whether positive or negative. And the sum total of brand experiences through touchpoints can result in a single transaction or a lifelong loyal customer.

Touchpoints impact the outcome of all customer interactions including:

  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer satisfaction, customer feedback, and customer reviews
  • Reaching potential customers
  • Re-engaging current customers
  • Generating word of mouth
  • Success or failure of different marketing campaigns
  • Etc.

Touchpoints vs. traditional funnel marketing

TouchpointsTraditional funnel
Respects nonlinearity of the customer journeySet path from awareness to transaction
Scalable, adaptable, hyper-targetedRigid and formulaic
Can reach consumers wherever they enter the journeyForces ‘staged’ understanding of buyer’s journey
Consumer-centric and connection-focusedChannel-centric
Opportunities to leverage consumer insights like search intent dataRisks of audience misalignment
Ability to leverage multi-touch attribution measurement models

Examples of customer touchpoints

Traditionally, touchpoints are broken up into the awareness stage, decision stage, and retention stage. We’re looking at touchpoints from a different perspective: degree of control. 

Below we’ll lay out some of the key touchpoints in this strategy, starting with highest brand control and ending with low control examples. Brands should use all of these, but prioritize investment in the touchpoints they control. Doing so allows brands to establish a controlled narrative and deliver value directly to the audience. It also influences sentiment across less controllable touchpoints.

You can learn more about asset controllability in our piece on the MACH-6 framework.

Owned touchpoints

Owned touchpoints, those a brand can fully control, are the key to any touchpoint strategy. Owned touchpoints offer narrative control and are able to influence experiences across lower control touchpoints. 

Being present at these touchpoints is one powerful step towards ensuring better customer experience and establishing a close connection with customers.

Company website

The company website is an impactful nexus with consumers, simply because brands can fully customize the content and technical elements, and it offers brand authority. 

The company website can act as the first point of contact with consumers, and it’s one of the few ways brands can talk directly to their audience, without any unnecessary middlemen.

Pillar content and landing pages

Pillar content refers to pages on a corporate website that contain substantial information, and can be broken down into smaller, more specific content pieces. Because it’s on the corporate site, pillars offer total control. Customers seeking solutions in a brand’s industry come to these pages, digging deeper into subtopics, and other atomized content. Trust is built along the way.

Blog posts

Blog posts not only offer total control, they allow brands to create hyper-targeted content, answer very specific questions, create a blog-based journey of increasing trust, and more. They are scalable and they last a long time, capable of driving interest over the years. Blog posts remain a highly effective touchpoint, especially when you use search intent data to inform their topics and focus. 

Tools and downloadables

Brands can offer free tools and downloadables as a value add at different parts of the buyer’s journey. Financial sites often use things like Roth IRA calculators, mortgage calculators, and more. If these tools provide easily accessible value that aligns with audience goals, they foster tremendous trust and encourage future engagement.

Downloadables create opportunities for brands to capture emails and other user information, creating an exchange where the brand provides unique value and insight. Terakeet, for example, offers all kinds of free industry reports, research, one pagers, and other materials, designed to make authentic connections.

Subscription renewals

Subscription services offer an added touchpoint, contacting customers about upcoming renewals. Renewal emails tend to have higher open rates and create an opportunity for brands to pass along free value to their customers. Brands can point users to helpful content related to the subscription.

For example, subscription supplement services can notify customers of renewals but point them to resources on specific vitamins and wellness guides during that outreach moment.

Corporate communications

Corporate comms includes press releases, official announcements and brand-published news, financial reports and disclosures, and any other direct communications from a brand. 

Corporate communications have varying audiences, but ultimately, they’re yet another customer touchpoint, whether the audience is investors or new customers. They create the potential for value alignment, provide a space for controlled narratives, and can foster further trust.

Managed touchpoints

Managed touchpoints are less controllable brand assets that aren’t directly brand-owned. They offer extended reach with declining control because that reach is via third parties. For instance, brand social media profiles may be used by the brand, but the platform actually owns it — and the followers. 

Managed touchpoints are still extremely vital as they reach just about everywhere in the customer journey.


We define allies as all of the partner organizations that have some relationship with the brand. Often allies are philanthropic websites, but they can be industry partners, orgs the brand sponsors, and other entities with a digital presence.

Ally sites present an opportunity for brands to share their carefully crafted narratives across the web, reaching different audiences, and building more connections. Content on partner sites also lends credibility to the brand. In the case of philanthropy, it demonstrates brand values to consumers. 


Bylines, the non-promotional articles brand representatives write for publication on third-party sites and platforms, are a highly effective touchpoint. These articles establish the author (and brand, by extension) as an industry thought leader, demonstrating brand expertise. They reach new audiences, form connections when done regularly, and can help in acquisition efforts.

Social media

As part of social media marketing, brand social media profiles and the individual posts brands create are important touchpoints, enabling direct, brand-to-consumer engagement. Again, these are not technically owned by the brand, but they generate substantial reach and help support the overarching brand narrative.

Emails and newsletters

This includes brand email lists, specific brand newsletters, and any other consumer or customer outreach via email. Creating newsletters that align with audience needs and interests build further trust, boost brand equity, and fill another niche in the journey.

Digital ads

All online advertising including social media ads and boosted posts land in this category. We prioritize organic engagement methods through the touchpoint network, but that doesnt mean ads aren’t a piece of the consumer connection puzzle. Digital advertising can be used to point consumers towards high-value touchpoints like blog posts, product pages on the brand website, and newsletters, instead of just interrupting consumers.

Leveraged touchpoints

Leveraged touchpoints are wholly uncontrolled contact points, like third-party and user-generated content that offers even more reach. While brands aren’t directly reaching customers at leveraged touchpoints, the narratives they contain influence sentiment — both positive and negative.

Brands can influence the leveraged space by building optimized touchpoints across the managed and owned spaces. 

Influencers and affiliates

Brands can employ influencers and paid relationships with affiliate sites as a less controlled, but often useful tactic to connect with consumers. Brands are essentially paying for a piece of the trust the influencer fostered while building a following. 

As part of a touchpoint strategy, influencers and affiliates should only play a small role. There’s an inherent risk of overreliance on uncontrollable actors like influencers: The risk of reputational harm.


When we say reviews we’re talking about those that your customers write about you and the platforms that enable this type of consumer empowerment. Great brands that deliver value and ace controllable customer engagements garner better overall reviews. As does excellent customer service, another controllable customer contact point. 

Reviews then influence how consumers feel about the brand. It’s important to deliver what people actually want when they reach out to get the positive review loop spinning. It’s one of the only ways to influence reviews.

Media coverage

Brands and company leadership are often the focus of media coverage. Unfortunately, much of this is negative, and whether or not it’s accurate or spurious, major brand value can be erased overnight. Damaging stories scare consumers away so, much like reviews, brands should use their controllable touchpoints (digital and in-person) to maximize provided value. 

Brands that develop loyalty with touchpoints stand to retain more people during negative news cycles. Building owned touchpoints is also a proactive defense as well, and can be used to counteract negative media coverage.

User generated content

User generated content (UGC) — brand-related content created by customers and brand advocates — again, is wholly uncontrollable. But here’s the thing. User generated content is created by customers in response to managed and owned touchpoints. 

If a brand consistently provides value, supports people on the customer journey, helps them solve problems, and delivers a quality offering, UGC tends to reflect that. People post TikToks gushing about their favorite brands and experiences with them. Much like reviews, controllable touchpoint development fuels the sentiment here.

Customer support touchpoints

Here are some other customer touchpoints and connection moments specific to customer support needs:

Customer onboarding

With certain services that may require more sophisticated knowledge to use and understand, providing a solid and consistent customer onboarding experience is key. Post-purchase product tours, guided content, video content, and other things that ease the new user experience do well here. 

An excellent onboarding process provides value and can be a unique differentiator from the competition. This can also streamline future customer support needs, heading off any confusion that newer users may have. This is a very direct way to help customers.

Product feedback surveys

When brands reach out to customers with feedback surveys, they’re creating yet another touchpoint opportunity. Product surveys can strengthen connections because they signal that the brand cares and will take the feedback to heart, reaching out with solutions or even making product improvements. 

Resource hubs

Given the time sensitivity of many customer support needs and the desire not to wait on hold, customers can often be better served by creating a hub of self-service resources. Customers can browse the hub content, search for specific help, and find a solution. It’s vital that any resource hub be accessible, easy to navigate, and contain specific content that targets the most common product pain points your customers face.

The customer touchpoint network

Taken individually, customer touchpoints each play a specific role at a specific point when considering or creating a customer journey map.

When we look at the macro picture — the overall touchpoint network, comprising owned, managed, and leveraged — we begin to see how consumers engage across touchpoints, jump to others, and eventually make their way to the purchase decision. 

Touchpoints offer the unique value of building consumer relationships empowered by trust, before asking for a transaction or purchase. 

Touchpoints in the owned, managed or leveraged context we’re talking about owned asset optimization. When touchpoints are optimized and integrated as part of an owned asset optimization strategy, brands are able to maximize the value of each customer touchpoint.

If making authentic connections across the buyer’s journey, maximizing the transaction potential down the line, we recommend learning what owned asset optimization can offer.

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