From Brand Awareness to Conversion: Mapping the Customer Journey
The customer journey: a code all brand marketers must crack. Unlocking our customers’ path to purchase not only allows us to substantially enhance their experiences, but it also brings us closer to understanding exactly when and where they’re interacting with us (and converting). This, of course, is key to allocating our budgets to the channels that perform, and reaching for new opportunities in those that aren’t. Consumers today travel a far more complex road than the traditional marketing funnels we have historically relied on, largely due to the emergence of technologies that influence drastic changes in behavior and expectations. And so, our ‘mapping’ processes must continue to adapt.
In the first part of our three-part series, we discussed methods to connect data in house, at the customer level. To unify the view of customer data involves abandoning the siloed approach of channels operating independently of one another – our goal is to align our insight of the customer throughout all parts of his or her journey, in all channels and on all devices. Taking that first critical step with first party data is what sets us up for success in this next phase: mapping out the customer experience.
So what does this map look like?
Our desire to improve performance generally drives us to consider the monetary interactions with our customers first. These sources of data might surround promotions, campaigns or channels of transaction – anything that allows us to see where and how our customers ultimately convert. How did the messaging in a particular campaign influence one audience to purchase a product versus another that did not? Why is Customer A more inclined to purchase on her mobile device while Customer B shows a preference to researching on desktop and shopping in store? These are the kinds of questions that can be answered through connecting the transactional data points across the customer’s path, which in turn becomes a key part of our ROI arithmetic.
While mapping these points is of critical business value, they are not the only interactions we should be considering. Marketers must have just as sharp (arguably even sharper) a view on the non-monetary communications, shifting the focus to engagement value. Arguably a more complex source of data, engagement metrics are actually the key to understanding why certain channels or campaigns perform better than others. What email does someone open and engage with? What kind of conversations is a customer having with brands on a social media site? What kind of in store experience is a customer having, versus the kind of interactions had on a brand’s ecommerce website? What we can begin to detect are certain nuanced behavioral patterns that allow us to better identify and define the strategies specifically tailored to each individual customer segment. It helps us build more relevant relationships, while staying closely in tune to the twists and turns of a customer’s purchase journey.
Now that we have a stronger hold on both monetary and engagement points, the customer journey is inevitably looking less like a smooth speedway and perhaps more like an off-road jeep tour – fully equipped with bumps, holes and detours. But the good news is now, we know where the “distractions” exist, and we’re in a far better place to take the opportunity to improve the experience before it causes more pervasive problems for the business.
In looking at the customer journey, what do you notice? Are customers receiving a cohesive brand experience across campaigns? Are you starting to see certain segments or groups come to life, based on device and channel preferences? Do any customers abruptly alter their path to purchase, and are you prepared to recapture their attention? These are all great questions, most of which we are now in a much better place to answer. Because we’ve unified our view, optimizing campaigns for specific audiences is a task much more attainable. In the last part of this three-part series, we will be exploring how to leverage third party sources to enhance your in house customer level data, in order to build out the proper customized and segmented strategies. Additionally, we’ll take a look at how effective analytics tools can create a centralized “datamart” environment – where first and third party data align for a 360 degree view of your best customers. Stay tuned!