Customer journeys aren’t new. With the advent of “customer centricity”, “agile” and a bunch of other corporate buzzwords, customer journeys have been on the minds of marketers for a few years now.
What is new however, is thehyper-acceleration of digitaland data due tochanges in customer behaviour.No longer are data-driven customer journeys a nice to have; they’ve become a must.
The resounding message at the Marketing Association Smarter Data conference last week, was to “just get started”. But often that is easiersaid than done.
So,what’s the process for developing a data-driven customer journey and how do you get started?
At Qrious we have adevelopmentblueprint that we use when working with clients, which takes them througha process to build out their journeys and continually optimise them.
In the capture phase it’s all about understandingwhat the customer needs and touchpoints are throughout their journey and then marrying these up to thechannels, tools and data that support those touchpoints. Clients often find that even this first step in the processgives them much needed clarity on what’s happening, when and where. Simply being able toplot this all outdevelops a clearerpicture andmakes it easier to spot the gaps orareas that are ripe for optimisation.
Once you’ve got this clearerpicture,you’ll likely have stages in the customer journey that you want to dig deeper into ordetermine if customer preferences are changing. For instance, you may have noticed a continued increase in online shopping or click&collectover the last few months, so you’llwant to understandthesechanging behaviours in deeper detail.
At the conference our very own Head of Data Powered Marketing,Lena Jenkins,said“We find that many businesses are still in thecapturephase. They’re gathering lots of data and perhaps starting to stitch data together, but don’t have the right tools or capability to extract insights from their data and act on them.”
The execute phase is not a large one-stepprocess, but instead a series of phases continuously delivered to build out your customer journey. As mentioned,from your capture and analyse phase there will likely be some obvious steps in the journey that are“no brainers” for optimising. Perhaps there’s a stage that could be improved by simply integrating some data?Maybethere’s a stepthatcould easily be automated using your marketing automation platform? Or perhaps there’s adatagap thatcan be filled with some creative thinking. The key here is to pick one thing at a timetoimplement, automate or improve. Keep doing this for a few months and all of asuddenyou’re on your way to a personalised, multi-channel, data-driven customer journey.
The final phase is where you get to really accelerate yourjourneys with all the fancy, funstuff.An important pointto notehere is that you don’t want to gettoo distracted or excited aboutthe shiny stuff before you’ve done at least some of thefoundationwork. But if you do get to this phase, then this is wherethe magic can really happen. Here you get to consider how you might start embedding advanceddata and AI techniquesto understand your customers better,personalise at scale,andpossibly evencreate recommendation engines. Thismeans the tech is helping you do the heavy lifting, automating real timeinsightanddeliveringstages of the customer journey.
One of the keys to rememberisthatdeveloping a data-driven customer journey is not a “set and forget” exercise. Customer behaviours will change over time, you may have access to more data, new digital channels may become available,and technology may becomemore widely available or cheaper. Byregularlyreviewing your customer journeys you can continually optimise them tocreate improved customer experiences.
Work within your constraints
Another key takeaway from the conference when it came to toolsand data, wastowork within your constraints. For manyitmight bethat you’re usingExcel or using a SaaS product that doesn’t have all thedesiredfunctionality.Onceyou can show an improvement anda return on investment,you’llhaveagreater opportunityto invest in toolsand develop more advanced techniques.
To find out the focus of the audience at theSmarter Dataconference we asked,“In the Covid-19 recovery phase, what data powered marketing will you be focusing on most?”
Thepoll showsthatformostorganisationscreating data-driven, automated marketing campaignsis still the main focus.What’s interesting is that thisclosely resembles the trendsfromthe2019 Mood of Marketing report. So it appears that despite all of the disruptionof the last few months,automatedcampaigns and customer journeysremain key to marketing success.
The next biggest areas of focus were centralising customer data and optimising digital channels. It’s very common among our marketing clients to have challenges around creating a 360 view of the customer and stitching together all of their customer data. This can be a challenging project, but again, developing a clear picture and starting small can often get you further than you think.
If you want to read more about some of the other speakers and key learnings from the Marketing Association Smarter Data conference, you can read an earlier blog here.
And if you’d like to speak with one of our Data Powered Marketing Consultants to develop your customer journeys, take advantage of marketing automation or discover what you can do in the data or AI space then get in touch. We’d love to have a chat.