Anyone who has invested the time mapping the end-to-end customer journey for their business will almost certainly have come across one simple revelation: it is not one journey, it’s two journeys.
In reality it could be many more than two journeys depending on the nature of the business. However, the two journeys that will always need to be separately mapped are the ‘buyer journey’ and the ‘customer journey’.
Persona -> Needs -> Map -> Content -> Marketing Funnel -> Sales Funnel -> Customer
Customers’ needs change throughout their buying journey. That represents a challenge for us marketers and customer experience managers – How do you create the right content to support that journey?
To succeed Cx has to sit above all departments so that the customer journey can be managed end-to-end. That’s fairly obvious even though hard to achieve. Equally obvious is the need for the journey to exist outside of its documentation. Instead it has to be actively managed live and monitored for ongoing improvement and optimisation.
We would all agree that there needs to be consistency of the brand experience across channels and the ability to interact where customers are and where they want to be and there is evidence to suggest that a true omni-channel experience has a positive impact on the bottom line.
How many content strategies do you have within your business? Indeed, how many content strategies do you have within your marketing function? Just the one? Fingers-crossed that is the case, but can you place your hand on your heart and swear to it?
The reality is that no one technology platform will serve all your marketing needs. It is more normal now to have a marketing “stack” where you select the best in breed for your needs, your budget and for each task.
Chief marketing officers (CMOs) who design and incorporate customer journey management as part of their overall activities outperform all others by 54% (24.9% vs 16.2%) in annual improvement on ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment).
Useful things funnels. In the real world they allow you to pour accurately into narrow containers and in the marketing world we use them as a way to describe the channelling of customers towards a sale. Except, bizarrely, that is not what marketers now use the term funnel to describe.
You need to start with your audience and sadly this is where many companies trip up at the first hurdle as each team within the business silos are too focused on their own internal objectives of selling more of X, launching Y or achieving Z% engagement rate, which leads them to make decisions that are for the company’s benefit and not their audience’s.
As marketing leaders you will be on a spectrum which at one end may mean you are a long way off this level of understanding of your numbers or at the other extreme you may be totally in control and have all this information to hand. At either end of this spectrum, to become more customer-centric you will need to consider the following measurements and how you manage your audience accordingly.
Picture yourself sitting in the senior management meeting where you are seeking buy-in to a contact strategy change management programme. You have spent several weeks developing the proposed approach and building the watertight business case to the point where you believe you have tacit approval from many people around the table for what you are proposing...
As you start to investigate where your customer contact/communications are causing problems with your customers you will quickly realise that what you need is a contact strategy. Your next question will be “What is a contact strategy?”
Like algae blooming in a nutrient-rich lake, the amount of content being produced by companies today is growing at an exponential rate. How much content is being created, which functions within the business are creating it and how much of it is being exposed to customers is, for the average business, an utter mystery.
AI has burst onto the scene and is now taking root within the marketing stack. From established vendors to innovative start-ups, specific applications are emerging that are simplifying tasks, enhancing analytics, freeing up resource and most importantly, creating new and exciting opportunities for customer engagement.
You have created an awesome video, written a gripping article or drawn a masterpiece. You publish to your website and social channels. Being a good marketer, you then amplify the reach of your content by posting, pushing, advertising and emailing your content to all your selected audiences through all the channels that you are present on and it goes viral!
How much does your business spend on content each year? If you are following global trends, it is an amount that is set to have doubled between 2016 and 2021; global spend on content marketing was assessed at $200bn+ in 2016 and in on track to exceed $400bn by 2021.
Why do you need to do anything differently when it comes to the way you contact your customers? Because change is inevitable and your customers have already changed and in many ways. When things change and new information comes into existence, it is no longer possible to solve current problems with yesterday’s solutions.
Brexit has impacted consumer and business buying behaviour and will continue to do so throughout the chaotic process that Britain is enduring. As a result, marketers targeting UK buyers (B2B or B2C) have never needed up-to-date insight more than they do today.
Who are these socio-demographic twins? Both male, Both born 1948, Both grew up in the UK, Both have divorced and re-married, Both have grown up sons, Both are very wealthy, Both like to spend their holidays in the alps, Both are world famous ….
There is considerable amounts of noise and “trending” around customer journey mapping at the moment. But, there appears to be a lack of depth around the customers’ actual decision-making process with the focus of the mapping exercise being on the stages of the marketing and sales funnel.
As marketers begin to seek practical applications of AI, they are encountering the first challenges. However, the biggest challenge of all is data. Almost all AIs require “training”, this means preparing historical data so that it can learn what has happened in the past to predict what might happen in the future.
A few weeks ago, I treated myself with a pair of Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones. They’re brilliant. I love them. But even though they have been available for some time and I love Bose equipment, I only bought them just a few weeks ago. Why not sooner?
Personalising content is not hard. The quest for personalisation remains a marketing obsession, and rightly so. Simply treating customers as a collective mass where the individual’s needs does not matter lacks common-sense and conflicts with customer expectations.
The starting place for businesses embarking upon the road to customer-centricity tends to be by focussing on culture and behaviour. Making every employee put the needs of the customer first in everything they think, feel or do is, without a doubt, the first challenge to be addressed. Many obstacles stand in the way of such a transformation.
Recent research shows that because of the ubiquity of content, most buyers will be 60% of their way to a purchasing decision before they speak to sales or make a purchase online. Of those that are 60% of their way to a decision, only 26% will ever actually buy anything.
The advent of digital has meant that clicks, likes, views, dwell time, bounce rates and other forms of measurement are readily at hand. However, as is now appreciated, while valid performance metrics, they do not easily translate into commercial ROI.
Current accepted thinking on a content strategy is that you think of some themes that you want to create content around - you may well call these content pillars - and then you brainstorm some ideas about what content would fit around these pillars. Once you have a list of ideas you then apply this to a calendar as a schedule of what you are going to create and when it will be published...
All too often Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) is constrained to the customer’s online journey and even then may only be the journey from entering your website through to the point of sale. However, creating true business success from CJM can only be achieved by considering the customer’s entire journey and that means looking across six areas of impact.
Customer communications silos are commonplace within nearly every business. For large businesses there is no getting away from the fact that the natural evolution of the various business structures and processes has led to different parts of the business communicating with customers and, for that matter, prospective customers.
PR and marketing teams have become very good at engaging their target audiences online and within social media. Like good little hamsters attracted by some food, the target audience is being drawn in and clicking their ‘follow’ and ‘like’ buttons. And then…nothing.
Many organisations see content as only an above-the-line digital or social media discipline, with it only serving as a tool to help with SEO and drive traffic to a website. However, there are three main problems with this approach...
Customer journeys. That age old process adopted by marketers to define the behaviour of their target audience when they are trying to persuade them to buy their product or service. Most commonly visualised as a marketing funnel, customer journeys aim to cover customer touch-points across multiple channels and with different customer segments that all lead to the desired business goal.
Better customer communications can be worth millions in annual revenues. This is because there is a strong correlation between the customers’ experience and loyalty [Forrester Report: Customer Experience Index].
In the ideal world you always say the right thing at the right time through the right channel to each customer on an individual basis. By its very nature, this means that your contact strategy must span the channels that you communicate through and the departments that you communicate from.
When was the last time you thought about the way in which your business communicates with your customers? Not what you are saying or how you are saying it, or even the KPIs of your call-handling; such considerations are commonplace because they, fundamentally, involve looking at individual communications...
Building a business case to break down the communications silos within a business does not only require a clear understanding of the business benefits that will be achieved but a considerable amount of internal alignment of different functions.
How many customers make it from your marketing activities through to a sale? How many customers are making it from your marketing activities through to a sale right now?
It is all very well relying on inbound if you have sufficient inbound traffic, but if not how are you going to get new customers to engage with you? If you do have enough inbound traffic, how long will it be before you “burn out” the segment of customers that do contact you inbound?