Customer Journey Mapping: Data Leads, Marketers Follow
Your customer experience strategy has most likely become the driving force for marketing success. Data is both the foundation for customer journey mapping and the key to that strategy. There are several reasons why data leads and marketers must follow the customer experience trail in order to stay ahead of the competition.
1. The Data Exists and Must Be Leveraged
The customer’s journey is rich in data points. What is called “Big Data” is exactly the big opportunity to explore and leverage data for journey mapping. Data represents the pieces of a puzzle that can be put together to paint many different maps. These maps allow marketers to see customer experiences as a journey with specific milestones, crossroads and purchase influencing elements. The more one can understand what influences a specific purchase, the more of a competitive edge they will own.
Data still tends to exist in multiple repositories for most businesses, but that is changing now. The cost of a single data warehouse that brings all the customer experience into one place is becoming less and less. Once all the data is centralized, the tools are readily available to query and report on the customer experience. Where data remains in decentralized repositories, it can still be brought together by outsourced resources to create the necessary query environment.
2. Knowledge of Your Customers’ Journey
Not only do you need this knowledge, but you need to have more of it than your competitors and you need to have it before them, too. Timing is everything in today’s user journey. Once the data is available for query and reporting, the competitive advantage is accessing this process in “real-time.” This is already happening in the mobile commerce world. The broader challenge of customer journey mapping is to apply the same real-time data processing beyond email and text messages to the overall customer experience.
Data allows us to know when customers shop, on what device, at which retail store, through what email or printed mail that was delivered and what kind of search behavior was present. We also know the timing between all these data points. While only the largest budgets allow for broader view of the user experience, there is still a lot of value to be gained by more modest data queries and reporting. Simple optimization around merchandise is an excellent example. Some products and merchandise categories tend to optimize a customer acquisition order. The next purchase usually follows very predictable merchandise patterns. This type of merchandise customer journey mapping can pay big dividends.
3. Targeted Content to Engage Customers Is Demanded — by Them
We are all so busy that we unconsciously ignore most of the advertising messages that appear on our radar. The leading brands in retail are setting the standard for consumer expectations and personalizing the customer experience. Amazon alone is shaping the customers’ expectations that ad content is both relevant and timely. The competitive arena is now demanding that a customer experience strategy is present and being leveraged as much as possible.
Targeted content relies on data to exist and drive sales. Data analysts hold the keys to the unlocking this all important marketing challenge. Once data ignites the strategy, it is a wild ride to optimizing the customer experience.
The old saying that “successful marketing means the right message at the right time to the right customer” has never been more attainable than now. The data exists, the tools are affordable and marketers are having a lot of fun with customer journey mapping. Join the party!