An Inside-Out View of the Customer Funnel
It's time to look at the sales funnel in a new way—and I suggest we do so from inside the top, looking down. This creates a sort of flowing spiral, where people float around, jump between and skip ahead (or leap back) to different touchpoints.
This kind of customer-driven, personalized, erratic engagement map is frankly just a bit all over the place. The difference is that we don't create one or a few decision journeys. We provide all the elements for a completely customized experience, and then watch for the clues in the data that customers give us to assist them, upsell them, engage them, delight them … throughout each of their personalized journeys.
You can see why this could not be done manually—you must take advantage of the automation technology embedded in several (hopefully integrated) marketing technologies—programmatic media/search buying, anonymous website visitor recognition, loyalty programs, campaign management and messaging deployment and data analytics. If all this is not connected today, use strategic dashboards to bring results and experience data up to a blended level so that you can make better decisions in (near) real-time.
The best companies understand their customers at a granular level—who they are, their behaviors and what messages and content interest them. At every stage of the customer journey, we need to understand what the most interesting, engaging and relevant behavior is—from that particular customer's view—not the brand view.
For example, a bank looking to sell mortgages would start further upstream, understanding the home-buying process, the emotions, the life changes that necessitate a move. The bank would make it easier to find information about schools, taxes, neighborhoods, services—and make that part of the journey with the bank, not something separate. Of course the bank would also provide calculators and information on financing so that customers can understand what they can afford and how that commitment will carry forward in their enjoyment of the new home.