The customer journey is marketers’ top priority

15th June 2017
Rod Nicolson

According to the Omni-Channel Data Trends Report on current and future marketing plans, marketers’ top priorities for 2017 are:

  1. The customer journey
  2. Data protection compliance
  3. Omni-channel

It is heartening to see that the customer journey is the top priority. Customer journeys are a touchstone for user-driven design, providing a common language for meaningful discussions about how our customers experience the services we provide. They create both a map of the current topography, and signposts for where we need to change it. They can make the difference between success and just ‘meh.’

This applies as much to marketing initiatives as it does to product development or tech projects. The focus on customers forces us to keep up our end of the marketing deal: the customer gives us (x) and we give them something of equal value in return.

To really succeed, however, customer journeys need to encompass the marketing funnel all the way from awareness, through conversion, to delivery and and beyond, to support of the product or service. Taking an holistic view enables us to understand the full customer experience, and prioritise our effort on where it will deliver the greatest benefit. In the complex environment of omni-channel marketing, this clarity is even more critical.

Once we have mapped out a customer journey, what do we do with it? Because this is just the starting point.

Customer journey with service design blueprint

Customer journey, with mapped business processes and system / data flows.

As I mentioned above, key benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked are the way customer journeys provoke discussions on how to improve them, and the common language they promote to aid in that understanding.

Additionally they can help us optimise our messaging (if I tweak this content it will be less confusing and increase conversions), or balance the use of channels more effectively (reduce emails here, include paid ads there). Like the icing on top of a cake, however, customer journeys are good on their own, but combined with layers of business jam & system sponge, the result is far more rewarding!

Mapping workflows to the relevant segments of the journey can show where business processes that support it need to be improved. Similarly, mapping systems and data flows can help us use technology more effectively. Because these changes are rooted in the customer experience, the cumulative effect can add up to radical transformation.


Featured photo credit. Creative Commons 2.0

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