Learn to follow the customer journey, in English, Customer Journey, by mapping contact points online and offline. Find out how to engage customers and guide them towards the conversion of your Digital marketing goal.
Managing the Customer Journey means following the customer journey in their interaction with your company or service. To do this, it is necessary to monitor, through the aggregation and comparison of data, the online and offline contact points, exploiting what Deloitte calls “ The Omnichannel Opportunity ”. In fact, the customer completes the purchase decision-making process using various tools: to increase the sales opportunities it is essential to know what they are and how he uses them.
- Customer journey: what is it and what relevance does it have?
- Where does the customer journey start?
- 4 steps to create a customer journey map
- What data are important for the study of the customer journey?
Customer journey: what is it and what relevance does it have?
In marketing, we define Customer Journey, literally customer journey, the ideal journey that the user makes from the moment in which he comes into contact with a brand/company until he takes any action: whether it is the feared abandonment of the shopping cart in e-commerce, or physically going to a store to complete the purchase.
When imagining this path, for example in the design of a promotional campaign, it is necessary to ensure that the user does not encounter obstacles towards the conversion of the goal. For this reason, the customer experience must be pleasant, assist in real-time, and support polite and effective, otherwise, you risk losing the lead and consequently the possible sale, as can happen in the case of an e-commerce site.
Supervising the customer journey is a strategic approach that allows you to better understand the user’s expectations and is essential to optimize their experience. Recent research has shown that 84% of consumers consider being treated as human individuals, rather than as a means to profit goals, is critical to convincing them to interact positively with a company. And this is where the importance of Customer Journey mapping comes into play, which can help create personalized experiences, for each user, across all touchpoints and all lead acquisition Digital marketing channels
Summarizing these are the advantages of studying the customer journey:
- compare the desired experience of your customers with what you are actually able to offer;
- understand the differences of buyer personas as they move from lead status to actual customer, through the conversion process carried out in the purchase funnel;
- be able to make a map with a logical order to direct the buyer’s journey
Where does the customer journey start?
The study of the customer journey begins by defining its objective and scope. The first step, preliminary to the actual mapping, is to try to anticipate the actions that users could perform once they land on your site, or when they have opened your newsletter, or when they interact with content on company social networks, etc.
This step will make it possible to highlight the so-called points of friction or the obstacles on the customer’s path that could constitute a threat to the continuation of the same. The most effective method to overcome this risk is to get to know your audience thoroughly using all the tools available, direct and indirect, which allow you to have the answers to the following key questions:
What are the objectives that the customer wants to achieve with my product/service? This is a question to ask when acquiring the lead via social media or other channels that allow you to segment, as we will see in the next paragraph, the buyer personas and to define the stages of the customer journey.
Why is this product/service able to attract that particular customer? The answer highlights the strengths and allows you to know the initial input of customers, especially those of new acquisition, and to understand what they expect based on their tastes, interests, and priorities.
Why does my customer not use regularly or have stopped buying this product or service? The response is also crucial to reduce customer defection and to optimize customer retention. We are asking our client why he left that product, which he already knew and used. Maybe the reason is simply an information flaw, for example, the customer did not understand well what advantages to obtaining from your product/service. Or it may be something deeper that you need to bring out, for example by resorting to the ‘5 whys’ technique, introduced by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries. It allows us to extrapolate cause and effect relationships when looking for the cause of a problem, asking 5 consequential questions that ask “why?”.
4 steps to create a customer journey map
When we talk about the customer journey map, we refer to a diagram on which all the contact points ( touchpoints ) between the customer and your company are traced, whether online or offline.
Here is how it is defined, in a more articulated way, in the Harvard Business Review: “A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers take in interacting with your company, which is deals with a product, an online experience, a sales experience, a service, etc. The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated but necessary that the map becomes. Sometimes customer journey maps are ‘cradle to grave’, following the entire engagement arc. For example, a customer travel history includes the user’s interaction with the public or his going to a store, the purchase of the product or service, its use, sharing the experience with other users, etc. The journey ends either by replicating the route or by replacing your product/service with that of a competitor ”.
Here are the 4 steps needed to create the customer journey map:
Create buyer personas: to do this, as we anticipated at the beginning of this guide, you will need to analyze all the data in your possession useful for profiling the target audience, whether they are site visitors, fans of the company Facebook page, subscribers to the newsletter, etc. Nothing should be overlooked from the perspective of a good data-driven Digital marketing model (a method that combines the principles of traditional marketing with new technologies for data collection and analysis) aimed at profiling your buyer personas. What are other than typical models that contain characteristics derived from information – eg gender, age, level of education, level of income, place of residence, etc. – common to a certain set of leads.
Identify the stages of the route: you will have to mark the itinerary of the personas belonging to your target with some intermediate stages. In order to contribute to the conversion of the set objective, these steps must be suitable for the target audience and are identified, as explained in the previous paragraph, by analyzing the responses of individuals to focal questions relating to the brand, service, product, and the reasons for the choice/purchase.
Define the touchpoints with the company: they are those points that mark the contact, or the interaction, between the user and the company. They can be physical and analog-like traditional advertising tools (flyers, word of mouth, billboards, etc.), or digital like those deriving from online marketing actions, such as SMM (Social Media Marketing), Digital marketing, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Optimize the relationship between company and user: make every single point of contact smooth and frictionless, remember that every aspect must be analyzed from the perspective of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization).
What data are important for the study of the customer journey with digital marketing?
The answer to the question posed in the title of this paragraph is: everyone! Any information that is useful for profiling your reference niche , any data that is relevant to define your purchasing habits can be essential to create an effective Customer journey map. But what are the channels through which the collection of such data is possible? Let’s take some practical examples:
Data from traditional analytics tools , such as Google Analytics, which can give an idea of what is happening overall in the phases covered by the customer journey map.
Behavior analysis data that shows how people interact with your social content, your ads, your site etc. For example, the quantitative and qualitative responses to surveys relevant to the elements you intend to analyze.
Any data relating to specific issues can be found in customer service chat logs and their emails.