The right direction? The highs and lows of mapping your customer journey

The value of mapping the customer journey for your marketing strategy is high. Without delving in to the points of contact a customer has with your brand, the stages in their decision making process and any barriers they may face in following through with that decision, it is difficult to create a marketing campaign that translates interest in to sales and one-off buys into long term brand commitment. 

Recently the customer journey has come under scrutiny by some of the biggest names in the industry, with many publications questioning the best way to make the most of customer journey mapping in the face of the cross-channel, multi-platform habits that characterise modern media usage. 

No more funnel 

According to a recent article by Marketing Magazine, the traditional customer journey is no more. Focused on a speech given at the Guardian Changing Media Summit last week by Philips’ global Marketing ChiefBlake Cahill, it is argued that the fairly linear customer journey of old is no longer suitable for modern marketing. Cahill is quoted as saying, ‘we used to think the customer decision journey was very linear, like a funnel’ but now ‘the way to think about the customer experience is we need to be everywhere and anywhere a customer could potentially be.’ With customers prone to switching platforms at short notice, using multiple websites simultaneously and quickly losing interest at the final stages of conversion, mapping their journey is no longer straight forward. 

Cross-device tracking

Although mapping your customer journey may be more challenging than joining the dots, hope is not lost. As fast as new technology and the habits it creates is morphing the customer journey, equally new technology is providing a solution for marketers to keep up to date with its fast moving consumers. Cue cross-device tracking. 

Defined by Marketing Week as ‘the ability to stitch consumer journeys together as they switch between handsets, tablets, laptops and other connected devices’, cross-device tracking gives brands the opportunity to create a fuller, more accurate map of a customer journey in the form of affiliated marketing. Based on a last click conversion model and strong links with a range of partners, cross-device tracking aims to improve ROI rates and create high volumes of data that can be used by marketers to better understand the winding journey from first click to purchase.

Think big

With so many avenues and potential pitfalls now associated with the customer journey, it is easy to get distracted by the little things. While focusing on small details of the journey can have benefits for personalisation and fostering customer loyalty, it is easy to forget to step back and look at what  overall insights can be drawn from mapping the entire customer journey. 

This is exactly what The Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommended recently when it asked its readers to ‘step back and look at the journey more holistically’. HBR argues that by looking at the journey as a whole, it is possible for brands to notice broader business opportunities that are often missed when focusing exclusively on the minutiae of day to day interactions. Pointing to the likes of Amazon, who have in fact taken ownership of their entire delivery process and removed competitors like the Post Office and UPS from their customers’ journey, HBR argues that innovations and creativity can come from looking at the bigger picture. 

Want to know more about how to map your customer journey? Contact us here at OTB today to find out how we can help. 

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