I have been working on some form of customer journey initiative for well over a decade now and the following questions keep coming up:
“What do you recommend for our customer journey?”
“Is there a proven way to completely automate the customer journey?”
Build a solid foundation and refine over time
At DemandGen, we start with our award-winning demand funnel management methodology, one of the original adaptations of SiriusDecision’s first Demand Waterfall, as a solid foundation for building out the customer journey. This has evolved over the years as marketers begin to understand their buyer’s journey and reconcile what they have with the reality of a constant buying cycle.
For example, one of the more recent evolutions of the customer journey is a stronger focus on post-sale activities and relationships. Increasingly, we see “lower funnel” requests from our clients to complete the customer’s journey. This includes stages, details, engagement protocol, and a whole new set of program development opportunities.
Does focusing on the lower end of the funnel matter for your business? Ask yourself if being able to segment and communicate differently with new customers, loyalists, advocates, or customers indicating attrition attributes can positively impact revenue and retention.
Customer journeys can be automated — to a point
Below is a list of some of the most common features required to make the customer journey a reality in your organization, and whether they can be automated:
|Defined Customer Journey Stages|
This is now an almost universal capability in most marketing organizations.
|Content Alignment to Customer Journey|
Although this is still a work in progress, many of our DemandGen Alliance partners have mastered the ability to align content and create exceptional content experiences. Uberflip and Hubspot have made it the core of their business.
|Multichannel Programs across Several Personas and Customer Journeys||YES|
|Personalization and Dynamic Content|
And only getting better.
|Enhanced Scoring Models Defining Movement through Customer Journeys|
Lead, customer, and account scoring have gotten so sophisticated now, it is hard to keep up.
|Intent-Driven Customer Journey|
I am a big fan of intent data, but the jury is still out on how it will be able to drive customer journeys. Listen to this recent podcast on DemandGen Radio that goes into detail on defining the customer journey using intent data.
|AI-Driven Customer Journey|
IBM says in its 2019 Marketing Trends report that this is happening, but I have to disagree. Marketers aren’t ready with their data and content; vendors aren’t ready with their solutions.
This is by no means a comprehensive list — just those that are top of mind as I work with clients to define their customer journeys and put them into practice.
We’ve come a long way
When I first started working on customer journeys, the whole process felt “fluffy” — a lot of ideas, but little substance. Those days are gone.
What started as a deluge of whiteboarding sessions and meetings has become a moderately sophisticated ecosystem of well-designed customer journey strategy with supporting technology tools, data partners, and corporate intellectual property.
Ready to build out your organization’s unique customer journey, or to take it to the next level with automation? Let us know how we can help.
Will Waugh is a consultant for DemandGen focused on helping clients with demand generation, lead management and leveraging marketing technology. He genuinely believes that data can change the world. Follow him on Twitter. Other articles by Will Waugh: Account-Based Marketing: Is It Worth It?