Customer experience is the competitive battleground for brands today. The goal? Keep your customers engaged and drive loyalty. More often than not, CMOs are being tasked with making customer experience from the first interaction all the way through, and to own making it a great one. The challenge is that marketers can’t just add layer upon layer of marketing technology to their stack. If new technology investments continue to operate in a siloed way, this can make problems worse rather than improving them. Instead of focusing on outbound strategies, marketers need to connect their inbound and outbound marketing systems to take customers on a smooth, well-orchestrated customer journey.
That’s why we wrote the Marketer’s Guide to Journey Orchestration. By moving beyond simply looking at adding leads and managing programs, marketers can add new value to their business and better experiences for their customers. Our guide written is to help marketers to deliver the best possible experience. It’s full of tips on how to get started building great customer journeys. We believe that every marketer should read the guide, but for a quick overview, this blog can help get you started now.
Marketing Journeys in Brief
Customer journey is not just another buzzword. The marketing journey is about enhancing the experience from first awareness onward. This means mapping and syncing channels and being able to influence the customer experience as soon as they enter your marketing funnel. When we observe some of the most successful customer journeys in practice like those run by Gerber, we can see that marketing journeys are not just a tool to make customers happier. They also enable marketers to deliver huge value to the business.
Journey-based marketing recognizes two key truths – that the journey happens whether you deliberately influence it or not and that actively steering journeys delivers both better business results and happier customers. If you’ve already realized this, then you’re on the right track.
Key Terms to Know and Understand
Customer journeys aren’t brand new, though they’ve become more and more important to marketers over the years. It’s crucial to understand, that customer journey management is both an art and a science, requiring deep subject knowledge to be successful. With such a complex topic, it’s critical to nail down exactly what each practice is within the customer journey space. We explore these terms and their use cases in greater depth in our Marketer’s Guide, but below is a brief overview of journey mapping, analytics, and orchestration.
Journey mapping is often the first exposure most marketers have to customer journey based thinking. Whether it’s brought in by an outside cx team or an internal effort, it is a strategic practice. Journey maps are often drawn out on whiteboards with post-it notes, exploring how customers flow through a hypothetical set of experiences with the business, but they can be digital tools as well. Because they are a visual representation of a customer’s interaction with the brand, journey maps are useful for keeping track of changes you make and the different possible paths customers can take.
Marketing analytics are a well-established need for many businesses. The difference for journey analytics is that it looks across the entire lifecycle, beyond the KPIs of the marketing department to see the holistic value to the entire business. Because this is a more longitudinal view, marketers can better attribute behavior across time and demonstrate clear value, organization-wide. Even so, NPS, attribution, and conversion metrics have remained the focus of many journey analytics efforts, empowered by the data that a journey-level view provides.
Journey Orchestration is the crowning achievement of customer journey technology. It allows brands to move beyond analysis and mapping to the practice of changing the customer’s experience depending on where they are on the journey. Journey orchestration lets customers and prospects go where they want to go in real-time with a valuable branded message for any given set of actions. For marketers, this is a key value add, allowing them to actively manage the flow of consumers through the marketing funnel.
One Key Journey Use Case for Marketers
One of the key questions for marketers is how their work relates to an overall customer journey. In the Kitewheel Marketer’s Guide to Journey Orchestration, we’ve identified four key use cases to consider when bringing marketing journeys online. Below is a quick overview of one of the many ways that marketers can add value throughout the customer lifecycle.
Identify and Track Attribution Metrics Across any Channel or Time
One of the biggest challenges that traditional campaigns face is linking web visits across time, connecting social activity to website behavior, and generally connecting across all channels. Where many tools track social or web traffic and allow for attribution across those channels, it is often difficult to find a unified view of what matters.
With a customer journey model, you can map potential customer interactions from unknown to known, converted, and retained. Especially when a customer passes from marketing to sales or marketing to service, useful customer data can be lost. By using advanced tracking, AI, and journey mapping know-how, brands can deliver a seamless experience even for unknown customers. Doing this has an enormous impact, leading to increased engagement across channels, higher rates of conversion, and better tracking on each metric. To get started, businesses need to complete a customer journey strategy project and identify which metrics matter most for their business.
For marketers, understanding customer journeys and customer journey orchestration will have a direct impact on your ability to thrive in your job in the coming years, because soon journeys will be your job. We know that CMO’s and other marketing leaders are the catalysts for improving customer journey excellence. Content marketers will need to develop content that aligns with journey needs discovered by journey analytics, digital marketers will have to use journey orchestration to deliver high-value personalization, and marketing strategists will need to create journey maps that reflect real activity within the business.
We hope this blog has provided a useful overview. Whether you are a marketer or know a marketer who would benefit, we recommend you download the Marketer’s Guide to Journey Orchestration for even more information.