Decision-Making In The Digital Age: Rise Of Journey Analytics
“The enterprise’s view of the phases a customer passes through in the course of an ongoing relationship with a company” - Forrester
When was the last time that you, as a customer, had bought something that you had access to very limited knowledge of? Matter of fact, have you purchased anything at all without a wealth of information behind whatever the product or service may be? Think long and hard. But, the chances are rather low. Even if you had once indulged in a quirky purchase that came with sparse and poorly-articulated Amazon reviews, you probably knew enough about what to expect from it.
The reason for this has its roots in the increasing role – both subliminal and direct - that marketing is playing in our lives. Everywhere we go, we are exposed to messaging about experiences that come along with a lot of things we need. In the interest of fairness, plenty of others that we don’t either. Whether as customers – we realize it or not, each one of us has already embarked upon several journeys with different brands. From the pre-sale to the post-sale stage, we are being hand-held and spoon-fed with information.
But in today’s digitalized climate, the decision is definitely with us. We control the channels by which we interact with brands. Which is why they are extremely focused on making sure that we have all the right information we need to take that decision. They rely on predictive analytics to assess our behaviour, discover our pain points, understand our sentiments, and offer what they perceive to be the right kind of choices.
Brands are no longer looking at customers as merely the buyers of their products and services. Instead, the customer are being treated as brand ambassadors. They have become the custodians of choice. They pass information along so that others in their networked communities are able to take informed decisions too.
The journey a customer takes with a brand has become the destination
In the realm of customer experience management, knowledge is power. Blurry is the line that separates what customers want to know in order to start the experience from what a brand wants to convey to its customers to keep the experience going. Hence, there is a high demand for every stage of the customer lifecycle to be personalized. By using predictive analytics, unified journeys are created for the customer to increase his/her lifetime value with the brand. And by reverse-engineering the behavioural data of existing and past customers, actions are being taken in the customer experience ecosystem to improve and extend journeys as much as possible.
Effectively reaching out to customers at appropriate stages of the sales funnel forms the crux of customer journey analytics. This enables brands to lower the cost of conversion and retention while boosting their marketing efforts to get more customers to kick-start their own journeys.
Every customer journey is a winding road
Harnessing customer journey analytics is about driving value across a customer’s lifecycle with the brand. Every step of the purchase, they should be catered to; that too without being perceived as intrusively omniscient. With the advent of Big Data and Analytics, it is now easier than ever before to follow customer trails and pick up the insights required to strengthen the journey.
Let’s take a look at the different stages in every customer journey, and how analytics can be leveraged for creating purposeful interactions.
Even a couple of years ago, the discovery stage of the lifecycle was in the hands of customers. It was entirely up to them – to identify what they need, and to discover a solution that fits the purpose. However, in the age of big data, brands have the power to profile, evaluate and reach out to prospects by using market segmentation, lead scoring and personalized targeting. They can identify common search terms that drive first-time website traffic, assess new website visitor data, monitor social analytics and online reviews, as well as analyze pay-per-click (PPC) and AdWords data.
Competitive differentiation is the war cry of the modern customer. He/she wants that extra special something that makes a particular brand stand out from the competition. But, as far as brands are concerned, communicating the right message at the right time is just as important to increase the value and dimension of the journey. They can use offer-optimization techniques and A/B testing methodologies before investing in the marketing to carry out relevant messages.
In this growingly customer-centric environment, the purchasing stage of the journey can be real start customer loyalty. It is a milestone that paves the way for many more to come. Using customer journey analytics, brands can assess future behaviour based on historical knowledge and predictive analytics, cross-sell and / or upsell to increase wallet share for existing customers, and unearth usage behaviour to evaluate the expectations of prospective ones.
Customer journeys have become ouroboros by nature, in the sense that at the end of the lifecycle there lies the opportunity to begin another one. Satisfied customers are often more than happy to recommend your products or services to their networks. With the explosion of social media channels as outlets for customers to convey their emotions, their continued journey with the brand remains extremely valuable. Brands can bring customer attrition to screeching halt by knowing when and how to deliver corrective actions such as win-back programs, provide contextual offers through Next Best Actions and gauge primary drivers of customer dissatisfaction.
Connecting the dots
Decision-making in the digital world has never been more simplified for customers. Their journeys are getting more entwined with the decisions that are taken at an organizational level. What this means for brands is that they cannot be reactive about reaching to customers anymore. By leveraging predictive analytics, they have to transform customer journeys into digital launch-pads through which their experience can be skyrocketed.
After all, today’s customer journey starts well before the wallet is opened, and it doesn’t end even after it is closed.
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