There’s a lot of professional chatter on customer engagement and the customer journey. A customer journey map has emerged as the preferred method to visualize the touchpoints a potential customer experiences with your brand as they move from introduction to adoption. Journey maps are useful in understanding and optimizing around these milestones and then developing a duplicable customer attribution model. The philosophy here is if a marketer can find the highest converting touchpoints than they can include those that convert the best and focus on them.
This methodology has worked in the past but is beginning to be less potent. Here’s why.
First, there has been a shift away from funnel marketing methodology to what is now being explored as the loyalty loop. Academia has administered closed and open loop analysis, including AGILE methodology, to customer attribution models and are finding that in many cases a funnel approach to marketing isn’t optimal. Target customers clearly aren’t considering brands generally, then reducing their consideration set, and finally selecting a purchase. Instead, customers are rewarding brands who best are able to personalize messaging and create one-to-one relationships with their customer base across a multitude of channels. This is a vast departure from how most enterprise models have worked in the past.
Secondly, most attribution models skew towards last click attribution (LCA). LCA is an online marketing practice (this applies in offline models as well) of analyzing at the last place a customer clicked prior to converting or completing an intended step. It is widely used because it is a simple metric to understand for marketers at all experience levels. In the past marketing technology wasn’t sophisticated enough to capture and aggregate multiple data points and report it in a digestible way to non-technical marketing staff (a compelling reason for the rise of data scientists and full-stack marketers). Marketers would simply track where a conversion came from, optimize around their content, and pour budget into that channel. This process creates more conversions initially but soon after there is a drop, leaving marketers scratching their head.
But why the early drop off to conversions? It’s obvious that there are many other factors that relate to how a customer found your brand, fell in love with your value proposition, and converted, other than their last clicked location. Marketers who divert marketing spend to LCA can often get lucky with their last message and convert customers who have already been influenced along other steps in the journey. This will then result in a steep drop as the other interaction points lose their weighted influence effect.
Consider augmenting your model with data from all engagement points. If you are marketing online you need to score view-through conversion rates, social media data, and mobile influence. This will help you get more insight and develop a journey map with more contributing factors. However, for many brands who rely on a lot of offline advertising and sales methodology, it isn’t enough. Marketers who drive revenue with the contribution of a direct sales staff and/or pair an online strategy with an offline strategy need more.
Here is where omni-channel campaign management (OCM) is so important to your success. omni-channel means every channel. It involves creating a consistent customer experience across all channels including multiple devices. We are on the forefront of customer journeys that include emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and smart beacons that optimize retail offerings to you, in real time, as you pass by.
Modern customer journey includes optimizable interaction points that simply aren’t understandable by many marketing automation technologies. Did you send out a mailer, distribute printed literature, send an MMS offer, or sponsor a LinkedIn post within the past month? What about the rising popularity of second-screen interaction? Have you thought about the supporting role your mobile experience plays in your marketing mix? There are demographic effects that warrant your attention when considering social media marketing on the journey.
OCM captures all of these data points, and more. OCM then provides you with the insight to create the most value-driven engagement model that will result in more business and raving fans. The best omni-channel tools are built for the benefit of all marketers, not just data science masters that can also code a complex algorithm. Nevertheless, they must be sophisticated enough to programmatically change campaign behavior when you add data points to the journey and give you data-driven insight for market responsiveness.
All of these terms: customer attribution models, customer experience, journey maps, Omni-channel marketing, these are all nothing more than buzzwords for what matter most. Relevance. Your brand is in a global dogfight to stay relevant to your customers. If you haven’t embraced Omni-channel yet, consider adding it into your next marketing discussion.
Inform yourself. Be relevant.