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How to Craft Successful Customer Journeys

Modern enterprises are becoming increasingly aware of the need for customer-centric products and marketing to influence positive customer outcomes. Many companies continue to invest in their digital evolution and also silo efforts to curate engagement in each touchpoint across the customer journey. Among the multiple challenges that companies face, inefficient customer journey development stays at the top, followed by inaccurate product alignment to those customers. Companies are also falling short of executing the right actions at the right times at each step within the journey.

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Customer journey and experience analytics are pivotal to learning which touchpoints customers interact with to generate sufficient data and optimize the customer experience. The challenges in customer experience are diverse, and there are many approaches to resolve them. We should set our sights on ways to explore practical mindsets and mechanisms to craft customer engagement journeys by utilizing product and marketing analytics. Our efforts should be designed to help reduce the blow of some critical challenges standing in the way of a compelling Customer Experience. 

  • The Cookie Monster 

Enterprises must pivot towards first-party data that requires their customers to authenticate or self-identify, helping generate customer engagement and get as many touchpoints as possible.

Cookies are small pieces of code or files that web servers send to browsers. It’s a way for a website to remember your preferences, habits, and behavior online, helping companies improve their customer’s experience by understanding them better. 

With increasing laws and policies being formulated to safeguard user data, customers have the strength to restrict how much enterprises can know about them through cookies. Technologies themselves are coming in the way of learning about the touchpoints customers are engaging with, making it all the more challenging to discern customer needs. 

Third-party cookies are a hurdle that companies must jump over. Collecting first-party data will prove effective in this regard, whether that’s clicking on a paid search campaign, a display ad in email, or just using your digital properties by logging in and so on.

  • Identity stitching 

Enterprises must focus on identity stitching that helps link a customer’s activity with other data about that customer based on their past behavior.

In the last two decades, the evolution of smartphones and other electronic devices has opened new doors to learning about customer behavior and needs. With more incoming data, and a single individual using multiple devices, enterprises run into challenges while identifying and matching one customer with their activity on different devices. 

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Most customer experience analytics solutions lack a key differentiator to address this issue – a user profile. With a user profile, individuals are not treated like cookies but like real humans.

  • Centralized Analytics 

A centralized analytics product that merges all functions, devices, and sources, presents critical learnings through graph engineering, providing enterprises a holistic, 360-degree view of the customer behavior.

Most companies operate multiple customer data analytics solutions to understand customers and marketing products. Using different analytics products, reporting tools, and databases for different needs makes it harder for enterprises to stitch identities and decipher key customer journey patterns. 

By centralizing analytics operations in the form of an Analytics Kiosk and leveraging an enterprise analytics platform, organizations can efficiently avoid errors of creating multiple inferences that could result in poor customer engagement journey mapping.

  • Better Product, Better Customer Experience 

Companies must focus on understanding their customer experience with a readymade product or service while constantly experimenting with different ways to drive sales through customer journey analytics.

The traditional process of creating the product or service first, releasing it into the market, and then curating campaigns to attract customers has slowly lost relevance. 

Although this approach has worked in the past, it leaves the actual product experience out of the picture. For compelling user experiences, the products or services must undergo a moderated usability testing with a representative audience to validate their pros and cons. With the information learned from such tests, product and marketing teams can create synergistic value by determining focus areas of improvement, what to keep and what to pull from the product.

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Best practices are never sacrosanct, and with changing business environments, inventing practical approaches to improve customer engagement and experience will determine the success of companies. Customer journeys analytics are an integral part of the sales and marketing efforts; however, novel business models are factoring in product analytics, giving it more and more prominence. Enterprises that are merging marketing and product efforts extract double the inputs to optimize the customer experience by setting cross-departmental goals. 

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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