3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel

Successful customer journeys require both personalization and practical strategies.

“Lots of marketers have adopted agile practices and tried to transform how they go to market in terms of customer journeys,” said Tom Hannigan, Global Practice Lead for precision marketing platform HCL Unica, at our MarTech conference. “Their biggest challenge is not necessarily envisioning what they want that journey to look like or what they want that customer experience to be, but more about translating what’s on the whiteboard into the market.”

Most marketers are looking for practical ways to improve their customer journeys, but this can be more easily said than done. Marketing departments often have to adjust outdated technology systems to meet customer needs along their buying journeys while improving processes on the fly.

“Everybody has one of these customer journey maps,” Hannigan said. “The real trick is not in envisioning all the things you could do, but figuring out how to get practical.” He discussed strategy in the context of the travel and hospitality industry.

3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel

Source: Tom Hannigan

Here are three practical strategies to help marketers craft more impactful customer journeys across all channels.

Generate milestones for your customer journey

Hannigan recommends marketers put together what he calls “golden milestones,” which are events that “must happen for your customer to get value from your offering.” These can help marketers map out their goals while filling in the practical steps required to meet them.

“You have all these different possible touchpoints, personalization points and moments of inspiration,” he said. “But before that, go for the golden milestones.”

3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel

Source: Tom Hannigan

Translating these milestones into practical steps can be a complex process. That’s why marketers need to communicate the value of these goals to their technology departments, which are vital for tracking campaign events.

“Another critical gap when it comes to deploying journeys in the market is preparing yourself to have a conversation with IT about what some of the sources of those events are,” said Hannigan.

He added, “It isn’t just one source; it may be a booking or reservation API or some other data source that’s occurring in real-time that you’re going to need to tap into to bring those events in.”

Automate personalization rules for the journey

Personalization strategies — whether in the form of curated messages or specific offers — are great ways to keep customers engaged along their journeys. Many brands have come up with a variety of creative tactics to meet consumers where they are. However, it can be easy to neglect the customer’s perspective in these strategies’ practical application.

“A lot of folks like to concentrate on the creative aspects of personalization, which is critical,” Hannigan said. “But there’s something much more practical that we like to chat with our clients about, which is how to make the customer journey make sense to the customer.”

He added, “We want to reduce the likelihood that you’re going to have awkward offsets being delivered, so we recommend using a rules engine to set parameters and automate it.”

3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel

Hannigan gave an example of a hotel client his team worked with that sought to provide better client experiences throughout their booking processes. His marketing team worked with their IT department to set automation rules for personalization — keeping the aspects that worked and removing the personalized prompts that didn’t fit within the customer’s context.

“If we have 500 offers that are available at any given time, let’s limit that to some level that’s consumable by the customer in the channel that they are consuming it in,” he said. “In the case of this customer we thought it [the channel] might potentially be a mobile app, so we wanted to limit that to two offers per member, and these were delivered while they were on site.”

He also recommended creating automated rulesets to ensure there were no duplicates, as well as doing your best not to look “awkward”: “If you know — via somebody’s customer profile — that they have already reserved a rental car through you, you probably wouldn’t want to serve up an offer for a rideshare and vice versa. If somebody is already booked rideshare, why serve up an offer for a rental car?”

Identify underperforming assets and adjust in real-time

Continuing with the hotel client example, Hannigan reviewed the methods his team used to monitor campaign performance. By breaking up the customer journey into sections and ensuring milestone event tracking was in place, they were able to identify areas failing to meet goals.

3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel
Source: Tom Hannigan

After identifying these underperforming assets, marketers need to work with other relevant departments to develop solutions. But whatever new tactic is introduced, it should all be in the service of customers’ expectations.

“Is it a speed and convenience problem or is it just a habits problem that needs some kind of incentive?” Hannigan asked. “These are all things that you can identify at each stage in the journey and then create tests for along the way to understand the best way to optimize your journey on the fly.”

He added, “If you have a customer profile, use it. Customers expect you to know these things about them . . . Use things like a milestone report to identify your underperforming treatments and assets.”

The post 3 strategies to create better customer journeys across any channel appeared first on MarTech.

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About The Author

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.

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