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How to map Customer Journey – The key questions

When a customer initiates conscious consideration and buying, he’s often  the one who’s active. He’s making searches online, reading ads, discussing about his interest with friends and family, reading product reviews, asking questions from professionals and stores, visiting several websites and outlets, asking opinions and advice. Majority of this behaviour can be analyzed online or with research.

When the customer initiate this journey he’s in charge. At least that’s how he feels. That needs to be taken for granted. He makes decisions. While he’s in charge, he’s being influenced by media, marketing, brands, professionals, sales people,… There is an exception though, in case it is possible for you to earn a position as a trustworthy and respected specialist, then you can sell with specialist recommendations. This approach to sales works much better than hard selling. In the end the customer is quite likely to buy something he could not have imagined before actually entering the journey. He does the decision eventually and your role is to influence the choices he makes if you know how to do it.

Check out a collection of Customer Journey Map visualisations in Pinterest “Customer Journeys and touchpoints”

The things that are often neglected, which I find very important are:

  1. Chain of events > you need to know and understand the people flow across channels and touchpoints
  2. Competing & neutral touchpoints > You need recognize and understand also the impact of your competitors touchpoints. Your channel capasity to convert customers is the key and you must understand that the customer is not visiting your touchpoints only, but your competitors too. Increasing your conversion and business dynamics score is the ultimate goal of the entire Customer Journey work

The mapping of the customer journey is composed of he following parts:

0. Customers: Who are they? How do they live? What kind of life style and life stage are they in their own lives? What is their socioeconomic status like? How can you reach them? What kind of behavioural conventions their everyday life has in the context of your offering? What do they value? What kind of solution would they appreciate? Who are your most valuable customers? How do customer profiles differ from one product category to another? What kind of potential can be found from your existing customers from cross-selling point of view? What kind of people keeps your company in business now and where can you find growth potential?

1. Touch points: mediums, services, personnel, re-sellers, physical spaces, online. 

Do you have control of the touch point or does a partner manage it? At what point of a customer journey is the customer getting involved with a certain touch point? What can you do in that moment and what are your goals and KPI’s? Can that specific touch point result in to an acquisition or do you need to direct the customer further? What kind of roles a single touch point has and how can you make certain all roles are played out right along the customer journey?

2. Service moments and context

What are the most likely contexts in which the customer engages with the touch point? What is he trying to do? How can you help him achieve that? How is that done? How could it make your product or service look more appealing or at best, a most likely option?

3. Motivation and drivers

Are the customers reaching out for you or is it the other way around? In what kind of mindset does a customer engage with your brand? What could drive him further instead of abandoning your brand? What are the conventions and customs in your business and how could you exceed customer’s expectations by breaking them? Are there other companies that have a similar logic to yours and could you implement their approaches, which already have a proven logic?

4. Decision making process

What is the customer’s decision-making process like? Is he doing it himself or using a consultant or services for comparison? Are there predictable qualities in customer’s selection process that would enhance your capability to adapt your organisation to the customer’s behaviour with right content, value proposition or services? How does the customer move from one stage to the next?

5. Triggers and Moments of truth (initiate/choose/drop/buy/attrition)

Where and at what point are the most important moments of truth defining the majority of your business success? What triggers them to decide or act according to your will? Can you trigger customer behaviour? How can you do that most effectively and which kind of approach result in best outcomes? Why do you win and what do your competitors do better if you lose business to them? How can you outperform your competitors’ actions?

6. Post-purchase satisfaction and recommendations

Would customers buy again if they had a choice? What is your Net Promoter Score Index? What were they satisfied about? Was there dissatisfaction? How can you improve your customer experience in order to earn higher opinion? Do your customers discuss about your product online or face to face? What are they saying? Are they endorsing your brand? Could you use their endorsement for others who are still considering it?

7. Business systems, research and analytics

What kind of information your systems currently store from your customers’ behaviour? How could this data help you serve your customers better and create systematic methods for continuous development of your company? Consider ERP, CRM, Online analytics, Contact Center systems, email communications, customer satisfaction and voice of customer studies, reclamations, customer feedback and ideas for improvement etc. How does the infrastructure  combine different data sources and make it available for people working in customer interfaces? Do you have marketing automation software in use that could adapt your operation and communications to individual customer’s behavior and store customer’s online engagements and interests that enable realtime action and individual customer care models?

Here are a couple of visualisations I find particularly informative and inspiring:

One by Desonance

Another by Hear of the Customer: Customer Journey Experience Map – Top 10 requirements

Here is a great presentation about how the job gets done and what is the impact on business performance:

Who is the CMO of the future?

Digital Surgeons, founder, @petesena, takes a look at what the landscape looks like for the future role of the CMO. Gartner is predicting that by 2017, the CMO will spend more time than the CIO on technology. We’re seeing this already happening with progressive brands shifting budgets towards digital.  Peter shares his thoughts in a Slideshare above on the hybrid nature he thinks the role of chief marketing officer will begin to shift into. What are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

You might also be interested in the following articles:

From marketing automation to service automation

Managing Social reputation – Brand is a verb

2013 Internet trends; Mary Meeker & Liang Wu

Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

What best performers do differently; Aberdeen

How to map and study Customer Journey

From Marketing Automation to Service Automation

I’ve come to the conclusion that the name “marketing automation” for new breed technologies is simply too narrow. In the projects I have been working, it has been evident that the core challenges companies have lie in their business processes. As a customer, you expect to know what is going on and understand what the company you are paying for is doing for you. Not knowing equals emotions of neglect, inconsideration and generally drive criticism towards the company. As an outcome the Net Promoter Score doesn’t look too good, even if the company would be very good in something. However, gaining great increase in NPS only require erasing the issues leading to critic path of customer experience.

I would suggest to consider marketing automation as a methodology for service automation and start service designing the entire customer relationship. Such an approach put the customer in to a spotlight and helps you analyse the internal processes and multi-channel encounters in a new way. When you do analyze the engagements, customers’ motivation and contexts driving customers you can mirror it with customer touch poits with sales, customer service, billing, purchase confirmation communications, online service etc. While studying these touch points and their impact, also consider what is the technical platform for that specific touch point. Having this mapped enable you to look at the entire IT infrastructure and recognize gaps between them. In case you don’t have the necessary data available for answering customers’ questions you will make your company look autistic.

Fixing the gaps in IT infrastructure enable you to fix the reasons why people have doubt and negative experiences along their customer relationship. This is when you can start automating the customer communications. In many cases you have the means to cure the reasons for eg. negative customer service contacts by keeping the customer updated, feeling secure and well served. Considering the full customer journey and relationship help you increase lean process efficiency and simultaneously increase NPS. In current economic environment you can squeeze a lot more efficiency and synergies delivering higher customer value with current or even lower resources (Check out HBR article about managing complexity).

The same tool allowing you to do segmented emailing and event based marketing can be used for process automation and customer care. This is why I think the marketing automation technology should also be leveraged as service automation solution.

The companies often have an existing CRM already in place, like Salesforce, MS Dynamics or such. These mainstream CRM’s are relatively easy to integrate with Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, ISAS or Hubspot (the price variation between these technologies is huge – you really need to know what want to do when comparing options). BM’s Unica is a fullblown solution for CRM & Automation and a lot of these challenges can be solved with Salesforce and MS Dynamics too. In many cases the company infra already has  much more to offer than is being used. In a best case scenario you already have what it takes. You just need to make choices that work best in your existing systems and requirements. The only thing I’m saying is, it is well worth the effort.  In case you only really need triggered messaging, eg. Silverpop is an option.

Many of these technologies are associated with B2B markets and it’s true that they have been developed for B2B and high invenstment B2C categories. This is because the value of single customer is so high that you should really take great care of them and it’s worth the investment. However, in B2C business the sheer number of customers and transactions is so huge that the automation makes sense and the technology price goes down/customer too. The most applied position for these technologies has to do with lead management process. I think, such approach is only a tip of an iceberg.

Let’s look at this challenge from the CMO’s perspective. Majority of critics in NPS measurements are actually an outcome of poor operational experiences. However, these experiences have a major impact on brand perception. I would consider this to be an opportunity for CMO’s to enforce brand identity at experience level and really help driving the brand promise and it’s practical delivery in to all touchpoints accross the company. Marketing is a great influencer in corporate culture and I think these new opportunities only enhance the capability of CMO to make the company better.

creating customer loyalty and trust_improving NPSI’d really love to hear your experiences and opinions about marketing automation and service automation. Please, let’s learn together.

For more, check out online (others have training, but I haven’t found great tutorials online)

Eloqua University cource list

Hubspot Academy

Here’s also Marketo’s “Marketing RFP” that I find quite instructional although it has been done by a vendor who optimize the RFP for their technology🙂 Marketing automation-RFP

Yes, Business Process Design is business owner’s responsibility, but CMO’s need to understand how to leverage BPM in customer engagements and their outcomes measured with Net Promoter Score. Here’s a brief video on Business Process Management

Here’s Gartner’s very informative evaluation of multichannel marketing  solutions: “CRM Vendor Landscape: Multichannel Customer Analytics Is a Critical CRM Capability” http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1FDDJZT&ct=130502&st=sg#!

Most companies approach CRM and marketing automation inside out, I prefer looking outside in. It’s the difference in perception, not in technology that matters. Here’s how Salesforce.com presents their approach as an infograph. It’s a valid approach, I’m just saying that there is more to discover than this:

Salesforce.com infograph

Toni Keskinen

Marketing Architect, Toinen PHD

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen/

Management Tools & Trends 2013 – Bain & Company

The Bain article is very good read indeed.The full article and report as a PDF are available here

The results of the recently revealed 2013 survey show that the world’s top five management tools are:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Employee Engagement Surveys
  • Benchmarking
  • Balanced Scorecard

The differences between market areas are clear, do to their differences in market growth and cultural differences. However, I have to say that I liked the Asian approach more than European or American. The Asian markets emphasize 1) CRM and 2) total quality management. They carve innovation out from customer needs and understanding and emphasize quality or products and services.

However I had to wonder about the ABSENSE of everything related to brand metrics and customer behavior change (eg. online analytics).

Most used Management tools according to Bain study 2013

In all markets the number one corporate goal is to increase revenue. The sales figures are naturally an outcome of brand’s success, brand’s demand and channel conversion capacity. Still, the brand management as part of the management toolkit is totally missing.

In my opinion management systems are too concentrated on the internal reality and manage their operations and strategies inside out. In my work as a marketing architect and customer journey designer I have seen case after case, that the internal and CRM figures have generated blind spots and consequently create corporate autism. The only way to really do actionable strategic development in my opinion is upside down and outside in. You have to analyze customer journey as a whole: Customer Journey rules of engagement  (behavioral dynamics), touch points and channels  and align your own organisation with the customers behavior. Managing operations, partnerships, CRM and everything else should have a clear behavioral and customer experience impact generating rapid sales conversion results and long term brand and demand increase. In my opinion these are clearly CMO’s core responsibilities and the absence of these facts just underlines how desperately the management practices need to pay attention to marketing and CMO’s work.

What’s your opinion?

Author: Toni Keskinen, http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

This is how data makes money

This is a presentation that McKinsey consultant, Tim McGuire, made at the recent Direct Marketing Association conference. It is very thought-provoking and inspiring one, because it is about practical value and applications of data. In direct marketing scoring models and regression analytics have been an approach any seriously result oriented marketing responsible has already tested. However, the availability of data and applications in the rich and influential online environment has exploded the value to completely new level.

The CIO’s are currently challenged with new needs that come from marketing department and marketing department can no-longer operate without collaboration with ICT responsible people. Although Big Data sounds like an elephant, you don’t need to eat it with one bite. Majority of Big Data corporate scale initiatives can be done manually in smaller scale or with less expensive technologies. Testing, piloting, learning and calculating business cases from them enable solid foundation for larger investments and management attention.. even urgency. Every change starts from recognition and inspiration. This presentation might just spark that first step towards major transformation. Enjoy and share with your management team!

How to measure conversion – infograph

I found a great infograph from my former colleagues’ website. Tamara Gielen has one of the most red email marketing blogs in the world – Be relevant! emailmarketing blog . This inforgraph is about conversion optimisation in general and has a great message I totally agree with. Nothing beats the live testing with actual customers. A/B testing, multivariate testing, using segmenting and other tools for learning are the best and fastest ways for creation of reliable business cases in marketing. So, here it is. Enjoy
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Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

Technology meets marketing. Analytic mind meets creativity. It’s going to be a year of change which is just speeding up constantly

Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

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