May 16, 2019 - Ginna Hall, Senior Content Writer, Nielsen
The average consumer today owns four to six internet-connected devices. Research shows that we switch constantly from one device to the other. We’re also doing more research online before making a purchase, leading to longer and less linear customer journeys in every industry.
Marketers are challenged with connecting online and offline consumer behavior and consolidating fragmented data to understand the influence of touchpoints across digital and traditional channels. Analyzing marketing effectiveness is arduous as marketers struggle to get accurate and actionable results.
This difficult situation is the new normal for marketers everywhere. We reached out to industry insiders for their advice on how marketers can prepare for an increasingly complex customer journey.
“The days when marketers could only do a few things to cause customers to passively fall through the standard-issue marketing funnel are over. Today, marketing journeys take countless shapes, with many diverse touchpoints. But one thing hasn’t changed: the goal of your marketing efforts is still to help customers realize that your brand is the best solution for a particular problem.
“In order for marketers to truly be successful, they must embrace omnichannel marketing. Not only should potential customers be able to interact with you on multiple channels, there should also be effortless handoff between channels. They shouldn’t have to work to initiate separate conversations on the phone, on your website, and via email. It should all be integrated into one single, channel-spanning interaction.
“To achieve this, your martech stack will need to include a customer data platform (CDP) that synthesizes data from multiple channels into a single source of customer information. This type of integration helps to deliver that seamless, hyper-relevant experience that people demand.”
“Today’s customer journey is more dynamic and interconnected than ever before. Digital and on-demand experiences are everywhere, interwoven across every facet of our daily lives.
“To be successful, brands need to apply research, data and analytics to not only deliver on customer immediate needs, but also identify unmet or underserved needs – and predict customers desires – to drive continual growth. By tapping into better data, and effectively identifying their most valuable customers, brands can personalize the experience for customers across channels to provide a great experience in real-time regardless of where they are in the buying process.
“Relying solely on demographic, transactional or other behavioral data from existing customers is likely insufficient – brands need to also collect data and insights about high value target customers who haven’t yet chosen the brand and understand what they need to do to better serve them.
“To be successful in 2019 and beyond, being strategic about data collection is imperative. Only collect data when it allows for better prediction of future customer behaviors, or if it helps optimize the target customers’ experience with the brand.”
“To prepare for this complex customer journey a marketer needs to understand the top channels their customers consume, build out a purchase funnel to bring the consumer from top to bottom through each of these channels, and have the correct tracking in place to execute this strategy effectively.
“With so many touchpoints and channels, it is impossible, from a budget standpoint, to have exposure on all of them. Prior to a campaign launch, a marketer should analyze their target demographic to understand the 3-5 channels they consume most and build out a funnel strategy to reach them across each one.
“In order to execute this strategy correctly, the marketer needs to have the tracking in place to understand where the consumer is in the purchase funnel. Ensure all of the marketing channel pixels are placed on the site, code each creative and placement accordingly and setup metrics to evaluate things like AOV, LTV, Abandoned Cart and Dwelling time specific to each channel and creative.
“Understanding your audience and creating a robust purchase funnel that is trackable will allow marketers to navigate through a complex customer journey.”
“As customer journeys span more channels, they become increasingly complex and often lead to fragmented data. Marketers looking to analyze omnichannel effectiveness need to unify four processes: reporting, partnership, analysis, and strategy.
“Many marketers struggle in two primary areas with reporting. The first is that their reporting doesn’t go far enough, with isolated channels preventing integrated measurement of lifetime value, CSAT, churn, ROI, etc. The second is that reporting is approached as an end state rather than a starting point. Reporting doesn’t tell you what action to take, it only provides metrics that may lead to insights. To answer what to do next, marketers need partnerships and analysis.
“Partnerships between analytics and business units bring a data-driven approach to your omnichannel experiences. Each cross-functional team should develop an intimate knowledge of audiences, their needs and behaviors, how they differ across segments, their experiences, and the impact of those experiences on behavior.
“Then unified teams can proceed with analysis - asking questions and searching through data for potential answers. Remember: analysis and insights are only as good as the questions asked.”
“One of the most important steps to take in managing cross-device and multi-touch attribution is to develop strong relationships with data aggregators. Knowing who collects what type of data is the first step in managing the ecosystem and technology stack.
“It is important to work with the Business Intelligence (BI) team to develop the most relevant dashboard for the measurement of attribution KPIs. The BI tool used in the marketing department to measure KPIs should also have the capability to connect to the cross-device consumer journey analytics tools or use one tool for both.
“The key is to use devices data and event data in tune with the aggregated cross-device tracking data to identify the entire journey from start to finish while maintaining your finger on the pulse using the analytics for quick decisions.
“For success in 2019 there is a need to keep pace with new technology in adtech and martech, which perpetually innovates on the robustness of the data marketers are able to use for performance management. The main idea is to let the experts build a scalable solution that can withstand the next 3-5 years of doing business.”
“The primary way that marketers can adapt to the massive shift in technology is to leverage it rather than fear it. In a world where engagement is complex, data is scattered, and tracking is nearly impossible, marketers will be well-served to return to the basics – focusing on actual human to human connections.
“Yes, these efforts are often harder to track, but the impact is even greater than the automated tactics we’ve been cultured to adopt. The focus must shift away from traditional response marketing techniques into a radical pursuit of educating and serving people you’re trying to reach.
“New ways of measuring engagement are emerging, giving advertisers the ability to filter based on interest that often precedes conversion. If you’re ok with relinquishing a bit of control over the measurable and traditional data, and instead favoring a more holistic approach to nurturing leads through the process with authentic and vulnerable content, the advertisers of the future will thrive in an environment that’s not quite so tidy but is ultimately better suited to the organic customer journey.
“Clicks will be replaced with video views, conversions will be replaced with conversations, and automated call centers will be replaced with a higher degree of emphasis on real communication. Data analysis will never go away, but the new metrics that precede purchase will all revolve around authentic engagement.”
“To prepare, adapt, adjust and respond to the always on multi-modal, multi-channel customer marketers must move beyond the traditional constructs of journey mapping.
“New analytics tools exist to help marketers not only understand the customer journey as it happens, but also dynamically adjust and provide proactive information to those customer facing employees who can most impact the customers experience within live journeys.
“By understanding what came before for that customer (and on which channels) leveraging journey analytics, marketers and customer experience professionals can gain a strategic advantage to those using old methods.”
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