You see lot of consultants preaching about the virtues of customer journey mapping – almost like customer journeys are the raison d’être for organizations. But should you really spend countless hours drawing paths and writing post-it notes about the possible customer interactions?
Let’s first delve a bit deeper into customer journeys. Journey mapping is generally seen as a tool for improving customer experience (and thus, increasing sales). Journey mapping is nothing new – it’s just a bit sexier name for defining customer processes. However, some people claim that the processes aren’t linear anymore (due to multiple touch points across channels) and so they prefer journey metaphor. But everybody seems to agree that journey mapping is about finding out the phases and touch points in a customer’s journey. And that is the biggest fault in the world of customer journeys.
Customers do not know they’re on a journey – you have to create the journey for them! A journey that is so smooth they necessarily don’t even realize being on one. And if you do it right, you’re actually providing value at every encounter – helping your customers to cut through the digital noise (you still have to think from the customer’s perspective though). This is the greatness of digital customer engagement. Still puzzled? Let’s take a look at a fictitious example:
This is Timo. He’s the genius who invented a virtual reality headset company virtualit.io. Timo’s company turns boring telco & video meetings into forests, war bunkers and space stations – with custom-made avatars of your choice. Lately the growth of virtualit.io has been stellar, but it wasn’t always as easy.
A couple of years ago nothing was clear. The product got great reviews from the Finnish pilot clients, but soon Timo realized that the Finnish market wasn’t large enough. He tried to contact the target clients abroad to set up meetings, but it proved to be difficult. He knew that he needed to find a number of mobilizers inside organizations before there was enough traction for VR. So he wanted to go big. Or at least make virtualit.io to look big – with a limited budget.
How did he do it?
He started by breaking the silos between sales, marketing and IT. This meant creation of a growth hacking team that included a cross-breed of people from different units: marketing professionals, product owners, data analysts, techies and sales engineers. Next, the team determined a technology stack that would provide tools to cover all channels on the customer journey (e-mail, display, website, social media etc). They also created a set of dashboards that collected data across the channels.
For a customer, the journey started with account-based marketing on paid channels (the best way to go big with a limited budget). Based on customer IP-address, virtualit.io was able to show ads just for prospects in target companies. Suddenly middle management in these target companies felt the presence of virtualit.io all over the internet (middle managers were the #1 focus segment since they spend 127% of their time in boring meetings). This approach helped to create awareness and drive traffic to the website.
The next step was personalization of virtualit.io website for each visitor in real-time. If a person from a target company went to virtualit.io, the general tag line “VR is your PR” would change to industry-specific customer success stories (with links to downloadable material) – something that provided value for the customer at the first sight. This personalization tactic generated a vast amount of leads from relevant companies.
After they had identified leads, the journey continued across channels – in Facebook, outbound e-mail and sales calls. For instance, the leads were put in a nurturing program that sent e-mails with links to already existing content. Based on the link clicks, the journey continued in social media too. All the information gathered during the journey was finally transfered to the sales engineer taking the first call.
Does this all sound a bit too optimistic? It surely takes time to get far with journey management – but the truth is that customers aren’t that often on a journey. And even if they are, you should provide them with signs that guide them to the right direction!
If you want to see concrete examples, take a look at our B2B engagement tactics gallery.