As much as many marketers would prefer if their customers followed a predictable path to conversion, the truth is that consumers tend to do what they want, in any way that best suits them. Your customers will start their journey through the channel of their choice, with the device of their choice, at any time of the day or night.
When it comes to the creation of campaigns, marketers in the past have tended towards an inside facing out approach, creating a fairly rigid timeline of how they want customers to behave. Unfortunately, when customers deviate from this path of predicted behavior, they can become lost from view and your campaign ceases to be effective.
Instead, marketers now need to look from the outside in – where the customers are in charge and it’s up to organizations to facilitate their needs when and where they have them.
The creation of customer journeys, rather than linear campaigns, to establish a more holistic view of how different people really engage with your brand is a good place to start. It will enable the discovery of opportunities where marketers can step in to lend a helping hand, in real-time, to enhance the experience, rather than dictate what their next course of action needs to be.
A b2b site, for example, might encourage prospects to their site with an email about their latest blog post. After reading the article, they download an eBook to learn more about the company’s products and services. From there, they ask for a demonstration or trial, receive a sample or even ask for an exploratory call, which will (hopefully) lead on the road towards a purchase.
Of course, it doesn’t always work like that, in that order. The customer makes their own journey, which they can enter or exit at any point, at any step in your carefully laid plan in almost any order.
Alternatively, marketers should be looking for ways to support whatever journey a customer is on, with timely, relevant responses and engagements. Triggered messages are an effective way to reach out with a communication (often in real-time) when a customer most appreciates it.
These triggered messages can be personalized to reflect the appropriate stage a customer is at and some of the most obvious triggers relate to customer browsing behavior. For example, an email offering recommendations to complement their site search or most recent purchase can encourage cross- and up-selling, while a cart abandonment message might tempt a customer back who did not complete their purchase.
Other triggers can include launching a live chat option once a customer has spent time procrastinating on a certain page, or a pop-up promoting one of your eBooks if they’ve been researching your products. Similarly a subscription pop-up nicely overlaid on the site for data capture or real-time countdown timer to alert the user to the urgency of an offer can help the customer, whilst also benefitting the marketer.
Online gaming sites are a great example of a business that can benefit greatly from timed, personalized messages. Not just to congratulate players on a winning streak to encourage further play, but reassure (perhaps incentivize) those who aren’t doing so well and might otherwise churn.
While immediate intervention during a journey helps create a personalized, one-to-one experience for customers has the correct mix of relevance, timeliness and value, triggered messaging doesn’t always have to be instantaneous. For instance, a life-cycle message that brings attention to customer’s membership or purchase anniversary, birthday, product or service expiry can reengage with customers who may not have been seen for a while or celebrate those who have remained loyal to you over time.
The opportunities for intervention are broad and can be prompted by social mentions, real-world events and news, after leaving ratings and much more. As long as the trigger is based on data collected along the customer journey, with a contextually correct message to the appropriate channel, then you’ll be on the path to creating a responsive, valuable and engaging customer experience.
Watch the Intevening in the Customer Journey on-demand webinar.
Whereas the customer journey once began at the point of purchase, the use of anonymous data can now drive the customer experience earlier than ever possible. Listen as BlueVenn Prinicple Consultant Jim Kelly explains:
- The four ways of intervening in the customer’s journey to optimize purchases.
- How to combine batch and realtime capabilities to drive personalization.
- Key considerations for a personalization project.