Customer Journey Personalization: 3 Easy Steps
Director of Content Marketing, Sigma
Nearly 75% of buyers expect vendors to personalize engagements to their needs, according to research by Salesforce in its second annual State of the Connect Consumer report. Personalization can take various forms, from consumer product recommendations based on a customer’s purchase history to ad campaigns designed specifically to engage company decision-makers.
Yet marketers across industries struggle to create content that connects with their customers. According to analyst research, only 5% of U.S. consumers say that email offers are well-timed with their needs. Why are marketers struggling?
Forrester’s research also revealed that businesses have, on average, 17 different technology applications leveraging customer data, with an average of 28 different data sources used for generating customer insights and customer engagement. One interviewee summed the difficulty up by saying, “The biggest challenge at this point is linking the data together.”
In this post, we examine why customer journey data presents such a complex problem and how customer journey analytics can help you create accurate maps and more personalized customer experiences.
of buyers expect vendors to personalize engagements to their needs
Why customer journey mapping is foundational to personalization
Businesses today use a growing number of channels to reach their customers — email, social media, traditional media, apps, field events, and more. The customer journey has become more complex as customer interactions with a brand become more dispersed across channels and devices throughout the full customer lifecycle.
While this diversity is essential to providing an experience that meets customers where they are, it means that companies are managing an unprecedented number of touchpoints. Customer journey mapping helps brands identify each touchpoint and understand what the customer journey looks like for each persona as it circuits through on its way to conversion.
Mapping benefits include but are not limited to:
Pinpointing where and how customers interact with your business
Helping identify if the current stages in the journey are optimal or even in the right order
Creating an outside in look at existing marketing and sales processes
Identifying gaps and opportunities to drive conversion
Getting a clear picture of the personal journey for each customer segment will allow you to see more distinctly how to reduce friction, increase lead volume, boost conversions, close deals faster, and see where opportunities lie for upsells, cross-sells, and additional purchases.
The challenge with constructing accurate customer journey maps
As noted in the introduction, businesses are struggling to gain an accurate picture of the customer journey due to the variety of touchpoints in the average journey today. A primary reason why understanding is so elusive is the overwhelming amount of data these various touch points generate.
You have customer data coming in from your social media platforms, all-in-one marketing software, Google Analytics, CRM, customer service software, and more. Typically, this data is siloed, making it very difficult to see a complete picture of the journey or mine it for the insights you need to optimize campaigns and experiences.
Without a holistic approach, it’s nearly impossible to see where and how you can improve for greater conversions and ROI. Let’s look at a process to wrangle this data so you can accurately map your customer journeys and personalize them more effectively.
How to master customer journey analytics
Building accurate customer journey maps depends on your ability to corral and master your data. Once you have your data under control, you can analyze it for insights. Based on those insights, you can then optimize your customer experiences and personalize your campaigns and content more effectively.
1. Wrangle your data
Start by identifying all your sources of customer data. Look at sources for each stage of the customer journey, from awareness to sales to repeat purchase, to churn. Consider the following:
- What platforms are prospective customers using to discover your brand?
- Where does a prospective customer first engage with your business?
- What tools do they use, and for how long?
- What are their behaviors on your website and/or app? How long do they typically stay in a session, what pages do they view, etc.?
- Where is your company storing data related to each type of marketing effort? Sales? Customer service?
2. Get a 360-degree view by centralizing your data in a cloud data warehouse
The 360-degree customer view is the “One Ring” for marketers — if you can get a hold of it, it’s magical, allowing you to accomplish not only personalizing the customer journey but improving company-wide productivity. But before you can get close to achieving a 360, you have to aggregate your data in a centralized location so you can work with it. This task is impossible without a data warehouse.
Cloud data warehouses (CDWs) like Snowflake and Amazon Redshift solve this challenge easily. In the CDW, you can collect and unify all data sources and types. It becomes the “single source of truth” for finding the most up-to-date information from any platform, software, or device. CDWs are easy to query, and they process data quickly, ensuring that you can work efficiently and get the insights you need when you need them.
3. Analyze customer data with a capable analytics platform
With your data centralized in a cloud data warehouse, you’re now ready to analyze it. But most BI tools weren’t designed for marketers — they require in-depth SQL skills that are the realm of data scientists. Without a tool that allows non-technical users to dive in and conduct their own analysis, you’ll be stuck waiting on a data expert to help you.
Tools like Sigma, however, eliminate the technical barriers, allowing you to use a spreadsheet-like interface to analyze even the largest datasets without writing SQL. You can combine data sources, build dashboards, create visualizations, and dive deeper into analysis when you have follow-up questions.
Personalize interactions to drive demand, revenue, and loyalty
With accurate data about your customer and a clear picture of their journey through each touchpoint, you can begin to personalize your marketing campaigns and content. For example, once you know which specific emails or ads are generating the greatest conversion rates at which stages, you can optimize your messaging across all your stages to reflect this insight.
For customers and prospects who have “identified” themselves through an email address submission or publicly-available corporate IP, you can personalize content even further, based on their purchase history or past actions on your site, app, or emails.
While a book’s worth of content could be written about personalization, here are a few resources to get your brain going on ways you can personalize your marketing campaigns and content:
If you want to learn more about how a modern marketing analytics platform like Sigma can empower your team, check out The Definitive Guide to Modern Marketing Analytics & BI.