Marketers from all industries agree that a cohesive customer journey across all touch points and channels is essential. The classic customer journey map, however, is no longer applicable in our ever-evolving digital environment. Why? Because the consumer journey is no longer a straight line. Today’s customer journey is much more complex than ever before.
Non-linear journeys are the new normal
Today’s modern buyers are in control. Due to the plethora of information available on the internet and the ability to connect with nearly everyone in the world, customers are no longer following a linear customer journey path with a clear start, center and end.
This updated buying process makes people go back and forth between ads, forums, social media sites, emails, blogs, etc. because today’s customers are never on a predetermined path – they are strictly unpredictable. This is a good thing, however, as brands that try to understand and harness the customer journey by trying to control the process, run the risk of catching their customers and losing them.
Every customer is different and has their own set of needs, wants, preferences and behavioural patterns. Brands need to see customers as people and appreciate that each relationship will be different. In the modern age, the journey now has constant motion, with the course firmly in the customers’ hands. By making this change, a brand can start to make meaningful relationships and become more relevant in the modern, multi-channel world.
Embrace the massive opportunities in omnichannel marketing
Being multi-chain means expanding your customer service efforts across several platforms, which can be a daunting task. But think of this as an opportunity for brands to emerge as innovators and customer service leaders in their industries, following the customer journey to buy and adapt your product or service messages for maximum commitment and impact. The availability and versatility of a brand can often say more about the brand than the products or services it offers.
The Customer Has Taken the Wheel in the Buyer’s Journey
Brands who previously were able to define a customer journey, maybe even map it out on their websites in a linear fashion, now face a new reality. They no longer possess the means to dictate how a customer interacts with them. In today’s market, the customer has the reins and brands are simply along for the ride. To show you what we mean, here are a few examples:
- An auto dealer client added online video to their digital marketing mix with Genius Monkey and saw that the number of touch points needed to obtain a conversion reduced by about 10%.
- A state college that added OTT into the mix saw a reduction in the amount of time it took their average user to convert.
- An e-commerce client that wanted to experiment with native ads saw a 15% increase in total sales.
What does this mean? It means every business is different, every client is different, so you should always be evolving and experimenting with what your audience engages with best. Try different mediums, try different campaign types, creative types, budget allocations, targeting options etc. Just. stay. changing.
Learn to Evolve Customer Interactions
Customers know that if a brand doesn’t engage with them on their terms and when and where they want, another brand will. Brands are all on a level playing field, customers won’t discriminate between those that offer Twitter as a means of customer service and those that only use it as a ‘broadcast’ platform.
So how do you build a multi-channel strategy when customer interaction could span departments and multiple channels, with the customer stopping and starting whenever they wish?
- Design a good experience – A good experience is important and it’s necessary. Change is here and needs to be accepted. Being able to attribute cost to specific channels is becoming an archaic way of thinking and can lead to poor decision making and resources being allocated inefficiently. Marketers need to think big picture and long term if they wish to to truly bring in (and retain) ideal customers.
- Choose the right partner(s) – A large number of digital marketing vendors, or even some of the so-called programmatic vendors out there claim to be diverse in their media buying tactics, but are really only white labeling or using on DSP. Using one DSP is not an agnostic approach that is going to allow you to reach your audience on different mediums, at different times. Thus, you need to be careful in finding a partner like Genius Monkey that truly brings in all available impressions on all devices through many different DSPs, SSPs, and private deals so that you can really be non-linear in your marketing approach.
The traditional paradigm has shifted and is continuously evolving. The pressure exerted from omni-channel advancements is leaving many brands behind. While many argue that technological advancements are driving this change, it’s a lot more than the fact we have hand held internet access at all times. Multi-channel is just the label given to the solution of meeting modern customer needs. Choosing to take this approach means putting customer-centric thinking at the heart of each channel’s strategy.
Customer-centric journeys pave a path
The traditional customer journey is slowly dying out. To keep up with your competitors, you need to recognize the changes in the digital marketing world and the importance of non-linear customer journeys. Most importantly, do not forget that it is a never-ending and continuous process. Your relationship with the customer doesn’t end once they’ve converted. If you’ve marketed wisely, that’s just the beginning of a long and fruitful customer journey that can carry on endlessly as long as your brand continues to evolve in order to meet the consumer needs.