The customer journey is complex — spanning platforms, touchpoints, and points of purchase. As much as we might like to think this path is linear and easy to predict, the hard truth is that the customer journey is always evolving — especially as people’s intents and go-to channels change.
That means, to most effectively understand and reach customers along that journey, marketers need to be tracking journey analytics.
As Simone Drei, Head of Optimization at BitBang said: “If you want to properly work on journeys, you need to analyze the behaviors of your customers through each different touchpoint and define a strategic plan of interaction with them, considering also which are going to be the most probable future interactions. Only in this way can you deliver the best possible experience.”
While Forrester has been reporting on customer journey analytics for years, many brands are still grasping the importance of these metrics in building customer-first marketing strategies. That is, they’re pushing brand goals more than actually considering the needs of their audiences.
“If we insist on trying to force our traffic through paths defined by us instead of listening to [customers] and letting them be in control, we’ll end up providing bad journeys, which means bad experiences, frustration, and less money for our company,” Drei added.
If this sounds like your business, it’s not too late to adapt. But it is time to make a strategic shift from a brand-first perspective to a customer-first approach. And you can do that by tracking customer journey analytics.
Here’s what you need to know.
Journey analytics are metrics that you gather from customer behaviors across multiple touchpoints. These analytics shed a light on customer intent and activity along their path to purchase and beyond.
Take a fashion retailer, for example. A customer might take the following steps along their customer journey:
Each stage of that journey is important, signifying a unique intent and interaction. To more effectively meet and move the customer along that path, the brand must be able to track their experience each step of the way. They can only do so with journey analytics.
Journey analytics are important because they allow brands to gather data from each customer’s journey in real time. With this information at their fingertips, marketers can adapt their content across touchpoints, delivering more personalized, intuitive, and seamless experiences.
“Customer journeys change very rapidly,” Drei said. “Once you find an interesting use case, it’s probably already too late to manually do something with it. To really harness the full potential of customer journeys, it’s necessary to evolve to journey orchestration, which adds automation. This is the real key to success.”
So instead of using a rigid model for these journeys — and hoping customers follow them precisely — marketers can be more flexible in how and where they meet customers online and offline.
This customer-centric approach doesn’t just help the buyer, either. It also helps the brand increase acquisition and reduce operational costs, since they’ll be cutting out unnecessary steps in the journey and proactively helping customers reach their goals. In fact, with the right journey analytics and tools, brands can even predict what their customers will need next, so they can meet them with content and campaigns that match their specific intent and, ultimately, drive results.
If a finance brand, for example, sees that a customer is searching for information about loans on their website, they can trigger real-time notifications or emails about loan options, including a call-to-action that helps the customer take the next step in their journey.
The process of tracking journey analytics might sound complex, but it is doable. And, most importantly, it’s necessary to drive engagement and revenue.
You just need the right tool to help you gather, manage, and leverage these metrics across touchpoints. So you can see exactly how audiences are behaving and build predictive models to anticipate what they might do next.
To learn more about tracking journey analytics, register to our upcoming webinar on the importance of customer-led journeys — and acquiring the tools to help you understand them.