Enhance the customer journey with data-driven personalization
If you want to encourage customer loyalty, it is important to make sure that your customer journey is fully optimized. Today’s customers are looking for engaging, personalized, and streamlined buying experiences across multiple channels and devices. For your customer journey to stand out, there are several key elements you need to adopt. In this blog post, we explore one of them: data-driven personalization.
What is the customer journey?
As its name suggests, the customer journey is the end-to-end path your users take through the buying process. For each company, there are a number of phases that buyers need to pass through as they develop their relationship with your brand. The final goal of the journey from your brand’s perspective is customer trust, loyalty, and advocacy.
Think, for example, of a brand you have recently started using as a customer yourself. There was probably a time when you had not heard of them, and now, after a unique process, you may already have recommended the company to friends and family. This process is the customer journey.
The five steps of the customer journey
How does a customer move from first hearing about your company to becoming a loyal buyer, with a strong connection to your brand? Here are the five steps you want your customers to go through:
1. Exposure, or Awareness
This is the moment at which the customer first hears about your brand. This can be through a number of channels, including online advertising, word-of-mouth, or your appearance on search engines. To succeed here, you need to make sure your company stands out, and that the first impression you leave is positive.
In this phase, the customer decides where to purchase a product or service, and whether it will be from your company. If your offer is strong, appealing, and trustworthy they will be more likely to choose your brand. Backing up your claims with positive and reliable customer reviews is especially important for online purchasing decision-making. Making use of Cialdini's principles of influence is one way of doing that. To learn more about that, read this article on how to boost conversations with Cialdini's persuasion types [ including examples].
At this point, the customer makes the purchase. It is important to make this step a positive experience, too. You can do this in different ways, for example, by offering convenient payment methods, using a friendly tone of voice, and following up with quick post-purchase confirmation emails.
The customer is now using your product or service. They may be in touch with your support team if they require assistance. At this stage of the journey, you will want to keep them engaged, for example, by sending emails with special news or offers aimed at promoting their loyalty to your brand.
As a loyal supporter of your brand, the customer now advocates for your brand, telling his or her family and friends about it, and perhaps posting reviews online. If their experience has been negative - for example, if your support team did not respond to a query - they will spread that message too.
What is a customer journey touchpoint?
Throughout the five steps of the journey, touchpoints are the moments at which a customer comes into contact with you. For example, they may see an advert or click on your name on a search engine. These moments are pivotal for your success with an individual customer and can determine how they view your brand in both the long- and short-term.
Why is the customer journey so important?
The customer journey is becoming more significant than ever; it plays a large role in your company’s success. Why is this? Firstly, an optimized customer journey helps you to gain and retain customers. If the path from exposure to purchase is clear, smooth, enjoyable, and effective, more customers are likely to follow that route. As you gain more loyal customers, your reputation will grow through their advocacy and word-of-mouth. Overall, this means you can increase your reputation and revenue, growing as a company.
For any company, the customer is king. So, ensuring your customers have an effortless and engaging journey throughout their contact with your brand is vital. There is simply no excuse for neglecting this aspect of your business.
Improving your customer journeys through personalization
How can you take your customer journey to the next level? Our answer: data-driven personalization. By offering your customer a journey tailored to their personal interests and needs, you can grab their attention and make conversions more likely. For example, you can show customer-specific landing pages on your site, with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm using predictive modeling to work out which product a customer will be more likely to purchase. You can integrate this throughout your whole website. All it requires is the adoption of data software and marketing automation tools.
Personalization: an essential aspect of digital marketing
Today, personalized customer journeys are no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. According to a recent study by McKinsey, digital marketing is dominated by personalization, with:
- Over 70% of today’s customers expect personalized interactions with companies
- Almost 80% are frustrated when they do not receive personalization
- Over 75% of consumers said that personalized communication was a key factor in their purchasing decision
These statistics show beyond doubt that customers want companies to speak to them directly: they expect you to know their wants and needs before providing them. In other words, they want to feel special. You can give them this feeling in different ways, from a product recommendation that suits them perfectly to a ‘Did you forget?’ basket reminder with a special offer, or a consistent experience across all channels and devices. Personalization helps to foster the relationship between customer and brand, which in turn helps to promote loyalty and trust.
Integrating data into your customer journey
If you want to create personalized customer journeys, you need to integrate data into your marketing strategy. By collecting, analyzing, and using the vast amount of customer data that is available, you can create tailored experiences for each customer. For example, if you use a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to collect and hold all of your external and internal data in a single location, you can view a 360-degree profile of any customer. You can create distinct segments within your customer base too. This means you can send specific content to certain groups, use data to create personalized messages, or recommend a product to interested parties. You can even use predictive modeling tools to make forecasts about consumer behavior: for example, you might see that a customer is more likely to spend money online, and send them a targeted email with a discount on your site. The customer will feel seen and heard, while you will have gained a loyal and happy buyer. If you want to find out more about the possibilities of a CDP, read What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?.
3 benefits of personalized customer journeys
What are the benefits of integrating data in your customer journey strategy? Here are three:
1. Offer customers journeys that speak to them
Through data, your customer’s buying journey will be fully tailored to their individual wants and needs, making them more likely to complete the journey.
2. Save time through marketing automation
If you begin using data to personalize the customer journey, you can also start adopting marketing automation. This means that the software can automatically perform tasks that you were doing manually before. For example, it can send personalized response emails to customer queries, or even show a landing page tailored to certain prospects. All of this will help you save time and increase revenue. Curious? Read more about The advantages of marketing automation for the customer journey.
3. Boost your business with data
Once you have adopted this level of data for your business, there is no looking back. If you use a CDP, your data will be accessible to everyone in your company, from the marketers to the strategists. This means you can make data-driven decisions, pushing your company forwards.
Taking your customer journeys to the next level
If you want to stand out on the market and take your marketing strategy to the next level, start using data to enhance your customer journeys. This approach offers you all the tools you need to increase your revenue, grow as a business, and promote more happy, loyal, and connected customers for your company.
Are you looking to enhance your customer journeys with data? Explore all the possibilities for yourself by trying out Datatrics for free.