Last week I sent out a team email which attempted to simply explain how to use the new office alarm system. Half an hour later I received a tongue in cheek reply all email with a user journey attached. My convoluted email had been turned into a user journey which instantly explained in a far simpler and more concise manner exactly what to do whatever the alarm eventuality! It was a bit of fun that made a clear point.
The simplest way to understand a customer journey is to create that journey visually and to elaborate all the possible permutations of this.
Over the last few years I have had several moments when I wonder whether I have missed the point. This typically happens when a new marketing term becomes the currency of the day. Customer experience was one of those.
However, we marketers have always been focused on customer experience. We have talked for years about 360 degree experiences: bringing a brand to life across its relevant customer touch points in a consistent and engaging way. The new focus on customer experience is however much more all-encompassing, more about a whole business approach than just a marketing one. The power of CX for me lies in its simplicity, its ability to take something that appears at first glance highly complex and muddled and to de-complexify and unravel this.
So, this ‘new’ shiny marketing term is actually an evolution. An important step forward to making what we do more scientific and measurable.
In the past we created brand experiences which were activated across a typical customer’s touchpoints but we had limited and variable data to verify, analyse, track what we were doing. We oftentimes operated in a bit of a vacuum with limited feedback on whether or not we were achieving our goals. If we were hoping for an immediate increase in sales then it was evident, but tracking awareness, engagement etc involved budget for research so we would often move forward slightly in the dark with our fingers crossed.
Now of course we have the data at our fingertips. We develop personas and user journeys and create campaigns which bring the brand to life throughout the customer lifecycle. Best of all we can track the customers’ response, tweak the campaign creative or the media placement to drive the results we want.
Increasingly we are developing personas and user journeys for all the communications work we do. As the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, user journeys help us to see the opportunities and the best times in a customer’s journey to engage with an existing/potential customer whether we be creating an influencer campaign, paid social or offline media.
Data has given us the ability to track, monitor and personalise communication for groups of customers like never before and that of course is exciting. However, the human element - the emotion - in some ways becomes even more important than it ever has been. If we lose sight of this we risk a great deal. Many consumers are alarmed by programmatic advertising, it makes them feel de-humanised, tracked, spied on. It’s the creative that has the power to counter balance this, to engage with the consumer so powerfully that they let the ‘data threat’ go.
At KISS, we are in the business of identifying, mapping, crafting and integrating the experience a customer has of a brand across the entire customer lifecycle. We have a responsibility as marketers not only to get the CX right but to insist that advertisers don’t overlook creativity in their quest for science and data.