It is almost a given for a brand today to monitor its consumers across the journeys they take to purchase and beyond. Most companies have realised the importance to do so and many are already doing it. But very few succeed to ‘pick’ what matters, generate the relevant insights and be able to ‘orchestrate’ these journeys to their advantage.
One of the big tasks for a brand rests on delivering a great experience to its consumers. That experience should drive engagement and enable actions.
By delivering a great experience, essentially a brand is trying to remove any tension or friction between the consumer and itself. Brands have realised that a zero tension consumer experience associated with the desired behaviour is the key to a winning strategy.
When we say consumer experience we mean the end-to-end experience, different from the term ‘user experience’, which is a more individual interaction. A consumer’s journey is typically a series of steps from awareness or discovery, to purchase and beyond.
So how do we ensure we are on top of our consumers’ journeys?
Firstly, it is critical to get all the unstructured and structured data analysed to see the touch points your consumers are using. It could be searching on a search engine, visiting a website, walking into a store, calling a call centre… or even interacting with your brand’s representative.
You will need to study to find out which interaction is leading to what result. Remember, though these are individual touch points they should not be seen in silos, but holistically. Brainstorm and analyse what your consumers think and feel about you, talk about you, research, explore and finally prefer you over others.
Secondly, identify and try to resolve their needs, especially the unmet ones, whether through a great new solution, a sudden delight, a creative use of technology or by simply reinventing how they interact with you. Essentially, think of ways to disrupt their journey. Remember, transactions are strongly associated with actions like purchase, repeat purchase, brand buzz, loyalty, advocacy etc.
Consumer experiences are getting more social in nature, which is adding complexity to brand functions. Organisations have to integrate their business systems to ensure the experience their consumers have across channels is consistent and superior. Building a strong consumer experience should be the top priority for all executives. It creates value for the consumer. This value comes from the experience the consumer has with the brand and is an all-encompassing one – from customer service to product usage, quality, reliability etc.
Being able to see the consumer journeys from a unified view, across all the touch points, can help brands gain a strong advantage, especially in three areas:
1. Knowing what motivates and drives consumers to take certain actions
What you need to consider is creating a comprehensive consumer journey map linking each touchpoint with the action desired.
You may discover how users coming from ‘offer related’ keywords act differently on a review page as supposed to users who aren’t price conscious and hence stay there longer.
2. Getting to know which channels work better
What you need to consider is building a simple slide to show what each channel is delivering. Simply categorise the channels basis their objective, then have two columns against each – conversion and revenue. This will help you determine where to allocate the budget and KPIs.
Simply categorise the channels on the basis of their objectives, then have two columns against each – conversion and revenue. This will help you determine where to allocate the budget and KPIs.
You may discover that a simple influencer campaign drove more conversions but less revenue as opposed to a contextual search targeting.
3. Disrupt the consumer journey with innovative and creative data-driven messaging
What you need to consider is finding ways to delight the consumer and be able to orchestrate their journey.
You may realise that a quick targeted ‘Get a friend along – Get an upgrade’ mobile campaign to offer seat upgrades on match day, will not only fill your stadium but also generate additional revenues.
Once consumer journeys are mapped and understood, you will be in a position to segregate them in clusters – based on behaviour. This behavioural data along with the understanding of the reasons behind that behaviour is a wonderful combination. Behaviour + Attitudinal insights.
One telco once confessed that more than three-fourths of the consumers who churned a particular month had actually visited their ‘how to close an account’ tab 2-3 weeks before quitting. Pity, the brand couldn’t use this intelligence.
Consumer journeys today are key to how consumers experience a brand as their experience benchmark has been set by great companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.
This experience is not one-off or tactical, but a much larger, long-term one. An experience that travels beyond purchase. After all, consumer journeys are an end to end affair.
Summing up some key points:
1. Think about consumer journeys and always aim to create value for consumers.
2. Apart from delivering a great product, generate an experience that’s superlative.
3. Do what you need to do to understand your consumer’s needs – expressed or unexpressed.
4. Put down a consumer journey map, starting from where your consumers begin their journey (not from where your brand is visible).
5. Measure the above across touch points and then find unique disruptions that will delight your users with additionally.
6. Continue to build and improve, as your consumer journeys increasingly get non-linear, fragmented and unexpected.
Hope this finds value and helps in your efforts to perfect your consumer’s experience, and that you are watching them and building meaningful insights!
Do share your own experiences or concerns in the comments section below.