We hear so much about the importance of collecting data in marketing. From tracking your website traffic to keeping tabs on your social stats, there’s a lot of data available to marketers.
This data is fantastic, but only if you know how to use it!
Data on its own is nothing more than fancy-looking numbers. It’s how we interpret it that makes the real difference.
When interpreting data, it’s best to look beyond the numbers. At Insights Lab, we like to look at data through a prism of the customer journey to help us give the data context. So we analyze each touchpoint along the customer journey – from the first time they see your brand online to the moment they purchase, looking at both what the data is telling us and the actions happening at each point.
The insights hiding in between these sweet spots are what changes your marketing game. Here’s why.
Why is mapping your customer journey so important?
Customer experiences don’t happen in silos. Throughout an experience with your customers interact with your brand through various touchpoints throughout (actually, way before and after that), your customers interact with your website, call center, or even good old paper mail.
Not every customer starts or ends their journey at the same place. While some will interact with specific touchpoints, others won’t. It’s essential to be aware of this, as specific touchpoints may have more influence than others.
Using your customer journey as a reference gives your data context. It explains why your data matters at a particular point of the customer lifecycle.
Data is an indicator of the processes that happen in your company and the changes that occur. So, for example, let’s say something in your business improves. The numbers go up, and maybe your trend graph gets colored green. Looks good. However, it’s not the green-colored result that we need. But instead, the action that caused that change. And this step is where the customer journey comes in.
There are many ways to name it: customer journey mapping, customer lifecycle, service blueprint, customer lifetime value, or sales funnel.
Each department and industry have their spin on it, but the general idea remains the same. Customer journeys represent a customer’s interaction with a business and the processes and experiences during that interaction.
Now, what does a customer’s journey have to do with data?
Think about the last time you ordered something online. Say it was to deliver flowers to your friend for their birthday. Your journey started with searching for flower shops in your area. From there, you visited a company’s website. You would have browsed around a bit and eventually selected your favorite bouquet and ordered it.
That’s the super-simplified version of what happened.
In reality, you probably had a few more steps in between. For example, you may have had to create an account (even if you were only planning on making a once-off purchase). Or, perhaps you didn’t receive the payment confirmation, so you called the flower shop to make sure that they got your order (so much for “experience,” right?)
Later, the flower shop sent you a photograph of your happy friend with the bouquet on the day of delivery. This photo made it all worth it, so you went back to their website and gave them a solid four out of five stars for effort!
If we look at this experience just from the data perspective, what we’ll see is the following:
- First, the website traffic increased (yay – thanks, Google).
- Then, some information on how long the customer spent on the website and what items they clicked on.
- Of course, the conversion rate when they made a purchase.
- And a bonus, a good review!
At first glance, these stats are great. But what this data doesn’t show us are the gaps in the customer experience that might be losing business. For example, customers’ irritation to create an account or their experience needing to confirm their order.
This report by PwC explains the importance of tracking the overall customer journey in numbers:
“In the U.S., even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience.
32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. In Latin America, 49% say they’d walk away from a brand after one bad experience.”
When the stakes are so high, it’s a good idea to look at what may influence your customer’s experience with your brand. And it starts by giving your data context.
Mapping your data against your customer journey gives your data context
Combining your data and customer journey gives you a better understanding of how your business is performing and where it might need improvement. Don’t get us wrong; data is incredible (we don’t call ourselves data geeks for no reason). But it doesn’t exist in isolation.
Data indicates the results of your actions, but to analyze the numbers, we need to look at your customer’s actions. The ‘why’ (context) behind the ‘what’ (data).’
When we match the data with each touchpoint on the customer journey timeline, we understand what action (or lack thereof) resulted in this metric going up or down and how it impacted the rest of the customer’s experience.
Here’s another example:
Say you have a great product, but your conversion rates are low. First, investigate why the conversion rates are down instead of rushing off to change the product itself. Perhaps that particular product is hidden away on your website, making it harder for customers to find. Moving the product to your homepage or higher up on your product list might just do the trick.
For this reason, we don’t look at metrics in isolation. But always in the context and as a combination of different activities. In most cases, this makes problem-solving a lot easier!
The ‘what’ makes no sense without the ‘why.’
We get it; digging in and figuring out the ‘why’ behind your data takes a bit more time than looking over a few graphs and pivot tables. But, trust it, it’s so worth it. Understanding your customer journey and why certain actions happen at specific touchpoints is best to optimize your overall marketing.
Doing so is how you create an experience that builds relationships, captures attention in all the right places, and moves your customers closer towards the end goal (making a purchase).
At Insights Lab, we love putting context behind data even more than we love the data itself (and we’re a bit data-obsessed). So, if you need some help with figuring out the ‘why’ behind your data, get in touch with us.