When did you last buy something online or in a brick-and-mortar store? Which factors influenced your decision? What process have you undergone before the choice?
Answering these questions is the best way to put yourself in the shoes of any customer.
Believe it or not, each user passes the same stages before making a purchase – this process is called a customer journey.
This article explores how data helps to investigate a customer journey in detail. It also explains how to design a data-driven customer journey and refine marketing campaigns.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Customer Journey?
- Tools for Customer Data Collection and Integration
- Types of Customer Journey Maps
- How to Create a Data-Driven Customer Journey Map
- Implementing the Data-Driven Approach
- Measuring Success and ROI
What Is a Customer Journey?
Centuries ago, people spent days getting to central markets in order to buy even ordinary things. The situation wasn’t much better in the previous century. So, this is where the customer journey term originates because it’s associated with traveling.
Today, people don’t even have to go outside to buy things. A smartphone in one hand and a cup of coffee in another – this is how a modern customer journey starts.
Marketing experts define 5 principal stages of the #eCUSTOMER_JOURNEY:
- Awareness. This is the departure point where a user sees a social media ad, a blog post, or a YouTube video and thus becomes aware of your brand’s existence. Marketers use digital or print media channels to inform the world about their products and services.
- Consideration. This stage is probably the most important one. At this point, you must convince a customer that your product or service is the best among other alternatives. Personalized emails, short presentations, and how-to articles could reveal the value of your product.
- Onboarding. Once a user decides to make a purchase, they convert into a customer. During onboarding, a company presents its products via demo sessions or webinars.
- Retention. Customer retention isn’t less important than their acquisition. Provide engagement for your clients by sending promotional emails with exclusive offers and reasonable discounts.
- Advocacy. At this stage, your customers become your brand ambassadors by praising your product by word of mouth.
Using customer reactions and personal data at any stage helps marketers create suitable activities and select proper communication channels.
Tools for Customer Data Collection and Integration
The marketing theory states that people react both to external and internal stimuli when planning a purchase. External factors are the 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) designed individually by each company. Political, economic, cultural, and social circumstances impact customer decisions from outside, too. Internal factors are also known as the ‘black box’ containing the personal values, motivations, and lifestyle of each person.
Previously, it was hard to solve the riddle of the ‘black box’ and read between the lines to find out customer desires. Modern tools allow marketers to open a secret chamber and stop running around in circles. They help to design a data-driven journey for prospects and build long-term customer relationships.
Such tools are classified into the following categories:
- CRM systems – store customer and prospect data.
- Customer data platforms (CDPs) – contain data on all touchpoints and interactions with the company.
- Data integration tools – bring all the customer-related data stored on different sources into a single source of truth (data warehouse, CRM, etc.).
- Analytics tools – derive data-driven insights based on behavioral, transactional, and identity customer data.
CRM systems and CDP platforms collect and save data on customer identity and online behavior. However, data scattered across platforms doesn’t contribute to the design of a data-driven customer journey. One of the possible solutions is to consolidate data from various sources within a data warehouse or CRM.
- Data warehouse. Very often, companies use a data warehouse to copy all data from the marketing-related sources there. That way, it becomes a single source of truth for marketing data, which can be further analyzed on the basis of a DWH.
- CRM. In some cases, a CRM becomes a single source of truth with all information about customers and marketing incentives. To bring that data from multiple locations to a CRM, use third-party data integration tools.
Whether you decide to consolidate your data in a DWH or CRM, Skyvia comes into play.
Skyvia is a no-code cloud data platform for quick and easy solving of a wide set of data-related tasks. In the context of customer data consolidation, the following Skyvia’s scenarios would be the most applicable:
- Import. Skyvia can ingest customer data from different marketing apps or databases (Salesforce, HubSpot, Dynamics 365, NetSuite, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.) and send it to CRM to make it a place where all the customer-related data is stored.
- Replicate. The system sends customer data from selected apps to a data warehouse (Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Azure Synapse Analytics), where it could be further used for analysis.
- Data Flow and Control Flow. These scenarios are designed for building complex integration scenarios with several sources and destinations involving advanced data transformations.
Skyvia easily connects to popular modern marketing apps as well as databases, data warehouses, SaaS, file storage services, and analytics tools. Overall, Skyvia has 180+ connectors available.
Start using Skyvia for free and select the pricing plan according to your data operation capacities!
Types of Customer Journey Maps
Let’s switch from theory to practice and see how to build customer journey maps using data. Before planning a regular touristic trip, you most likely also look at the map before embarking on it. The same goes for customer journeys – you must design a map and plan an approximate route there.
The most popular customer journey maps:
- Current-state. This is the most common map type as it shows the current impressions of customers from interacting with your brand. They reveal what customers feel, think, and do when they come across your company’s products.
|What do customers think?
|What are the customer’s actions?
|What is the touchpoint
|What needs to be changed?
|How to make the change?
- Day-in-the-life. Similarly to the current-state map type, it shows the customer’s feelings and thoughts. It also depicts the motivations and pain points of the target audience, which opens up opportunities for innovation and improvement.
|What do customers think or feel?
|What are the customer priorities?
|What are the customer’s pain points?
|How do customers interact with a brand now?
|How could the product be utilized better now?
- Future-state. This map reveals the feelings and actions of consumers in the future. It also indicates what exactly will be changed and how it will be different from the current state.
|What will customers think?
|How will the customers act?
|What will be the touchpoint?
|How will this be different from the current state?
|Why will this alter the customer journey?
- Service blueprint. This diagram looks into the customer experiences during the first three stages of their journey. It also discovers the roots of their pain points.
|What does a customer feel?
|Why does a customer have this feeling?
|How to communicate with the customer?
|What action to take in the background?
To be able to give answers to all the above questions, you’ll need data and a technological base for that.
How to Create a Data-Driven Customer Journey Map
To craft a comprehensive customer journey map based on data, consider the following activities.
Step 1. Collect Data
Use CRMs, websites, social media platforms, and other sources to gather customer data. They collect personal information as well as contact details of new visitors and existing customers.
The cherry on the pie of the data collection is the behavioral patterns of customers. Those are registered in Google Analytics for the website and transactional databases. Understanding user behavior is a key factor in developing a personalized approach and constructing a route on the map.
Step 2. Prepare Data
Raw data coming from all those sources doesn’t have much value initially. It’s essential to sort, cleanse, and transform data before its aggregation in a data warehouse. Carry out such operations with data integration tools like Skyvia and data warehouse platforms like Amazon Redshift or Google BigQuery.
Step 3. Analyze Data
At this stage, analytics tools reveal the entering and exit points of existing customers or prospects. They also reveal customers’ behavior on the website, social media, and other company resources.
Step 4. Discover Touchpoints
Detailed analysis reveals which platforms your audience uses when interacting with your brand. Put this information on a customer journey map to determine which communication channels to put effort into.
Step 5. Interact with Customers
Once you know your consumers’ choices and preferences, it’s time to develop a personalized journey. Depending on the case, you can invest in targeted ads, social media ads, email campaigns, pop-up notifications, YouTube channel development, etc., to boost conversions.
Having all this information at your disposal, filling in the customer journey map is a piece of cake.
Implementing the Data-Driven Approach
Before benefiting fully from the customer journey map creation, encourage your company to implement a data-driven approach. This means trust in the data analytics results and being ready to innovate.
Find the fundamental steps to introduce and promote a data-driven culture within an organization.
- Leadership. Communicate with your team members about the importance of analytical tools and their benefits. Ensure all team members have a shared vision of the company goals and actions leading to their achievement.
- Training. Plan training sessions for the team, explaining how to use tools and derive value from data. Hire professionals for new roles to help drive innovation.
- Tools. Provide a detailed overview of the available software tools or cloud platforms promoting the data-driven approach.
- Processes. Establish the workflows for data collection, cleaning, and analysis.
- Results. Define metrics for evaluating the data-driven approach in building customer journey maps.
Measuring Success and ROI
To make sure you’re moving in the right direction, the evaluation of the data-driven customer journey impact on your business is inevitable.
The ROI indicator is the most popular and well-known metric for that, and you must already know how to calculate it. However, there are other important metrics that will help you measure the efficiency of marketing efforts.
This metric shows how often your content appears for users on search engines. Having a high impression rate is critically important in the awareness stage so that potential customers can be acquainted with your brand.
Time on page
This KPI value reflects how your website visitors interact with each web page. If the time on the page is too low, it might mean that it isn’t informative enough or is poorly designed. In that case, a data-driven approach will help you to optimize such web pages.
This metric shows the ratio between the total number of page visitors and those who made a purchase.
To discover the current retention rate, calculate the ratio of active customers to all customers that ever existed. If it’s not high enough, invest in engagement by offering discounts for next orders, special offers, personalized packaging, and anything else that a data-driven approach suggests.
Customer satisfaction rate
According to Salesforce, 80% of customers consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products. A high CSAT is vital because it impacts your brand reputation and determines customer loyalty.
Whether people make conscious or spontaneous buying decisions, they always follow the same route. First, they become aware of a product and decide whether to buy it and remain loyal to a brand.
To make more people aware of your company and encourage them to purchase something, design a customer journey map first. It reflects what customers want, think, do, feel, and how they can contact a brand.
Marketers rely on a data-driven approach to craft a refined customer journey map. Start with a series of internal communications and the implementation of suitable CRM systems, email automation software, analytics programs, and data integration services.
As the data integration tool is an intermedium between all other components of the toolkit, making the right choice matters. Thus, consider that Skyvia does everything necessary to prepare your data for analysis. You can just rest on your laurels and obtain data-driven insights for your business!