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Creating an effective omnichannel Customer Journey using Microsegments

Customers expect to be able to mold their personal experience with a brand to meet their exact requirements, and in the current climate that means a seamless online buying experience. As they go meandering through seemingly unlimited marketing channels – perhaps browsing on a mobile device, hitting independent review sites, heading into a store to examine the product (remember that time?!), before summoning up a discount code and placing an order over the phone – the marketer’s challenge is to keep up with the customer, and predict these outcomes in advance so they can deliver the best customer experience at scale.

How can marketers stay one-step ahead of this seemingly random journey to push the customer towards a purchase? How can they measure what effect marketing efforts are having on the customer experience?

Here we look at three important concepts that marketers need to consider to be able to evolve from a multi-channel campaign mindset to an always-on, omnichannel customer journey approach to marketing:

1. Measuring intention

Although there’s still a place for traditional campaign metrics like clicks, opens, responses or conversions, they no longer form the full picture that a modern marketer needs to see when thinking about a full customer journey. Instead, marketers need to think about the cumulative impact of the full customer experience, and one great way of understanding your customer’s intentions is to measure the outcome of each customer journey step for those who did progress through the journey step, and those that didn’t.

It’s a fairly simple thing to do (it could be ‘did the customer complete a purchase?’ or ‘did the customer click on the transactional email?’). So rather than looking for a volume of clickers on a solus email, to measure the marketing team’s own success, this different way of thinking is focused more on the customer and can be used to identify the pivotal touch-points. At BlueVenn we define this as ‘Progression’ or ‘Aversion’:

  • Progression: The metric used to measure the impact of a step in a customer journey on customers that did what you wanted.
  • Aversion: The metric used to measure the impact of a step in a customer journey on customers that did not do what you wanted.

To measure intention in this way, marketers can look at click stream data, engagement, timing and value metrics to understand the level of success delivered by the journey and the value of customers as they move through it. In case you’re wondering to what degree a customer’s brand experience and lifetime value are linked, one Harvard Business Review study, ‘The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified‘, found that where a customer had enjoyed what they classed as a first rate experience with a brand, according to subjective measures like the NPS, they were likely to spend 140% more than people who said they’d had a poor experience.

2. Building microsegments

Marketers have long used sociodemographic factors (such as age, gender, family size and income) to segment their customers to shape their marketing strategies. Now, thanks to data unifying technologies such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), first, second and third party data can be combined in one place to enrich a brand’s view of its customers. The explosion of big data has provided brands with access to huge volumes of behavioral data, too.

This behavioral data, such a purchase history, website viewing history, cart abandonment habits and so on, has enabled the creation of detailed personas and far more specific microsegments for precision campaigns. Customers might be placed in a microsegment depending on which device they use most heavily, what time they tend to visit a brand’s site or open their emails, or the channel which they prefer to receive marketing messages on. These microsegments give insights, not only into a customer’s persona, but how they like to be treated or approached, based on the way that they act.

You can measure engagement, timing and value metrics for all your microsegments, comparing the performance of progression or aversion in your customer journeys against the average for each microsegment.

From this, you can learn whether you are outperforming the average, or perhaps under-performing with too many aversive customers.

It gives you the knowledge to:

  • Create tactics for to optimize the revenue from your progressive customers, that is identify any needs they may have and attempt to meet them.
  • Craft ‘lookalike segments’ of people worth targeting, who share key characteristics or behavioral traits with the brand’s best customers, and who therefore might respond positively to special offers or promotions.
  • Identify the negative experiences that your aversive customers have had, then improve these measurably over time to encourage better outcomes.

3. Cross-journey communication

As part of an omnichannel customer journey, marketers require the ability to conduct a single, holistic conversation with each individual. Take, for example, a customer who has just received a positive communication from a brand because they appeared to be in a ‘loyalty behavior’ stage of their journey.

However, they received this message shortly after emailing the company to complain about a recent purchase. The customer, understandably, is confused to the point where any positive intent from the original message is negated, and they might even be moved to make a second complaint about the perceived ignorance of the customer’s negative feelings towards the brand.

This is an incident where a customer has ‘fallen through the cracks’ between touchpoints, a situation that could have been avoided with cross-journey communication, where one important piece of behavioral data can alter the rest of the journey, in real-time, and leave the customer with a more positive impression of their experience.

Cross-journey communication is like applying a metaphorical sticky note to a customer classed within a microsegment. As they progress through their customer journey (or journeys), a label and time-stamp can be made at any touchpoint, on any channel, allowing marketers to monitor their behavior and shape future communications.

This might lead to them receiving a specific offer, or being delivered dynamically personalized content the next time they visit your website. The data can also help you to decide what time of day they receive an email, or even dictate that they receive fewer, or no communications at all.

Adopting modern marketing techniques

The three concepts discussed in this blog are just some of many that marketers should be aware of if they hope to change the way that they measure the customer journey and alter the customer experience to match the one that modern consumers demand.

If you would like to know more about how to optimize customer journeys, then why not read our eBook about Customer Journey Optimization where we expand on all the recommendations in this blog.

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