The secret to ongoing profitability are three little words “love your customer”. This is not just because of the purchases they make, but the behavioural data they leave behind. In the age of the data-driven business, this is where you will find insights that can be leveraged for acquiring new customers and maintaining existing ones.
You need to do whatever is necessary to keep existing customers on board. But when you have aggressive growth targets to meet, the only way to achieve meaningful uplift is by acquiring new customers. To succeed you need to be more creative in the way that you analyse your customer information and understand and utilise your data assets. Any one of your existing customers is a goldmine of information – if you know how to unlock and analyse the underlying data. Especially if you have the capability to analyse all of your customers’ behaviour.
Looking at the bigger picture, you can identify common trends and experiences that can be leveraged to attract new clients. By building cohorts of customers based on similar behaviours for instance, you can create marketing (and retention) strategies that are tailored to customer interests, preferences and behaviour profiles. Done properly, analytics can enable companies to reach that highly desired segment of one whereby each customer is understood and serviced as an individual.
Understanding your customer journey is critical to gaining insight into customer behaviour. In order to do this successfully you must understand the data footprints that illustrate customer journeys – only then will you be able to measure performance and success.
Marketers have long known that customer journeys are multi-stage affairs. But by performing advanced analytics on their data stores, the journey is shown to be made up of data footprints left by customers on their paths. Where the entire journey is digital, tools like Google Analytics make it very easy to identify and follow these footprints, tracking clicks and page navigation across your website.
But if your customer journey crosses multiple channels – online, phone, social media – it becomes more difficult to create an accurate, comprehensive oversight. Not least because each footprint will typically be recorded in a different system. You must have a way to query and aggregate each of these datasets to properly understand the various nuances of the journey.
What is customer journey mapping?
As we’ve already implied, customer journey mapping is the process by which customers go from brand new prospect, making a final purchase, ongoing consumption of the product/service, all the way through to the next buying cycle. In order to fully understand your customer’s journey you must also identify the data assets that document (or ‘record’) their experiences, decisions and behaviours.
Here at Idiro this is done by carrying out a deep-dive data asset discovery project to help identify what data assets are available within an organisation and how they might be used to drive value. Mining those data sets allows you to track customers across all of your channels, providing a granular view into every decision point and outcome. We then put these insights to work to understand which journeys are the most effective for achieving your commercial objectives; customer acquisition, customer value increase and customer retention.
Any business can perform a customer journey mapping exercise – even those still developing their analytics or customer management programs. All you need is access to skilled, experienced analytics experts, and their tried and tested methodologies.
Moving beyond Post Its
The leap from journey map to actionable insight is not always so straight forward however. Sometimes your most valuable data asset is not the most obvious – in most cases it will be a correlation of multiple data sources.
All the data you need for behavioural analysis is available, but you may need specialist skills and tools to extract those insights and to perform data visualisation. Querying multiple data sets and collating results to piece together the fine details of the customer journey can be complicated – and potentially time-consuming.
Looking further afield
It may be that some of the data sets you identify exist outside your organisation. Examining these external sources of data can be difficult – especially when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. Social media is a rich source of data relating to product/service experiences and referrals – but you need to know how to collect, aggregate and analyse relevant data.
The data asset audit of the journey map will also point you in the direction – you can then outsource the physical analytics tasks to experts like Idiro who have the tools and experience to analyse internal and external data sets.
Another source of data ripe for analysis is social media. With more than 2 billion active users who are sharing experiences, thoughts and glimpses of their everyday lives, Twitter is a great place to gain additional understanding of your target market because data is freely available to marketers for behavioural and intent analysis. And if you can begin matching social media profiles with contact names, you instantly gain a head-start on your sales leads.
Social media analysis also provides a way to gauge customer sentiment towards any subject of interest. This could be your brand, your products and services, or your competitors. Sentiment analysis provides another point on the customer journey map – and some insights on how to guide new prospects towards your brand.
Are people complaining about their current supplier for instance? Do they use negative language in their status updates? These are clear indicators of an unhappy customer – and an opportunity to poach them.
Once you have identified specific individuals (or similar groups of individuals) you can use your customer journey map to target messaging and draw them into your sales funnel.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram offer similar opportunities – assuming you have the right social media analytics in place. Or a suitably experienced data mining partner.
A worthy investment
Never assume that the cost of predictive analytics and customer journey mapping is too high, or that you can simply “muddle” your way through. Because after all, you are entering a market that has incumbents – and you are going to have to entice most of your customers away from them.
To do this you will need to expand your data horizons to include third party information. Doing so will enrich your understanding of your marketplace and the potential customers that inhabit it. Not only will you better connect with new prospects, but the behavioural insights will provide another part of the puzzle for understanding existing clients, allowing you to further refine your customer retention strategies.
Businesses are quickly realising that advanced analytics is a crucial tool for managing the customer journey, and using their own behaviour to provide a better quality of service – and to maximise revenue earning opportunities. Making better use of the data you have is vital to love your existing customer, and to help find new ones.
To learn more about advanced analytics and using third party data to enhance the accuracy and quality of the insights you generate, please call us now on +353 1671 9036