Getting Real About Customer Journeys and Content
I have written a whitepaper that discusses mapping content to a customer journey. You can download it here without charge. The paper focuses on how to build a cross-channel journey, and personalization is a primary theme. I make the case that we are not at a point where we can rely solely on technology to build journeys for us (if we ever are), and I show that content is a driving force for the customer journey, since it provides one of the more useful and readily available tools to quantify customer experience objectives and performance. Why did I write this whitepaper? Because I know customer journeys present a valuable key in helping organizations craft effective omnichannel content strategies, realize customer experience objectives, and, with organizations, can help a brand build a customer-centric operational model.
This paper instructs you with step-by-step instruction on crafting customer journeys to then identify the most successful content with which to support the customer experience. A customer journey documents the primary paths customers take to accomplish tasks when engaging with a brand. Some journeys a person may take in their engagement with a brand include: Ordering a product; buying a product; supporting a product; applying for a job; or, researching the best company with which to partner (for a B2B firm).
Today an optimal journey includes all the channels a customer uses as she engages with a brand to achieve her desired result. For example, to buy a product a customer might view a commercial on television, prompting her to research the product online, where she reads reviews of it in social media, before looking up the product details on a company website, leading her to click on a store locator and go to a store to see it in person. Now that was a lot information for one sentence to capture! Customer journeys are complex tools and require a detailed approach. This example reflects a cross-channel customer journey experience. Understanding that process is critical to a successful omnichannel strategy, but it is all-important as you create a robust customer experience model at each step along this customer’s path. And throughout the customer’s experience, content helps her decide if she wants to move to the next step. Since journeys can be broken down into specific tasks, each step presents a business with a unique opportunity to present specific content that best helps a person engage.
Journeys meld business objectives with customer needs, achieving convergence between both: the generation of revenue from selling more products (business-side objective) merges with the customer need to buy a product that meets her needs (customer-side objective). Content then connects the customer with the brand and vice-versa. A business creates content that a customer engages with, and if done correctly, enables the customer to complete the necessary steps according to her need. Good content ultimately brings sales and customer loyalty, and bad content can cause a customer to abandon her engagement with a brand altogether. Thus, a journey remains critical for not only a business’s customer experience strategy, but also as a key staple in its content strategy. And as such, content becomes a critical ingredient in measuring the performance of a brand’s customer experience.
Some vendors posit that their technologies can build out a journey in its entirety. It is true that digital experience platforms, customer data platforms and journey orchestration tools can help identify journeys that customers take. They can even help you discover paths you may not know about, or craft individualized journeys. None of these are truly 100% cross-channel. And none of them can always connect the dots between an anonymous user and authenticated or known customer. These tools are all limited in their capacity to build holistic, optimized cross-channel customer journeys and relying solely on them is not
A few years back, I wrote a book on how to build an enterprise content strategy. The gist of the message: as brands face the challenges posed by digital transformation, omnichannel imperatives, and evolving technologies, enterprise approaches to content challenges remain to competitively differentiate and offer the best customer experience. A cross-channel customer journey is a critical part of such an enterprise effort. This paper walks you through how to build one and how to map the most effective content to it.