What is the value that marketing adds to an organization? Branding? Awareness? Engagement?
You don’t immediately think about deal closures, revenue, and profitability when you think of marketing. When marketing is usually associated with budgets, campaign costs, and of course, branding, how can you?
Marketers have often found themselves in a boardroom at the end of each quarter, explaining to upper management the overall performance, the gains that were seen through marketing, and why all that ad spend was necessary.
Then, if they’re lucky, they manage to convince their stakeholders to increase the quarterly budgets for the team.
In some business models, marketing is directly responsible for revenue. However, there are many organizations where marketing may not be the final touchpoint for leads that convert into customers.
That doesn’t mean marketing doesn’t contribute to the success or failure of a conversion.
When a deal is closed, a number of hands are involved. Sales teams indisputably act as the “closers” that bring home the bacon, or in this case, bring a company to their customers.
But where did these customers come from? How long did it take them to become paying consumers? What activity finally convinced them to take the conversation forward?
There comes a fork or a moment in every customer journey where a prospect makes a crucial decision. Do they drop off or trudge forward to the finish line?
The elements that force a prospect’s hand into making a decision are primarily determined by the experiences they’ve had so far within the journey. And these customer experiences are crafted by none other than marketers.
Prospects spend most of their time at the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) or middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), which are portions of the journey that marketing is more involved with.
It, therefore, makes sense to understand what is going on with different marketing activities and accurately measure marketing performance.
To do this, however, marketers, and businesses, need a tool that can provide a comprehensive view of every customer interaction in real-time.
Challenges Faced By Marketers
Customer journey mapping is a common practice followed by businesses. While it lays out a great outline for what’s to come, it can never be a substitute for the real deal.
How a customer behaves across different points in a journey massively varies from individual to individual.
Even though marketers try to account for as many pain points as possible in their mapping exercise, they cannot see the entire picture realistically as a customer journey analytics tool would.
The lack of journey analytics creates a chasm between marketing and key stakeholders in a company. Most of the issues that surround a marketing team have to do with a lack of or insufficiency in the data available to them.
Let’s look at some of the challenges that marketers face, and how website analytics or journey analytics can provide a solution to them:
Cost-Center vs. Revenue Center
Marketing is frequently referred to as a cost center. The budget conundrum has always been a tug of war between marketing and companies.
Since this team requires budgets for campaigns and activities that don't directly contribute to a business’s bottom-line growth, it gets hard to see the value in most marketing efforts.
Marketing should be a revenue center, and it's possible to achieve this so long as the right goals are set beforehand and marketers are aware of how their prospects are behaving at every stage of the funnel.
Decision journey insights are vital in making all this possible and help uncover the truth behind all the data obtained across various channels. Gaining insights through behavioral data can drive up to 20% of new revenue growth alone.
Accountability for the Wins and Losses
Marketing can serve to be more than just a crutch for product and sales teams. Product and sales teams undoubtedly do their fair share of research. The best research, however, comes from the target audience.
When a company's marketing appeals to a user, they're invariably drawn to the product. They may not be wholly convinced, but there's a good headstart established.
Think of product, sales, and marketing teams as members of a relay race. The customer deals with a marketer first.
If marketing can make an impact on a prospect even before they see a product demo, the marketing team can gain good ground on the track course before passing the baton to the sales and product teams.
Marketing efforts can fall into a more general funnel. Every activity helps push individuals through the marketing funnel.
Conversion goals may differ from activity to activity (for instance, number of sign-ups on a form for gated content, number of subscriptions for newsletters, or number of requests for a sales demo.)
Regardless of the conversion goal, every positive movement made by a prospect with the journey by a marketing activity should be attributed. These are wins for a marketing team and need the data to back it up.
Platforms like Woopra empower teams with attribution reports that pinpoint which touchpoint resulted in the conversion or action. Funnel analytics in close quarters with customer journey analytics help measure the effectiveness of these marketing efforts.
In the same breath, any drop-offs, dissatisfied users, or weak performing campaigns, also fall under the responsibility of marketers.
These aren't failures but rather opportunities for growth and introspection. Even if one cog in a clock stops working, the whole operation is a bust.
Nurturing Leads or Customers
Marketing teams are tasked with nurturing leads pre-purchase or customers post-purchase.
Nurturing can be tricky since there’s a fine line between encouraging someone to move forward in the journey and exasperating someone before they decide to disengage.
With journey analytics, marketers can see for themselves how far a contact progresses through a journey, how long it took them to take the next step, and if they stopped taking any actions after a point.
This is observed across multiple campaigns and channels all in one place. This is an incredible insight to have since marketing teams can reassess their messaging efforts to see what could be improved upon and what didn’t work for their target audience.
Customer churn is every business's nightmare. Losing a lead can be tough, but losing an existing customer hurts even more.
Every effort to push a prospect across the journey is directly correlated to money and time being invested.
Understanding what caused an individual to drop off in the middle of the journey can help marketers prevent it from happening again and come up with different strategies to engage with the audience.
There's nothing worse than realizing that you've made a mistake long after the damage is already done.
While marketers aren't always involved with what happens after a lead is handed over to the sales team, a drop-off so close to the finish line can be especially devastating.
Understanding why contacts drop off at the final stage when sales teams engage with them helps marketers rework their targeting strategy.
There could be many reasons why an individual dropped off. It could've been a pricing issue, a product issue, or an understanding gap.
If the reason is the latter, marketing teams might need to revisit what constitutes a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and change their campaigns so that the right audience with a particular set of needs receives the proper messaging.
Campaigns are a staple for marketers. How they perform can significantly impact the kind of leads and customers a company receives. Usually, a batch of campaign creatives and ad types are launched across different online and offline channels. Tracking how each campaign performs and how every user interacts with one is cumbersome.
Marketing teams should be using their time to create optimized campaigns and engage with users already interacting with existing campaigns. Monitoring campaigns at every second isn't productive.
Imagine getting alerts for every click or impression that a campaign got. While it's valuable information, the true success of a campaign is measured by tracking how many people performed the desired action to achieve a business goal.
Having customer analytics tools attach a unique identifier to every individual who completes a specific campaign action can help marketers monitor the prospect's journey and strategize what to do to take the prospect forward.
Furthermore, creating custom metrics for different campaigns can help marketers assess their performance without having to make multiple representations that eat up a lot of time.
Some vendors, like Woopra, offer custom schema properties to create different filters for reports.
It's always great to try different things to see new growth. Unfortunately, marketers don't get enough opportunities to experiment with their activities or campaigns. This is usually due to a lack of answers for the non-performance of an experiment.
For things like a landing page, a simple A/B test on headings is easily deducible. A campaign that uses an entirely different format launched on a new platform can be trickier to draw inferences from.
Analytics tools peel the curtains from all the ambiguity since there's no hiding from data and facts.
If an experiment didn't work, marketers would know the reason behind it.
Whether the targeted channel wasn't the right one to launch a campaign on, or the traffic from search engines was low, that could've been attributed to a change in the Google algorithm.
Customer journey analytics can help marketers conduct a root cause analysis.
On the other hand, if an experiment did work, marketers have the numbers to back it up and gain the confidence of the higher management.
Not only does this foster growth and development, but it also helps marketing teams think of creative ways to tackle new problems.
Benefits of Customer Journey Analytics in Marketing
We’ve seen how customer journey analytics solutions can help marketers tackle some of their biggest challenges. Let’s look at a few benefits that marketing teams can realize with a journey analytics tool:
All marketing activities can be measured by their performance. Customer journey analytics help teams zero in on what’s currently working and what isn’t to ensure every marketing effort produces results.
Whether the metrics being measured are clicks, downloads, or a purchase, every positive action is accounted for by an analytics tool.
This empowers marketing teams to focus on strategies that pay dividends and discard the ones that don’t work out in the long run, making marketing completely performance-driven.
Cross-channel marketing has become the norm in today’s world. However, with omnichannel marketing comes the sudden influx of siloed data.
Customer journey analytics aid in data visualization and eradicating the issue of data silos across touchpoints.
Not only does this enable marketers to create better multi-channel messaging, but it also gives them a 360-degree view of the customer journey.
Retargeting is used by marketers for individuals that performed a series of actions but failed to complete a business objective (like abandoning a shopping cart).
Tracking which individuals dropped off and at which stage helps marketing teams with their retargeting efforts. Analytics takes all the guessing work out of the equation, leaving marketers to do what they do best: marketing.
Leverage Customer Insights For Data-Driven Marketing
The term “data-driven marketing” has been thrown around a lot over the past few years. The consensus is that being data-driven is good. Achieving this, however, has been a bit of a head-scratcher.
Every marketer can and should be a growth marketer. Customer journey analytics allow marketers of any type to take the reins of growth and revenue into their own hands and directly contribute to a business’ scale and development.
The goal of marketing is to connect with potential customers.
Customer journey analytics does more than shed a light on customer needs and customer satisfaction; it guides marketers toward making the best use of their skills and judgment to accomplish their goals, and in turn, the company’s goals.
The amount of data we have at our disposal will only continue to grow. It’s high time that marketers learned how to play with data the right way.