‘Creating personalized customer experiences.’ This is the most common tagline or message that brands/businesses tend to convey these days. But do the companies abide by their goals, are they creating real value for their customers? If the answer is yes, then the customer itself creates business/brand value by increasing the market share. The engagement that brands build with their customers, is it real-time? Does your brand care about the experience the customers are receiving? Every interaction that your customer has with your product/service forms a touchpoint for marketing. Designing those interactions provides you with an entire customer journey.
All of the above questions have the lowest common denominator, the customer journey.
What is a customer journey?
From the very first interaction that the customer has with the service or product till the time he stays in continuous touch with it is the entire Journey a customer covers. It becomes essential to visualize the Journey and the experience the customer gains to study the patterns and gain valuable insights from it. It ensures that we are in constant touch with the customer, which further helps to create, adjust, and enhance touchpoints, providing the most effective, efficient buying and service process.
Let’s understand it better with the help of an example.
After the customer signs up, a welcome email will be triggered. But that’s not the end; for maintaining customer engagement, it is necessary to send an email regarding the recent purchases or the purchase they are about to make. It should be triggered at a particular time interval, such as after 2 or 3 days, to continue the engagement further. We understand the importance a customer journey holds, so here we are with the whole new Unica Journey, an initiative to enhance the customer’s experience.
Unica Journey lets marketers create small goal-driven journeys, which further helps them in designing the entire customer journey and the ability to envision the customer experience from a marketer’s perspective. It is based upon an event-driven architecture where the series of communications across any channel, be it SMS, Email, Push Notifications are sent upon various touchpoints depending upon how the customer behaved upon the previous touchpoints. The processes are not scheduled, unlike batch campaigns, it waits until the customer takes action. This helps in remaining in constant touch with your customers. Journeys are always on and reacting to events happening in the digital ecosystem.
It has a marketer-friendly interface as well that lets you overcome challenges in creating journey maps with much less IT-Support. The subsequent omnichannel nature facilitates information to flow easily and helps in providing clear information like open rates, bounce rates, views to the marketer. This helps in taking a suitable course for the next action.
Notice, it is not just a canvas for drawing the journeys. It is an omnichannel platform connected with real-time actionable data.
Benefits of Journey
- Customer-Centric Strategy- In this era, where the customer is the king, it is essential to adopt a customer-centric strategy in your business. It all starts with mapping the customer/buyer journey for your product or service. Understanding your buyer journey can help you provide the information the prospects need at a particular stage, which will help them move towards the purchase. This is Lead Nurturing, a process where we develop relationships with the customer at every stage of the sales funnel. It’s an excellent example of how a customer journey can help with the lead conversions. You can take care of your customers from both micro and macro-level perspectives. In a B2B marketing scenario, a customer after receiving an email with a downloadable asset, be it a webinar or a relevant blog, you can automate their Journey based upon their behavior, if they have opened the email, or if the asset has been downloaded. The follow-up emails will be triggered depending upon which stage of the Journey they are to provide the necessary guidance and value they are seeking.
- Uncovering Gaps in your marketing strategies- A marketing strategy is formulated with choosing the correct channels, adding relevant content, using proper CTAs. But how do we know if the strategy is working or on which parts it is failing? Mapping the customer journey bridges the gap between what a customer wants and the experience they actually receive. By having data such as, at what point of the Journey did the customer stop interacting with your product or services. Like receiving the email with offers but not clicking on the CTA (which signifies the content strategy went wrong somewhere). The businesses can align their strategy by eliminating such gaps and inconsistencies.
- Identifying the common buyers’ patterns- Being customer-focused starts with knowing your customer. Mapping the customer journey lets you define the intent and the context of the customers’ buying patterns; identify the communication channels they prefer the most and the preferred way they would like to be approached. You get to know how a customer travels through the entire sales process and the kind of experience they are expecting. This helps you to act in those phases accordingly. If they are looking for relevant content materials- you provide a video to guide them through or the feedback a particular product has received. You can provide the necessary information at that stage, creating an impression that the businesses understand them.
- Businesses backed up by data-driven approach- Enter a world with a data-driven strategy, where a marketer and companies can make smart marketing decisions based upon the concrete data they can gather. For example, the number of interactions flowing through journeys, the number of customers flowing through journeys, and many more. A visual picture, in this case, the journey map, is non-functional without the data. Unica Journey is enabled to provide data like the number of customers engaged and engaged, and at what touchpoints the rate of engagement is high. Research had shown that 80% of the marketers who have adopted customer journey mapping in their strategies have a 90% positive impact than the times when it wasn’t.
How does it work?
The next question that arises, How does it all work?
- Journey as a tool, works with simple drag and drop functionality, similar to how Unica Campaign works. Clicking on the Create New Journey leads to the following screen.
- Defining the entry sources and the data definition forms the first step of building a new journey.
- After entering or importing the entry sources and data definition, what we have on the screen is the first look of your own created Journey.
- From the pallet on the left side, you can choose the touchpoints and the controls you would want to add in the Journey you create for your customers. Touchpoints like SMS, Email. Controls like Condition Split (The decision the customer takes on the previous step, and the Journey can be directed to any point like Ending it or sending a follow-up SMS, all using Condition Split), Engagement Split and many more.
- It clearly aligns with event-based marketing, where the next decision is taken based upon the previously triggered event. The previous image gives us a glimpse of a created Journey. Controls like Delay have been added. It helps you schedule and control the events like when an email should be sent.
- That’s not all. Setting up the templates for emails has never been so easy. Set it, Name it, and include it in the Journey. Most of the time, for starters, we have a welcome email. The journey tool is wholly based on behavioral marketing, which heavily invests in enhancing the customer experience and providing them with a more personalized and relevant engagement with the product or service.
- Journey as a tool acts in complete harmony with all the existing extensions of Unica, such as Campaign and Interact. In fact, Journey extends a hand to work towards increasing the functionalities they currently serve. The data that the Campaign gathers from the datamart is introduced in Journey via a process box. After receiving the data, a marketer can further use Journey towards creating a personalized and goal-based experience for the Campaign generated segments.
- Journey, when integrated with Interact, can make use of pre-configured triggered messages as the starting point. Data from the customers’ profile can come in handy for personalizing the Journey. For example, to which channel a person is most responsive, like SMS, Push Notifications, etc. Journey making use of such information can proceed further using alternate channels to connect with the customers.
But how do we identify when Campaign, Interact, or Journey is to be used?
It’s not that difficult. We have jotted down a few scenarios to make it easy for you. Journey, as we know, is based on an event-driven architecture. If you are planning to run batch campaigns, it needs to be implemented via Campaign, which can further be integrated with Journey.
When we talk about scenarios like Lead Nurturing or holistically B2B Marketing, Drip Campaigns (connect with the customers by providing the right content at the right time depending on which phase of the Customer Journey they are in)- there is no better option than using Journey as the solution of choice. Unica, as a whole, has various assets, which, when used at the correct time, can work wonders for your marketing strategy.
We are always up for innovating and coming up with solutions that can make the lives of marketers easier and enriching the experience a customer receives when he/she gets in contact with your service or product.
We want to work with you on designing the future of marketing.
May we know the Channels will use Acoustic or HCL’s hosted services ?
Is it possible to add 3rd party touch points in Journey ?
Unica Journeys has been designed from ground up to orchestrate customer engagement across channels. Through our complementary Unica Link capability, which provides an open integration framework, customers can seamlessly integrate with a wide variety of touchpoints such as Email, SMS, Push, CRM and other home grown systems in their martech ecosystem. Although we provide more tight knit integration and provide more synergy between Unica Journey and Unica offerings, customers do have a choice to integrate Unica Journey touchpoints with their vendor of choice
Excellent information, Sumitra. Thanks so much for sharing.
This feature is going to make challenge for competitors.
Thank you for sharing this blog , Sumitra. Quite an informative write-up.