There’s a lot of hype in today’s marketing world about owning the customer journey. With the proliferation of so many communication venues (both established and personalized), it’s a challenge for brands to be everywhere.
A mere five years ago marketers were touting the tune that brands had to be at every touch point of the customer journey. The claim was that the customer journey was no longer linear and clearly established. It had become freewheeling with a plethora of points of contact where a brand could “engage” with its customer.
Today, five years later, it seems every month (sometimes every week), there’s a new way of communicating in order to prompt the customer to ‘own’ a brand – to become an ambassador. The customer journey has evolved yet again. Reaching the tech savvy customer is not that easy, not because you can’t place brand in front of them but because the power to reach them is in the palm of their hands.
Since it’s inception, the evolution of the customer journey has morphed into being individualistic, selective and skeptical.
Customers’ paths to brand retention, consideration and selection have become increasingly disjointed and extended. More and more, companies must cast a wider net to reach as many potential customers as they can, yet they have do it in a very ‘niche’ way. Customer touch points such as websites, mobile apps, the social media sphere and customer service need to be executed in synergy and be reflective of customer expectations. Although truth be told, often they don’t accomplish this. As Gen Y’s discretional income and demographic segment become more powerful, reaching them requires originality and total engagement. It must be fluid, participatory and authentic.
Mapping out the customer journey as we all know is crucial. Brands fight to establish and maintain relationships with their customers starting from the initial connection and continuing throughout the interaction process. It’s the interaction process that is in constant evolution. Now digital ads, reminders and, dare I say, “conventional” social media channel touch points are no longer enough. The customer journey is fraught with shorter attention spans, situational delays and a lack of “pressure” to purchase. Storytelling, content creation, content marketing and advertising must be constant. With the right mix of exposure brand will be “picked up” by customers along their path, put down and and hopefully picked up again.
Managing a designed customer journey is critical to achieving results, but owning it and staying on point in today’s digital environment may very well be a myth. What are your thoughts on the ownership of customer journey? Can it be owned or only managed?