The concept of the customer journey is simple: our customers may not follow a linear path to conversion, but they do have a logical flow. If we can understand the customer journey, we can improve it and increase conversion.
What the Customer Journey Isn't
As marketers, we talk about the customer journey as though it were a generic process that everyone follows; I've seen many slides at conferences recently which explain the B2B customer journey or the B2C customer journey.
In reality, most people talking about the customer journey have simply taken their marketing funnel, filed off the word funnel, and replaced it with customer journey. We don't change our marketing operations at all or make the journey any better by calling it a journey instead of a funnel.
Equally true, your customers' journey to conversion is a unique, distinct series of processes which are hard-coded to your business, your marketing tools, and your methods. What I've said about benchmarks also applies to customer journeys: they are not generic. They are not categorizable by industry. The customer journeys for Smallville Community Bank and Golden Slacks MegaFund are radically different, even though they're both financial services.
The irony is, customer journeys are easier than ever to understand, analyze, and improve. Tools like Google's Customer Journey modeler are useful places to start, but they're by no means the only way to understand your customers.
In this multi-part series, we're going to examine:
- What the customer journey isn't (this post)
- How to analyze your customer journey
- How to improve your customer journey
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