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3 Data-driven Customer Journey Problems - and 3 Solutions

Perhaps more than anything else right now, marketers are talking about data. Data management platforms, data lakes, data silos - it's all about data these days.

Marketers are, however, also concerned about how to provide the best experiences for customers. They segment and target particular customer groups, draft customer personas and even map the customer journey.

But, do marketers work on both at the same time? Are they using all the data they gather to improve the customer journey?

To find out, ClickAcademy, in association with Amazon Web Services recently held roundtable discussions with client-side marketers at Digital Cream in Kuala Lumpur. At the Data-driven Customer Journeys table, hosted by Anand Jain, CEO, Clevertap, attendees discussed the problems they had in applying data to improve the customer journey and some of the possible solutions. Below are the highlights from the day's discussions.

Problem 1: Marketers are still missing many key data points required to map the customer journey

The first issue raised by marketers regarding how to use data to make a material impact on the customer journey was that they were still missing data points which would help them make improvements. Many lamented that they only had conversion results and struggled to connect the dots between initial awareness and the final sale.

The solution

One solution to this issue came from participants from the travel industry, including those from airlines and hotels. For them, collecting data along the journey was in some instances a necessity, but they said they were able to get additional data which helped them discover why customers chose particular products and options.

The key to getting more data out of customers, according to the delegates, is explaining to customers why you are collecting data. People, they said, are notoriously 'data shy' as they are not interested in having more contact from marketing, but when they understand that data is being used to improve the overall experience many customers are happy to help.

Problem 2: Customer data is spread throughout the organisation

Another issue which marketers seeking to improve the customer journey with data run into is that customer data is not consolidated. Instead, data about different parts of the customer journey is owned by different departments in the organisations and is not made available to marketers.

This problem has far-reaching consequences for marketers. First off, they cannot use customer data which is 'locked up' in other departments to present the next best option for site visitors, nor can they forecast sales based on the number of prospects at each stage of the customer journey.

The solution

Marketers, according to one attendee, can alleviate this problem by being more forthcoming with their colleagues about what marketing will do with customer data if it is handed over. Another participant shared that their marketing department did a 'roadshow' within the company to explain how marketing benefits from personal data. The goal, said both, was to build trust internally first and then request access to sequestered customer data.

Problem 3: Marketers are struggling to monetize data

All attendees agreed that their companies were now collecting sufficient data. Systems were in place, staff were trained, and most had even invested time and money in analytics technology to analyse the data. Yet, there was one thing that most participants had not figured out yet - how to use the data in order to achieve a positive internal return on investment from their data.

The solution

Two ways in which marketers can monetize their customer data for ROI purposes were proposed.

First, marketers can use the data to know at what point a customer has apparently 'dropped off' their buying journey. Then, armed with that knowledge, they can provide that customer with the right offer at the right time to keep them on a path to purchase. By dividing customers into 'offer' and 'no offer groups for a short time should provide marketers with the proof of increased revenue from their investment.

Second, marketers can use the data they collect to improve the experience for existing customers. One example of this approach is analysing customer usage data and finding the events which lead up to customer defection. Then, when marketers observe similar patterns from existing customers, they can intervene before the customer churns. The ROI calculation for an initiative such as this would be relatively simple to calculate and present to management.

Overall, marketers on the day were bullish about using data to improve the customer journey, though all admitted that they had a lot of work to do before the dream of a data-driven customer journey became a reality.

A word of thanks

ClickAcademy would like to thank Anand Jain, CEO, Clevertap for hosting the Data-driven Customer Journey table and Patrick Kelly, Head of IoT Partnerships and Ecosystem, APAC, AWS for providing his subject matter expertise on the day.

We'd also like to thank all of the marketers who took time out of their schedules to attend and share their views on data-driven customer journeys. We hope to see you all at future ClickAcademy events!


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