Operationalize the Customer Journey in 6 Steps

Kevin Joyce
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Key Takeaways

What? Becoming a customer-centric organization is key to growth in today’s buyer-driven marketplace and requires a disciplined approach.

So what? The correlation between marketing operations and customer experience has never been clearer.

Now what? Companies that follow a marketing operations program based on the customer journey are gaining market share and customer wallet.

​Nov. 13, 2017

Firms are figuring out how to offer better customer experience, and marketing operations is central to their solution 

Now is an exciting time to be in marketing. So much is changing including the marketing technology landscape, evolving buyer behavior and the demand for marketing accountability for revenue results.  Central to addressing these changes is the burgeoning marketing operations group. Marketing operations helps B-to-B marketers in three ways:

  1. It evolves marketing from being product-centric to customer-centric.

  2. It focuses on the customer experience over the entire customer journey map.

  3. It measures marketing programs based on customer engagement and what revenue can be attributed to them.

We feel and hear all around us that something is changing in how buyers interact with firms, and firms are responding to this change. Using Google’s correlation tool, we can look for the trends in searches for “customer experience” and “marketing operations” over the past 10 years. Not only are the number of searches for these two phrases increasing rapidly, but they are strongly correlated (r=0.8).

The conclusion one can draw from this correlation is that firms are figuring out how to offer better customer experience and that marketing operations is central to their solution. The fundamental question we must answer is: How can firms operationalize the customer experience? It is fine to talk about becoming customer-centric, turn it into a company-wide initiative and commit to becoming better at it, but what are the actual steps one must take and who will be accountable for leading the charge? 

The function best-suited to operationalize great customer experience is marketing operations. They have the process skills, data skills, technology skills and planning and reporting know-how to accomplish the job.

Essentials For Your Journey to Great Customer Experience

What are the components of a great customer experience? Once we look beyond the veneer of a great user interface on the website, there are six elements to consider.

1. Define a complete customer journey map (example shown above) and use it as the basis for lead management, content editorial calendar, data architecture, building your martech stack, pipeline reporting and even budgeting and planning resources. This puts the customer journey (not your products) at the center of everything. If you want to become customer-centric and focus on customer experience, then this is the place to start.

2. Focus next on your lead management funnel. Chances are it has a TOFU (top of funnel) for new leads and ends in a BOFU (bottom of funnel) when an opportunity becomes closed. That is the antithesis of customer-centric. You will need to redo your lead management process and funnel so that it looks something like the customer journey map shown above. The customer journey does not end when an opportunity closes. Add the stages to your lead management process to deal with customers and when they return to buy from you a second time. How will you recognize when they become loyal customers? How will you signify when they become advocates? Will you market to them differently in both of those cases? You should if you are becoming customer-centric.

3. Modify your funnel reporting to line up with the customer journey map. It should be abundantly clear from your reporting how many customers, either new or returning, are in each stage of their journey, how fast they are progressing and what the conversion rates are from stage to stage.

4. Define a martech stack that supports your customer data needs and enables you to offer great customer experiences. Map what technologies you use in each stage of the customer journey. It is likely you are light on technology to support the customer expansion half of the customer journey. What will you do about that in 2018? How much revenue comes from returning customers?

5. Define your data architecture. Make sure you have the right customer data in the right platform to adapt to changing customer attributes and new behaviors.

6. Map your existing content to the customer journey map according to personae. Look for gaps. Then create your content editorial calendar, and draw up a budget to fill the voids and support campaigns.

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Author Bio:

Kevin Joyce
Kevin Joyce is CMO and VP Strategic Services with The <a href="https://goo.gl/EctJ5x" target="_blank">Pedowitz Group</a>.
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