Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

Take These 5 Steps And Reinvent Your Customer Journey Map

mahkeo-226133.jpg

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

With the wisdom of this Chinese saying, let's start 'our journey' to discover how the 'customer journey' has changed in the last five years, pushed by the evolution of mobile technology, and what this means for your Brand.  

The rise of the born-digital generations of customers (Millennials and post-Millennials) makes your traditional customer journey map obsolete. Every single map that you have used in the last decades is now useless. How can you recover?

In the digital ecosystem, everything changes at such an impressive pace that you risk losing sight if you do not get a new compass, a unique perspective to engage and monetize customers. The disruption brought in by the smartphone is unprecedented and requires drastic measures.

First things first, we need to clarify the difference between traditional customer journeys and the digital customer journey. We can simplify and streamline the two processes:

Traditional Customer Journey

Think of it as a (mostly) linear sequence going from the Awareness to the Consideration and then Purchase:

  • This funnel unravels across few touch points, well-known and presided by marketers;
  • The customer has a limited set of alternatives;
  • The communication is usually top-down and lead by the Brand;
  • Customer's choices are influenced by the 4 Ps of marketing, by routine and the trusted opinions of my closed circle of friends and relatives.

Digital Customer Journey

A neverending journey, not necessarily starting from the Attention/Awareness or ending with the Loyalty:

  • This funnel unravels across an increasing number of touch points, both in physical and digital worlds.
  • The customer has tons of alternatives;
  • The communication is always two-way;
  • Customer's choices are rarely influenced by advertising, price or routine. The circle of trust includes the online communities: social networks, e-commerce reviews, forums and blogs.

The evolution of technology reshapes the essence of the journey and this, in return, defines the pillars of your marketing strategy. In our ecosystem you should never underestimate:  

  1. The arise of young customers - the picky millennials and the elusive GenerationZ.
  2. The growth of connected technologies - trackers, wearables, beacons, the Internet of Things.
  3. The dawn of Micro Moments - real-time mobile interactions, driven by specific intents.

The digital customers are accustomed to living surrounded by connected devices that melt the offline and online worlds. They build their identity by interacting with their virtual and pshysical communities, and do not recognize any other way of experiencing (life, emotions, and relationships).

In our markets, made flat by the globalization, your customers refuse to be considered as part of an indistinct mass. Each customer wants to be treated as an individual. This rejection of the massification requires that you invest your marketing efforts on the personalization and relevance of contents and experiences.

Today, there is a question to answer: Why should people buy from you when they can choose from a potentially infinite set of alternatives? You are not simply battling against your neighbors; you are fighting against thousands of suppliers from all over the world. Even a great, unique product might be not enough to win.  

What then? The customer experience becomes the real key to differentiate your Brand, and the creation of a new customer journey map the ground to deliver personalized experiences. You need an innovative approach to the mapping of an unstructured journey, or your clients will still be strangers, inanimate figures you do not know anything about.

Luckily, you can still rely on a few basic requirements that have not changed ever since the idea of ‘customer journey map’ was considered for the first time. While the contents and the framework evolves with technology, you will always have to start your planning from these foundational elements:

Buyer Personas + Customers + Emotions + Research + Touch Points + Objectives + Measurement

On the one hand, marketers need to reach the customers when they stand in the early stages of the journey; unfortunately, that is the most obscure moment. The Brands usually know very little about customers' emotional profiles, and the traditional research methodologies does not provide useful data that show what clients were doing and thinking before - let's say - they entered your website or store.

That is exactly why you need a revamped version of the journey mapping. Starting with the following prerequisites.

RETHINK THE JOURNEY

Of course, behind a new mapping there is a new journey. Every single social and technological trend leads to the inevitable reinvention of the customer journey. There is no value in a map that ignores the different sources of interaction brought out by the mobile disruption.

The innovation extends the relationship between companies and people, to embrace the added value for both Brands and customers. Stay eyes wide open and willing to test and learn new means of engagement and fidelization; only then you will earn customer's loyalty and trust.

ENGAGE THE CUSTOMER

The foundational element of the journey is the traveller, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many marketers still design their journey map starting from the company and the products instead of the customers.

Since the whole point here is to improve the relationship between your clients and your business, the only way you can build a map that actually works is to bring the customer's perspective into the process. Describe not the experience that you want to provide (or you think you are providing) but the experience that people expect (and you are actually providing).

UNVEIL THE EMOTIONS

The key is to understand how people take decisions and choose what to buy and how to buy. In a world where the smartphone has become the first screen and the attention span is lower than ever, not all customers are alike, and not all journeys should be considered equal.

People embark on very different journeys, driven by peculiar behaviors and personality traits. Each journey has different touch points that can be influenced by unexpected causes and intents. Individual needs, emotions and expectations lead to very personal behaviors. If you do not study these patterns (i.e. Psychographic profiling), you will not be able to reach the contextualization required to appeal each person. 

CONNECT THE DOTS

Mobile technology reshapes the journey, influencing both the space and time of the interaction. The smartphone reboots the entire experience of communicating, searching for information, and connecting with people and brands. According to Nielsen, half of customers believe that mobile is the most important resource in the purchase decision-making.

Mobile platforms already account for more than 60% of total time spent on digital media. Your strategy should think mobile and act local, combining location and behavior to deliver meaningful contents, wherever your customers are. Connect the dots to get a holistic view of the ecosystem.

UNLOCK THE (SMALL) DATA

While it is still hard to understand what customers think and do in the early stages of their journey, companies can now take advantage of something they did not have before. Something that shuffles the cards on the table: small data.

Connected technologies create a large quantity of information about the customer's path; you only have to find the way to unlock the power hidden into this information. The key is to match the different sources and step from Big to Small data. Always remember that the real value not the information itself but what you do with this knowledge.

"Activating customer journeys to capture value requires journeys to be treated like products that need to be actively managed, measured, and nurtured. How well companies are able to do that will dictate how successful they are in making customer journeys a competitive advantage." (McKinsey)

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Project Management Branding Big Data Mobile Customer Journey

10 (+5) Best Business Apps To Improve Your Marketing Strategy

business-apps-must-have.jpg

Take a look at the app stores. Today, there is quite an abundance of tools that promise to help marketers and entrepreneurs in taking better - and timely - decisions. We have all come to rely on mobile devices to manage daily tasks and increase the quality of our output.

Since the smartphone has become the privileged companion of our private and professional life, mobile business apps represent the essential compendium to stay connected 24/7 with what matters most: your brand and your customers.

Mobile technology has not only shaped the ecosystem we all live in; it has also contributed to the dawn of a new category of clients, the digital customers. In the last few months, the smartphone has officially achieved the ‘first-screen’ status:

  • Mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches in 2015;
  • Apps account for 86% of total time spent on mobile devices.

Digital marketers find themselves in the dual position of publishers and customers. The question is simple: In a world where customers are betting heavily on mobile, why shouldn’t marketing professionals do it? You would do well to focus on native apps, investing time and money in optimization practices to better your strategy and improve efficiency.

When you get a glimpse of the productivity apps around the web, it’s easy to see that there's no shortage of tools for digital marketers. Whatever is your specific need - social media, SEO, advertising, project organization, time management - you can easily find the proper tool with a few taps.

Long gone are the days when the most popular utilities were only available to geek scanners, as desktop software applications. Productivity apps have conquered the stores in the name of ‘omni-channel’ and cloud, so much that it is sometimes difficult to choose between dozens of options.

The search for the best business app - the one that will help you optimize your time - can be extremely time-consuming. A paradox we want to solve, to pick up 10 of the best mobile business apps that really deliver on the promise to make your life easier and help you organize your daily routine and tasks more effectively.

POCKET

The Internet is full of juicy contents if you are looking for insights to improve your marketing skills or develop an amazing customer experience. You are constantly under the risk of content overdose, and that’s where Pocket comes into play, allowing you to save the best articles online to read them later, on any device.

EXPENSIFY

On the official website, Expensify is described as the “hassle-free expense reporting built for employees and loved by admins”. And that’s true. Whenever you need to track your business expenses, you can count on this helpful app, that makes capturing receipts, tracking mileage, business travel and creating expense reports quick and easy.

SLACK

If you work within a team, you know how hard it is to keep track of all the tasks assigned to different members. Slack is a team communication platform - integrated with other apps like Dropbox, Drive, and Asana. You can channel for various topics, and fill them with contents so that everybody is on the same page.

BASECAMP

Apps have disrupted many business silos, and project organization and management is surely one of those. Basecamp allows you to organize the whole project and assign tasks to people, managing workflow and keeping everyone communicating with one another. It is fully integrated with the desktop version, and it’s completely free.

TODOIST

If your daily agenda is so full that sometimes you can't make sense of your meetings and things to do, Todoist is the answer to your problems. It is a productivity app that allows you to stay on top of your personal tasks, across all devices. You can organize your list with tags and categories, so you know what you need to do, and when.

GO TO MEETING

How can you manage your meetings when you’re out of office or on a business trip? GoToMeeting is one of the best services to join meetings and call with clients and colleagues. The perfect addition to the web version, the app facilitate collaborations from anywhere, including your mobile. You only need a mobile connection.

IFTTT

Automation is becoming the standard in all things marketing. How can you automate your content strategy? By setting actions that trigger reactions. IFTTT (If This Than That) does exactly this, by connecting the most-used services, and automating with ‘recipes’ many of the routine operations you used to do by hand.

BUFFER

Do you want to reply to your customers in real-time? Do you want to schedule a post on the brand official page while on mobility? If you haven’t set-up a social media platform yet, Buffer can be your best mobile app solution. You won’t need a desktop computer to manage your social accounts, review analytics or create a long-term media plan.

GOOGLE ADWORDS

Search engine marketing today revolves around Google AdWords. The newly-launched official app lets you check your campaign status and statistics; update ads, bids, and budgets; get real-time alerts. AdWords is essential if you're running a pay-per-click campaign on Google. If you’re a small business, you can use AdWords Express instead.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

In the era of Big Data, analytics is the new business, differentiator. Predictive analysis studies past behaviors to anticipate future. Google Analytics (also for iOS) is the main source to understand your customers’ online and mobile behaviors. With the official app, you can access all of your reporting profiles from your smartphone/tablet, leveraging data to deliver the best customer experience.

 

Honorable Mentions:

STREAK

If you own a small business and you use Google Apps (and Gmail above all), Streak is one solution to your sales problems. It is a pocket-sized CRM that lets you keep track of your contacts, and manage where you are in your relationship with them. The good thing? For personal use it is completely free.

NIMBLE

We all know that social media can be - and should be - used for sales purposes, but how can you manage the neverending stream of data coming from Facebook & Co.? Nimble is the answer, a social sales and marketing CRM suitable for all businesses. The pricing starts at 25 dollars per user/month.

SQUARE 

"The POS software that's simple, powerful and simple." The claim sounds interesting, and Square Register does not go back on the promise. If you are a small business with point of sale, just plug in the small card-reader to your smartphone or tablet, and you can swipe credit cards and process payments without hassle and at a low price.

RESCUE TIME

Timing is everything in business. With Rescue Time you will learn to avoid the distraction of the digital life, improving your time management and finding a better work-life balance. The app, in fact, automatically tracks the time you have spent on appa and websites, and sends you detailed reports based on your activity.

SKYPE FOR BUSINESS

When it comes to video-conference, Skype is the standard. We all know the basic version but Skype For Business has many perks that could appeal marketers. In example, it is now fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365, and can manage meeting with up to 250 attendees. Plus, it adds a security layer to all your business accounts, just in case. 

Now it's your turn. Tell us what are your favorite business apps, the ones that you can't live without.

 

Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience iOS Project Management Android Mobile

Map Your Digital Customer Journey, Mobile First

Digital_Customer_Journey_Map

A digital customer journey map is a tool that enables you to understand and optimize your customers’ digital experiences.

It outlines the digital customer experience in a customer-centered perspective, helping you:

  1. Understand how prospect and customers are interacting with you now.
  2. Identify areas for improvement moving forward.
  3. Choose the appropriate technology and business models to effectively engage people at every touchpoint in the digital customer experience lifecycle, and prioritize your investment.

Great customer journey maps are rooted in data-driven research, often coming from market research, and show the different phases of your customers' experiences across all touchpoints, based on a variety of dimensions such as sentiment, objectives, consistency with the attributes of your brand, and more.

 Digital_Customer_Journey_Map_Example_1Digital_Customer_Journey_Map_Example_2Digital_Customer_Journey_Map_Example_3Digital_Customer_Journey_Map_Example_4

Evolving the vision of the traditional and outdated marketing funnel, most digital customer journey maps are not linear: a customer can jump from one phase to another based on a number of factors, delivering on his/her expectation to live heightened digital experiences anytime, anywhere, personal, and simple, what we summed up in our previous post as the “now-for me-my own way-easy” promise.

Mobile and real-time marketing have joined social in disrupting business models that cannot keep up with your connected and informed customers. Identifying both physical and digital touchpoints, customers’ behaviors, then mapping out the digital customer journey is your first and essential step to effectively compete as a unified business in connected markets.

Among the key metrics along your digital customer journey, consider:

  • Channel: smartphone and tablet (always go mobile first), computer, smart TV, connected objects,
 and your physical stores.
  • Number and duration of visitor and visit (digital, footstore traffic).
  • Frequency of visit (returning to the app/site/store directly – through a URL or bookmark, a referral - or indirectly).
  • % repeat visits.
  • Recency of visit.
  • Depth of visit (% of app/site/store visited).
  • Tap-though and Click-through rate / interactions with sales staff in-store.
  • Sales.
  • Lifetime value.
  • RSS feed / newsletter subscriptions.
  • Bookmarks.
  • Interaction with in-store tags (i.e. Smart Bluetooth, NFC) and rate of engagement.
  • Customer Ratings, Reviews, Comments and valued engagement/disengagement.
  • Viewing of high-value or medium-value content (as valued from your organisation’s point-of-view).
  • Depth of digital/physical/hybrid visit.
  • Inquiries (digital, to sales personnel).
  • Personal information provided and depth of customer profile.
  • Downloads.
  • Content resyndication, inbound links.

Even if yours is just an initial project, a "first and tentative customer-facing app", turn this opportunity to your advantage by mapping your digital customer journey, mobile first. You will start on the right foot and take the fundamental journey towards the profound digital transformation of your business in the years to come.

 

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Neosperience Project Management Analytics Retail Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile Customer Journey

How To Connect With Your Digital Customers

Digital_Customer

Digital Customer Experience (DCX) is defined as the sum of all digital experiences customers have with a supplier of products or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.

It’s implications span beyond technology investments — to engage customers with digital tools at every touchpoint — into the realms of marketing, infrastructure, organization and leadership.

Reviewing the ontology of digital customer experience, there is a disparity between this “experience as everything” definition and a more practical meaning: experience in a personal and memorable way, that creates a distinct economic offer, different from the products or services delivered, that allows to connect with customers in a whole new way across smartphone and tablet, computer, smart TV, connected objects, and internet-of-things -enabled physical stores.

This is a more specific and actionable definition, that shows the urgency for most organizations (apart from pure players like Apple and Amazon), to realign or do new investments in technology and business models.

Good digital customer experience — the perception people have of their interactions with your organization — keeps them coming back again and again and is today the most critical differentiator. Your customers are dazzled by digital experiences that are enjoyable, innovative, and contextual. How are you going to keep up delivering on your brand promise at each point of the decision process?

It s now essential to meet your customers’ expectations by delivering them heightened digital experiences anytime, anywhere, personal, and simple:

Now

  • Your customers want an experience, not (just) a product.
  • They want to be engaged  storytelling and gamification help — share their experience in real-time with other people and receive feedback.
  • They want to be provided with a real-time, connected global marketplace — in which they can interact with other people and you — with any of their devices, starting from their smartphone and tablet.

For them

  • They want to receive personalized content and benefits.
  • They expect they can go direct with your business.
  • They expect to live a purchase experience which resonates the behavior of the elite of society prior to the Industrial Revolution, moving beyond outdated one-size-fits-all and mass customization model.

Their own way

  • They want you to deliver support online or in-store. Set up an appointment with a store assistant as they like.
  • They want to visit your store digitally, and discover your products as if they were physically there, with any of their devices.
  • They want to locate the closest point of sales/service, know when it's open, be guided there.

Easy

  • They want to do all these things easily and with any of their devices, seamlessly syncing their digital experience through their personal cloud.

We’ve entered the Age of the Customer — an era where a focus on customers matters more than any other strategic imperative.

Digital customers’ perceptions of the experience you deliver at every touchpoint have a profound impact on your business metrics ranging from brand equity and customer loyalty to increased revenue and cost savings.

“There are going to be seven billion smartphones in everybody’s hands in the next five years. Now, everybody is a digital customer, so doing things digitally is no longer a niche. Doing things digitally is how the entire world communicates.”
- Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry’s CEO, Head of Retail Apple since mid-2014 

Look at every dimension of your customer digital experience, mapping out the digital customer journey first, then paying attention to everything that affects the customer’s disposition while looking for a product from you or one of your competitors, deciding to buy, and while actually buying and using it.

The steps are:

  1. Shape your buyer personas as generalized representations of your ideal customers.
  2. Map their digital customer journey describing their behavior as the interactions at the different touchpoints with your brand and product.
  3. Design the experience, mobile first: use the 7 Steps DCX Checklist.
  4. Build the platform linking your content marketing and DCX.
  5. Launch, monitor, learn and innovate, to improve continuously.
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Society Innovation Social Networking Project Management Analytics Branding Storytelling Content Marketing

How To Apply The 80/20 Rule To Your Digital Customer Experience

How_To_Apply_The_80-20_Rule_To_Your_Digital_Customer_Experience

A small number of laws underlie all natural phenomena. Newton discovered the laws that govern motion and gravity and many of these principles in the 17th century.

3 centuries later, economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; similarly that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
Many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution: roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

As a result, a common rule of thumb in business was developed: "80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients".

It is likely that this also applies to you, as most people waste time and energy on things that don’t matter — devoting a lot of your effort on activities that produce minimal returns.

As a marketer, your first step to get anyone buy your product or service is to make people listen to you. You need first to get ears and eyeballs. Today there is a huge range of digital channels and media you can use to get in your customer’s mind and be chosen:

  • Foot traffic in a retail store.
  • Traditional audiovisual media, such as radio and TV.
  • Banned advertising, popup, pop-under and other formats on targeted sites and mobile apps.
  • Google AdWords.
  • Newsletters.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln and SlideShare posts and ads.
  • YouTube videos.
  • Press releases and Books.
  • White Papers and Webinars.
  • Exhibitions at trade shows.

Start understanding which of these activities provide more Return On Effort — considering both external and internal costs plus your precious time, the only truly scarce resource — to recognize and focus on the 20% of effort that produces the greatest impact.

  1. Recognize that finding a market before designing a product is smarter than the reverse.
  2. Do a honest SWOT analysis to identify your strengths. It is far more fruitful and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix your weaknesses.
  3. Identify the 20% of your product or service range that produces most sales.
  4. Find your customers and stakeholders that generate 80% of your profits: in most cases they will be far less than 20%.
  5. Use an analytics dashboard to identify 20% the most used features in your customer-facing app.
  6. And finally tailor content marketing and digital customer experience to create and nurture your customer base. Selling to the right person is the most important of all the sales methods, negotiation tactics or copywriting techniques.

Laser-focus your efforts on prospects who already understand what you do, have problems you can solve, and believe in what you believe.

Become a marketing superhero by doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater importance, for your business and for yourself. You will get far more results for a fraction of the effort.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Human Capital Management Society Future Project Management Analytics Retail Content Marketing

How To FIRE Your Customer-facing App

FIRE_Your_Customer-facing_App

Just finished reading an insightful new book from project management pro and military technology expert Dan Ward. An informative writing with wonderful asides and management war stories.

The insight: the best customer experience platforms and tools aren’t the most expensive and complicated.

And the proper way of doing them can be summarized in the FIRE acronym, inspired by the lean design principles, is embedded in the approach and tools used by some of the best technology developers in the world:

  • Fast” – The shorter the schedule and timeline are, the better your project outcome will be.
  • Inexpensive” – A small budget is more functional than a big budget. Financial capital is not the key factor; intellectual capital is what really matters.
  • Restrained” – Limit the documents you create, the time of the meetings you conduct, the budgets you allocate, the teams you direct and the schedules you set.
  • Elegant” – Shoot for project elements that are pleasingly ingenious and simple. Prioritize true design maturity and true process simplicity.

You are far more likely to deliver top-shelf results when you are working under constraints than when you are getting all the money, time and people you think you need. It seems counterintuitive, but in typical digital customer experience projects, such as customer-facing app developments, leaders who get large budgets, large teams and long schedules are unlikely to meet all – or even most – of their project objectives.

Actually project leaders with the largest budgets are statistically most likely to ask for more money and least likely to deliver an actual working product. The more time and money you spend on the thing, the more complicated it gets, which in turn drives up the cost and schedule even further as we wrestle with all the complexity.

In addition to FIRE, a good complement to maximize your effectiveness as a digital customer experience project leader is NASA’s “Faster, Better, Cheaper” (FCB) program, built on five operating principles:
  1. Do it wrong” – Create numerous “quick-and-dirty prototypes.” Many will fail, but you can learn from your mistakes.
  2. Reject good ideas” – Stay focused on the primary goal for your project.
  3. Simplify and accelerate” – Design your work to be clear and quick.
  4. Avoid innovation for innovation's sake” – For easier, faster testing and operating.
  5. Failure is an option” – If everything works perfectly, you’re not pushing the limits.

In a world of rapid change, long-term projects are a losing proposition:

  • Apply FIRE and FCB, focusing on building things you know how to build, using things you know how to use.
  • Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, the world is a big place with billions of people and a plenty of tools: be clever, do your research, then choose and use the right platform and partner.
  • Simplicity ain’t simple, while complexity usuallyindicates an immature design.
Your most successful projects will always be the least complicated.
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Neosperience Project Management