5 mistakes marketers make about the customer journey

customerAs a marketer or brand manager you’ve heard it all before: your two golden objectives are to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.

Many brands have increasingly focused on the digital journey as a way of supporting these objectives, but in many ways it’s not actually helping. Learning and implementing new marketing tactics increases innovation, and encourages your business to stay relevant, but it’s not only about online. Looking at the full online to offline customer journey, we’ve identified five common mistakes marketers make:

1. Not considering offline as much as online

In the name of ‘efficiency’ and to provide a ‘better self-service’, we often force how we want our customers to interact with us. However, while the digital journey may start and end online, the customer journey tends not to.

Considering online only can also provide a negative brand image. For example, when a customer is considering a purchase, 54% of people want the reassurance of some human interaction before deciding. A whopping 64% of people get frustrated when they are only able to interact with a company online. Don’t be in the dark: consider the overall customer journey especially as customers move from online to offline.

2. Voice is a relationship milestone

It’s widely accepted that we, as consumers, go a long way into the buying process before we reach out to the brand. When we are ready, we’ll reach out, typically to talk to someone and ask questions or even purchase.

Say you’re a holiday company and a customer is browsing and researching for a holiday to the Bahamas. The customer will use different devices and visit a myriad of websites before picking up the phone and calling. During this process, as marketers, we are building a digital footprint and a lot of information on the customer’s preferences. So why not use this profile information to deliver a seamless experience for your customer? You could for example route the call straight to an agent who specialises in the Bahamas.

You could even do away with the “dreaded, press one to book, press two if…”. As your customer moves from online to offline, the phone call becomes a critical aspect of delivering an experience worthy of your brand.

3. Gathering incomplete data and not doing anything with it

We’ve established, as marketers we know our customers very well through all the data we’ve gathered via their digital journey. How do we use this information? Firstly, it’s questionable how much of this data we do use and if we do, it’s typically focused on driving efficiencies in our online customer journey.

We already know the customer journey is not purely online so we need to incorporate a broader set of data that allows us to understand what drives the offline activity as well. It is only then can we turn the data into insights that help us improve the experience we give out customers.

4. Not all clicks are equal

If like 65% of businesses, a phone call is an important part of your customer journey, understanding what drives the call and at what point becomes critical. In my experience, misattribution is commonplace in this scenario. If the customer first finds your website through paid search, then subsequently visits your site through brand terms before converting over the phone – should the attribution be based upon the first click or the last click?

The issue is clear. Attribution based on last click analysis is typically misleading. With a more complete and accurate data set, attribution can be associated to first click and every click thereafter irrespective of whether the customer goes offline or not.

5. Marketers sitting in their ivory tower

If we accept the view that our customer journey is not only online, then we as marketers need to understand all the parts of the business that impact the consumers experience with us. The issue for marketing is that many businesses operate in silos. 39% of businesses say their call centre or customer service team has a primary responsibility for tracking phone calls while, 59% say they are not integrated with these teams at all.

Sales are happening over the phone regardless – and we as marketers have limited exposure and even less ownership of the outcome. To go back to acquiring and retaining customers, marketers need to connect with other parts of the business – namely their CRM and contact centres.

Bhavesh Vaghela is chief marketing officer of ResponseTap