The Evolving Customer Journey
In 2009 McKinsey published what, to me, was a seminal marketing article on the customer decision journey, which was pictured as evolving from the familiar sales funnel to a series of loops leading to customer involvement and customer loyalty.
Since 2009, I have been pestering my marketing classes with this figure, while the concept of the non-liner, inner loop has evolved considerably – just see the sample list of references below – to include several inner loops of involvement and advocacy. With the immediacy of social and digital marketing media, customer involvement and advocacy have become the norm.
So, we seem to now accept the fact that the sales funnel is too simple a model, and we acknowledge that the job of marketing is to do more than simply heap awareness in the top of the funnel and hope that it trickles down to sales. (Perhaps – the Super Bowl commercials seemed to be all about awareness at $4.5 million per 30-second spot.)
Now what? How do we apply all of the traditional and digital marketing tools to walk/nudge prospects through steps of the customer journey? How do we support engagement and advocacy and to keep passive brand loyalists in the fold?
Uhhh, the answer is elusive and seems to be “it all depends.” But, we must 1) identify classes of customers via traditional segmentation and through analysis of group behavior (big data) on the net, and 2) figure out what combination of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. plus TV and radio are most effective at influencing customer journeys. Otherwise we have made no progress from the bad old days of not knowing which 25% of our marketing efforts had the intended effect, and we are placing billboards on Youtube instead of the highway.
Of course I exaggerate! We have much better tools and analytics – check out Google link below and see for yourselves. And, furthermore, developing and testing tests of marketing campaigns can now be done much more quickly and easily. But the job of marketing has also become much more integral to strategic and tactical success, while also becoming much more complicated.
And it is much more fun.