Today marketers end up working with two or more cloud based marketing tools to accomplish their goals. Often these tools work in their own silos, which makes customer journey visualization a painful data distillation process. Is there a better way?
Too Many Disjoint Clouds Create a Big (Junk) Data Problem
The number of marketing technologies have grown exponentially in the last decade. Some may even say that it's time for heavy consolidation in the marketing technology landscape. But we know how long it takes to really see the benefits of any consolidation effort. The reality is that these so many clouds, combined with lack of industry standards, are creating, and will continue to create, what can be referred to as not just a 'big data' problem but a 'big junk data' problem. Also the disjoint nature of these cloud based marketing technologies is making it harder to visualize an end to end customer journey. As a result, customer journey visualization is often left as an afterthought.
Data Distillation is Painful, Time Consuming and Error Prone
Starting with a variety of data produced via various technologies (and hence often coming from various sources) and then extracting the true meaning of it all can be imagined as a 'data distillation' of sorts. Most of the times this is not an easy task. It requires careful understanding of all data types and finding how the meaning of one data point changes to another as it's mapped from one marketing technology to another. For example number of 'Facebook Likes' can be considered as a result of an email marketing campaign where the 'like' might have generated as part of the 'call to action' in the email. The 'call to action' however might also be coming from a 'Google AdWords' effort. The process of consuming and analyzing all these data points with a clear understanding of marketing nomenclature used by different marketing technologies can be time consuming and many times can lead to errors. The last thing you want is an erroneous visualization of your customer journey.
A Better Way: The Customer Journey Centric Marketing Approach
A better way would be to make customer journey as the center of attention of your marketing campaign. Start by laying out the entire journey and see how various marketing technologies fit together in order to accomplish that journey. This process will help in enforcing data exchange policies between participating marketing technologies. As a result, you'll have a much cleaner data for your analysis. Another benefit of this approach is that you may be able to identify better marketing technologies to achieve your goals. Most marketers end up using the same marketing technologies over and over again without realizing they could be creating sub-optimal experiences. By focusing on the customer journey instead helps marketers think outside the box and combine best of breed marketing technologies in the most efficient manner.