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The Year of the Customer Journey

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There are five agencies and their clients vying to win “Best Customer Journey” at the upcoming DMA UK Awards. These brands advanced their marketing approach to deliver relevant, omni-channel interactions with customers along the buyer’s journey. Interest in all types of customer journeys, be it acquisition, conversion or growth journeys, exploded in 2017, a year we’re calling “The Year of the Customer Journey.”

Customer Journey Interactions Grew 3X in 2017

In 2017, as the approach became more mainstream after two years of steady growth, overall journey counts launched into overdrive and remarkably tripled across industries. In particular, growth customer journeys, for use cases like customer service, cross-sell, retention and loyalty, increased by 400%. This area is clearly a focus for many businesses when investing in customer journey orchestration. As the graphic below shows, acquisition and conversion journeys continued to grow in popularity this past year as well.

It’s not surprising that the customer journey fever is growing so quickly. Today’s consumers differentiate brands based on customer experience. They expect their favorite brands to anticipate their needs and proactively cater to them with timely, personalised, cross-channel content. If this need isn’t met, they have no problem switching to a competitor.

Moreover, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a consistent, engaging experience across physical and digital channels. To meet this demand for excellent CX and capture this ROI potential, many brands spent the year learning about journeys, investigating vendors and working to get first projects up and running.

Growth Aside, Journey Marketing is Still Early Stage

Despite this growth in journey interactions, the customer journey market is still very new. Just this year, the first technology analyst firm formally identified the journey orchestration space and created a report to classify the leading vendors.

While there are first movers making great progress with journey orchestration, most businesses are still trying to understand what customer journey orchestration actually means and entails. As the market is immature, best practices and guides to kickstart journey projects are in high demand.

Maturity Model for Customer Journey Success

To help brands get going, we’ve analysed how the best performers matured to be able to do great customer journey orchestration. Our key finding is that success comes from an agile approach where customer journey orchestration begins as early as possible and follows an iterative, test and learn process.

We see leaders going through four distinct phases of sophistication: CX = Journeys, Journey Mapping, Journey Analytics and Journey Optimisation. Throughout all phases, successful companies use an agile approach to produce ROI quickly instead of engaging in a large two-year IT initiative where value is only delivered at the end.

Phase 1: CX = Journeys

The brand realises that they need to do something to improve the customer experience or they will be beaten by their competition. That something is managing and running customer journeys.

Phase 2: Journey Mapping

After this realisation, the brand moves into understanding their customers' specific journey. This is achieved by running early pilot customer journeys, targeted at specific pain points. These journeys listen to customer activity and map out current customer journeys.

Phase 3: Journey Analytics

At this stage, successful practitioners are running multiple journeys in a test and learn mode, collecting and analysing as much journey data as possible. A key outcome in phase 3 is real ROI delivered back to the business.

Phase 4: Journey Optimisation

There are only a small number of businesses that have progressed to this stage. These brands have learned how to orchestrate customer journeys and have proven the value. Their focus is now on scaling up and scaling out to maximise returns.

Customer Journeys in 2018 and Beyond

Following 2017’s massive growth in the customer journey orchestration market, we cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store. For more information on implementing agile customer journey orchestration at your brand, check out our recent webinar.

Best of luck to all nominees at this year’s DMA UK Awards - our team will see you there!

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