Understanding the customer journey is vital

Marketers often talk about “the customer journey”. This is a bit more complex than people walking to the tills or strolling over to their laptop to make an online purchase. The customer journey encompasses every moment from the second when someone has a need for a certain product or service through the purchase and even onto aftercare or repurchase.

Kraft is the latest company to invest in this area. Daryl Fielding, vice president, marketing at Kraft tells Marketing Week that her business has been developing a bespoke customer journey tool that will help it create marketing over the lifecycle of each consumer’s possible interaction with the brand’s products.

“This tool and thinking will enable you to understand where is the priority for the brand at that particular point in its cycle and where you should most readily deploy your investment,” says Fielding.

The tool takes sales data and information about in-store marketing, on pack messaging and brand awareness and the consumers’ path to purchase. It has already been used on products within the Kraft portfolio such as Tassimo coffee.

But while Fielding isn’t giving away too much yet about how exactly the tool gathers its data, Kev McFadyen at mobile business 02 recently told me about how the telecoms brand is stretching its definition of the customer journey all the time and putting a sophisticated data infrastructure in place to better understand it.

McFadyen talks about the “purchase funnel” which is roughly a 32-day period (you can read about it here, but registration is required). This covers every moment from when someone first thinks “hm, I need a mobile. Which handset shall I get? And which network shall I choose?” right through to which 02 should serve them on communications once they become a customer. And then how the telecoms brand can offer them value-added services – such as 02 Guru – further down the line.

While every customer journey is different to the next (after all, human beings do things in a variety of ways), the news that Kraft and 02 are investing heavily in managing this data is good news for customers. Only through better understanding the data and offering the right communications at the right time can marketing become more useful for both brands and consumers.

Nobody wants to receive loads of adverts about new mobiles just after they forked out £299 for a new iPhone. But they might be interested in a service that helps them solve any teething problems working their new device. And similarly, nobody wants to see lots of adverts about coffee machines once they’ve invested in one, but they might be interested in upgrading to premium coffee in their enthusiasm for their shiny new machine.

New customer journey tools can be expensive. Managing data in such complex ways can be daunting. But if it means pleasing your customers, then ultimately that will make your financial director very happy too.

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