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May 15, 2017, 8:59:34 PM

How to incorporate analytics into different stages of the customer journey

Emmi Tervala

Senior Consultant, Strategy

analytics-in-customer-journey

As we stated in an earlier blog post, a customer journey map should be actionable in order to generate real business impact. Actionable means that you should be able to take actions that get you closer to your goal, whether it’s better customer experience or more sales. Analytics is a great tool for making the customer journey map more actionable because it helps you to identify bottlenecks and learn what works now and what could be improved.

Analytics is often linked to trendy and complex terms, such as business intelligence and big data. These highly sophisticated approaches are very important, especially for large companies, but often quick wins can be achieved via simpler tools and incremental steps. As Antton Ikola described in his blog post, the key to success is the right mindset. In this blog post we introduce some easily approachable ways to use analytics in the different stages of the customer journey. The best part is that you can start taking action right away.

Awareness

As a Digital Commerce Consultant, my favorite term is purchase funnel which starts from awareness stage and ends to a purchase. Ideally, you should be able to follow up all the marketing activities in awareness stage until purchase so that MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) is easy to measure. Marketing and sales activities should be aligned towards a common goal, which is not obvious in many companies.

Especially in awareness stage analytics, the biggest challenge is to combine offline and online data. Many touchpoints and channels are offline, which means that the data is hard, or sometimes impossible, to collect. Digital marketing activities, e.g. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and social media marketing, are easy to track but how can you estimate the impact of word-of-mouth or street ads? That’s a challenge we are trying to solve. We often start with web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics combined with AdWords, to monitor and optimize marketing activities.  

Consideration

Web analytics have an important role also in the consideration stage. This is the stage where you can optimize your website or webshop in order to make the buying (or other goal) as easy as possible. Try to find the drop-off points in the purchase funnel and focus on fixing those. Remember that web analytics show you some insights but UX development requires also qualitative data to support the hypotheses. Unfortunately Google Analytics cannot read people’s mind, thoughts and feelings.

In addition to your website, there are also other touchpoints and channels in the consideration stage that are more difficult to track. Website traffic sources can give you a hint where your customers are browsing before landing to your site. To dig deeper you might need to use those qualitative data sources, e.g. user interviews or surveys.

Decision

The decision to buy is the final step in the purchase funnel. At this stage, it is crucial to set a goal to your purchase funnel. Without a clear (monetary) goal the whole purchase funnel is much more difficult to track and you will miss one of the most important KPIs, the conversion rate. Somewhat surprisingly, clear goals is the most common thing that our customers are lacking in their analytics settings. The goals give a purpose to the analytics, so do not forget to set those! You can find more information about the goals in Google Analytics here.

After the purchase

After the purchase the role of analytics changes. At this point of the customer journey the focus changes from customer acquisition to customer retention and customer lifetime value. When it comes to customer data, web analytics tools like Google Analytics are not the strongest option. You can have some ideas from Google Analytics but if you really want to know your customers (and you do!) you should have your customer data stored somewhere. And again, support it with the qualitative data.

One of the most common customer experience KPIs is a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that indicates customer loyalty and growth. Remember to ask your customers how they feel at different touch points and combine all the feedback to your analytics insights. If you want to learn more about measuring the customer experience, check Mari Silvennoinen’s blog post.  

As for storing and managing customer data, there are a lot of CRM tools on the market but only the best tools connect your customer data and the customers’ behaviour. We use HubSpot to keep track of our own customers, but it’s not the only good option. For example, Finnish Custobar collects data from all different touchpoints.

The overall Customer Experience

After all, the customer journey map is a tool to improve customer experience and as we have mentioned before, you cannot focus just on sub-optimasing individual touchpoints. In the perfect world, we could track the whole journey of every customer (and potential customer) but that would require huge resources. To start lean, we recommend focusing on the most important customer journeys and common insights.  

What you measure depends totally on your goals and KPIs. In this article we presented some quick wins around the most common KPIs along the customer journey but your need might be something totally different. Just remember that data and tools alone do not bring any value but you need to analyse your findings systematically and act upon them to make the difference.  


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