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Journey Mapping: How Big Data Creates Unforgettable Experiences

Journey Mapping: How Big Data Creates Unforgettable Experiences

Journey mapping means mastering the moment, and maintaining the attention of your customers at every step in their buying journey

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Journey mapping takes experience marketing beyond the realm of on-screen user engagement. It provides a way for companies to capture large quantities of enterprise-level data to help create and automate laser-focused customer interactions.

“As digital marketers know, the customer journey envisioned for a campaign is often very different from the mishmash of messaging that actually gets delivered at the end of the day,” says Ben Gaines, group product manager for Adobe Analytics. “To solve this problem, journey mapping gives marketers the ability to plan, orchestrate, and optimize customers’ experiences.”

Successful journey mapping means mastering the moment, and maintaining the attention of your customers at every step in their buying journey.

“We all know that relationships aren’t about isolated interactions,” says Adam Justis, director of product marketing for the Adobe Marketing Cloud. “They are about a series of interactions that are increasingly happening across multiple channels, devices, and departments.”

“With journey mapping and natural language processing, automated systems can evaluate the factors contributing to whether people are getting through the process you outlined for them and then determine the reasons why people are not continuing on with that journey,” Steve Hammond, Adobe senior director of product, says.

Wrangling your data

One of the biggest obstacles for both mapping and managing customer journeys is that companies tend to have data silos that result in a fragmented view of buyer interactions. The concept behind journey mapping is to apply maximum data insights. But before you can start developing an effective customer journey map based on insights from your data, you have to be able to access your data in an integrated fashion.

The first step in journey mapping requires the ability to sort through the data that pertains to a customer’s engagement with your company. “In order to go through that process, you need to understand what data is available to you and how it can be effectively tied together,” says Ben. “Today, all but a handful of leading worldwide brands have very siloed customer journey data.”

Augmented reality plays a pivotal role in journey mapping

Customer journeys include multi-device interactions, both online and off. Journey mapping is designed to enable marketers to use all of that data about customer experiences to improve targeting and boost conversion rates. “The ultimate goal is to effectively map a journey across channels,” says Ben.  

Industry leaders are taking journey mapping a step further by pairing smart data with innovative technology — such as AR — to help guide customers on their journey.  One example of a company that has boosted sales as a result of customer journey mapping is L’Oreal. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the cosmetic company’s strategy helped it generate 250 million product trials in one year. The focal point for their initiative — The Makeup Genius app — was downloaded 14 million times within a year of its launch.

L'Oreal's MakeupGenius app allows users to virtually test products and share them on social media.

Makeup Genius converts the smartphone’s camera into a mirror and uses innovative technology to allow users to try L’Oreal’s products virtually, share them on social networks and buy them conveniently. L’Oreal is offering a personalized e-beauty routine via augmented reality (AR). Therefore, all consumers can experience multiple products before finalizing a purchase, and do so conveniently.

As the article on journey mapping explains, technology is a game-changer: “Underpinning the rise of competitive journeys is the emergence of new programming, data-access, and user interface technologies that enable unprecedented tracking of customer behavior and personalized interaction.”

“By making a journey a compelling, customized, and open-ended experience, firms can woo buyers, earn their loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage,” according to the HBR report. “Companies need to treat journeys like products, built and supported by a cross-functional team.”

Making sense of nuanced data

“Customer journey data is among the most nuanced data that I can think of,” says Ben. “Traditional business intelligence is really good at counting things, but it doesn’t do well interpreting activities, like sequence and the time between interactions with the brand. It’s one thing to show a customer’s journey. That’s the sequence aspect, but there is a lot of nuance in the time between two interactions.”

That’s where Adobe Sensei comes into play. By applying machine learning to customer journey data, you can start to predict what a customer’s intent is based on how long they spend interacting with your content. “That is something that is very difficult for human analysts,” says Ben. “But with Adobe Sensei, we can derive a lot of insight by pulling in additional data sources that are probably not available to most companies today.”

Now is the time to start thinking about how to leverage the massive amounts of data being generated from all of your online and offline customer channels. Adobe Sensei is a tool that can help you harvest actionable insights from highly granular journey data. From there, customer journey mapping could provide the means for acting on that knowledge to fine-tune marketing strategies, fix targeting problems, and take advantage of trends and opportunities.

Journey mapping is on the forefront of a new wave of technology that can help companies create and manage fluid experiences across all touchpoints and platforms. That means using real-time data to sync your messaging with your customers’ needs at any given time within your buying ecosystem.

“We’ve got all of this omnichannel data and powerful machine learning technology,” says Ben. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could put that together and figure out what is and what isn’t working for our customers? That’s what Adobe is working to do.”

Read more about big data and immersive storytelling in our Beyond the Screen collection. #KnowYourCustomers

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