More channels & lower budgets: why customer journeys really matter.

How do you reconcile the proliferation of digital marketing channels with a business environment that’s slashing media and ad spend?

It’s a pressing concern in many markets, especially at regional and local level.

The shift has largely been driven by the B2B sector. That’s where the need for alternatives to Above The Line and display advertising is most acute – with the need to attract new business using lower budgets.

Not long ago, Always On was a veritable obsession among marketing bloggers. However, it’s only in the last 12-18 months that businesses have really embraced the principle. At the same time, the meaning of Always On has evolved, and is now (somewhat misleadingly) virtual shorthand for not doing mainstream campaigns*. We can see this clearly in B2B, with the growing use of ‘Demand-based marketing’.

The key to Always On: Understanding Customer Journeys

Always On has been described thus:

…it is anticipatory. It hinges on a deep understanding of consumer behaviour; the nuances and the similarities. It is: trying to provide something in advance of the consumer wanting to find it. It is: doing this within a context (time, place, location, emotion) that enables the consumer to easily and simply engage with your products or services
— WARC, 2014

McKinsey, in turn, add their own succinct admonishment:

To improve customer experience, move from touch-points to journeys
— McKinsey, 2016

The upshot for Financial Services especially

The McKinsey perspective articulates a significant challenge for businesses across all sectors, but one that’s particularly noticeable in Financial Services and FinTech.

Banks and wealth managers set great store by Customer Experience (CX) as a business function. Substantial resources are ploughed into tools like Net Promoter (NPS) and Customer Effort Scores (CES), but comparatively little into interrogating the reality of client journeys.

While the reasons for this are many, the persistence of legacy systems and ingrained business habits play a key role, as does a fundamental reluctance to engage with the lack of clarity on this issue.

What can businesses do?

McKinsey outlines six critical actions for managing customer-experience journeys:

  • Step back and identify the nature of the journeys customers take—from the customer’s point of view
  • Understand how customers navigate across the touchpoints as they move through the journey
  • Anticipate the customer’s needs, expectations, and desires during each part of the journey