Customer Journey Marketing Challenges and How to Solve Them

May 26, 2021

Top brands know the importance of customer journey marketing as part of their overall digital marketing strategy. Customer journey marketing helps marketing teams gather, analyze, and act on their customer data so that they can drive a consistently customized user experience throughout the customer journey funnel. 

As a result, brands can build and optimize a customer-centric journey that not only attracts high-value customers who drive incremental revenue for their business but also attracts loyal customers. 

These loyal customers typically require far less time, money, and resources to retain compared to the time, money, and resources needed to prospect and acquire new customers. Therefore, they often become some of your best customers offering the strongest ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

Whether your brand already has a robust customer journey marketing strategy in place, or you’re just starting to map your customer buying journey, it’s vital to understand how to optimize each of your channels and touchpoints. As a result, you can build and reinforce a strong marketing strategy that attracts loyal customers. 

And while it’s important to understand the specific steps you can take to drive a stronger customer buying journey, it’s also important to understand some of the most common mistakes brands make when optimizing the customer buying journey as well. 

When you understand these pain points and how to solve them, you can maintain a continuous cycle of gathering, analyzing, and acting on data and optimize your customer-centric buying journey to drive loyal, repeat customers and greater overall marketing efficiency for your business. 

Let’s walk through the most common pain points in the customer buying journey and how you can solve them for an improved customer experience. 

Pain Point #1: Unifying disparate data sources in a centralized location

Your brand likely collects customer data from a variety of digital sources, including your website, app, and paid media.  All of this customer data can deliver valuable insights into the success of certain channels and touchpoints in the customer buying journey, but different sources may not always offer the same answers for certain questions you might ask about your customer journey funnel, including how you can better attract and retain loyal customers.

Without a centralized way to gather, analyze, and act on your data you waste valuable time trying to stitch together disparate data sources. This time could be better spent actioning on the insights from your customer data, optimizing your current touchpoints in the customer buying journey, or discovering new channels that better attract loyal customers. 

To create a centralized warehouse for all of your data storage, you can aggregate all of your digital customer data in an integrated analytics platform such as Google Analytics 360, Adobe Analytics, or Mixpanel. An integrated analytics solution not only allows you to have a single view of all of your digital customer data (via data lake) but also acts as a single source of marketing truth. 

A single source of truth in customer journey marketing helps ensure that you accurately measure the impact of your marketing efforts and helps streamline data reporting and analysis so that you can optimize channels and touchpoints in less time. Additionally, you can also avoid wasting time verifying sources or checking for discrepancies between data from your different sources. 

This is especially important when you need to find quick answers to specific questions about your marketing mix, including how well certain channels and touchpoints drive high-value customers to convert. 

A single source of truth helps you identify which channels and touchpoints in your customer buying journey are truly successful, and you can better allocate marketing budget, time, and resources only to the channels that attract users with the highest likelihood of becoming loyal customers. 

Pain Point #2: Linking online and offline customer behavior data

It’s likely that customers interact with your brand both online and offline. For example, your brand might have both a website and an app, but you might also have a CRM that stores in-person transaction records. 

Therefore, in order to get a full picture of an individual user as they move through the customer buying journey, you need to be able to link their offline behavior to their online behavior as they move through each stage of the conversion funnel. 

Knowing how, when, and why customers move from one stage to the next helps you optimize messaging in each stage of the funnel so that you can align both your ads messaging and organic messaging to match user’s unique interests according to their position in your conversion funnel. You need to be able to do this regardless if these interactions happen online or not. 

This allows you to measure the full performance of your online and offline marketing efforts so that you can better optimize touchpoints on the customer buying journey based on consumer behaviors and their position in the conversion funnel. 

While some analytics solutions (like Google Analytics 360) do allow you to import offline data, it’s important to note that this data is dimensional, and won’t allow you to match data at the user level specifically. To do this, you’ll need to use a cloud-based solution such as Google CloudAdobe Cloud,  or Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

You can also use a tool like Google’s Ads Data Hub to connect your own customer data with Google’s proprietary third-party data (ie data from Gmail and Youtube) while maintaining privacy and security.  Or you can use data-driven or data responsive creative that will automatically serve variations of ads that are best suited for a specific user based on actual or inferred data signals from your marketing analytics platform. 

In turn, these insights on online and offline customer behavior can inform your paid media audience targeting by helping you to understand what types of messaging and channels these customers may respond best to. 

Pain Point #3: Data silos obscure full customer view

Data silos and limited access to the full set of customer data is another common pain point marketing teams face when trying to optimize the customer buying journey. It results from not having a single warehouse for all of your aggregate customer data.

Siloed data means that members of your marketing team may waste time having to go through separate teams (i.e., customer loyalty team, CRM team, media team, etc.) to access specific pieces of information that they need to then stitch together and analyze to form the actionable insights that drive a more customer-centric marketing strategy. 

It also prevents members of your marketing team from having a full understanding of your customer data and therefore the customer journey funnel to conversion. Without this full picture, your marketing team will have difficulty efficiently optimizing touchpoints and channels which are necessary for predicting a customer’s brand value or their likelihood of becoming a loyal customer. 

When marketing teams eliminate data silos via a single data storage solution, they ensure access to important data when it is fresh, and therefore most relevant and actionable. When data silos are present, teams rarely benefit from real-time data due to process roadblocks that prevent marketers from accessing the data they need when they need it. 

Therefore, it’s important that your data storage solution provides fresh data. This fresh data helps ensure that you correctly segment audiences in your paid media campaigns, which reduces wasted ad spend and allows you to make sure that your ad messaging aligns with and adapts to the user’s unique interests as they move from one touchpoint of the customer buying journey to the next. 

Bottom Line

The customer buying journey is one of the most important aspects of any marketing plan. Optimizing channels and touchpoints in a way that drives a customer-centric journey help create a custom user experience that attracts and retains loyal customers so your brand can continue to run efficient marketing campaigns with the best ROI. 

Now that you understand some of the common pain points in customer journey marketing, be sure to check out our blog on marketing analytics best practices so that you can learn how to continue to drive a customer-centric marketing model for your brand. 

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