Your customer journey is probably lying to you. Let’s deal with that.

What’s that weight on your chest? Is it the crippling pressure to attract, delight and retain your customers by consistently delivering a seamless, personalized experience?

Yeah, we’re feeling it too. It’s daunting. In its annual “State of Marketing” report, Salesforce found that 64% of marketing leaders have become more focused on providing a consistent experience across every channel in response to their customers’ clear demand for it.

According to the same study, top marketing teams are “12.8x more likely than underperformers to heavily coordinate marketing efforts across channels.”

Customers want to be known across devices and touchpoints. They want their interactions recognized to inform what happens next. If achieved, the result is a positive experience that leaves the customer with a whole lot of “feel goods,” a greater likelihood to buy again, and perhaps a willingness to share the happy vibes with his or her friends.

A laser-focus on understanding and creating a connected customer journey is the wisest path for today’s marketers. And while most CMOs would agree, there’s an insidious devil lurking in the details that creates a big question most CMOs haven’t answered:

How do you actually obtain a single view of the customer based on real data drawn from disparate sources?

What’s more, how do you leverage that data to meaningfully improve your customer’s experience?

Enter Journey Analytics

Journey analytics is precision measurement across time and channel to help us understand how individuals are engaging with brand touchpoints, such as email, site activity or social interactions. Journey analytics can bring consumer behaviors across multiple touchpoints into a unified view.  

Journey analytics enables personalization in a way that traditional analytics cannot. Traditional analytics often reinforces a siloed view, as it rarely connects different channels. The result, while not deadly, is lacking crucial detail and context about your customer’s intent and is less helpful as you’re trying to create personalized messaging, unique merchandising offers or dynamic site experiences.

This lack of detail is a common obstacle when thinking about advancing your personalization capability. We’ve had to accept the harsh reality that traditional customer journeys, while well-intended, are usually lying to our faces because traditional journeys are built on faulty foundations.

Elevate Your Data, Enhance Your Journey

There are two types of data which are the bread-and-butter of most consumer journeys and marketing campaigns today.

  • Assumed data: What you believe to be true about customer behavior based on hunches, intuition, conventional wisdom and confident-sounding “this is how it happens” declarations. While it’s easy to snicker, and believe you’ve moved past this, we’re here to confirm it’s still pervasive.
  • Declared data: The reigning methodology. Gathered through a small-ish sample of interviews, surveys or focus groups, this data tends to inform the creation of personas and the careful development of a customer journey. The problem is that it’s never pressure-tested against real customers. It struggles to account for people’s wildly idiosyncratic buying behaviors. It’s a starting point to draft plans, but shouldn’t be conflated with “real." 

While assumed data and declared data can be helpful in many cases, they lack the credibility to equip you for true 1:1 personalization. 

The Better Way to Map Your Consumer Journey

  • Realized (or Actualized) data: The honey-pot of real-time consumer activity. Trackable events that can validate or invalidate your assumptions of your consumer. Analysis of and response to realized data is the only way to meaningfully move toward creating personalized, multichannel, 1:1 experiences that are modeled on where the customer is in their journey.

If 1:1 personalization is part of your marketing strategy, you need realized data to get there. If it isn’t, and, let’s be honest, it may not be, then an investment in this type of analysis isn’t going to serve you very well. Either way, one thing is certain: journey analytics is the path to the elusive single view of the customer.

Get Real: 3 Questions to Ask About Your Data

  1. How was the data that informs your current customer perceptions gathered?
  2. What is the process for how your team analyzes data to improve your understanding of how your customer moves along the journey?
  3. Is 1:1 personalization a core part of your customer relationship strategy?


Three Types of Collected Data