Customer journey - not always what it seems
As we prepare for our trip to China, where we intend to consider the impact of changing consumer lifestyles on the customer journey experience - Lifestyles enabled by technology and growth in m-commerce. We are focusing on the customer experience.
It is a framework often used to describe how audiences engage with brands, it is familiar parlance in boardrooms across the land discussing customer engagement activity. it's a model that's been around a few years, originating in the last 1980's with consumer centric category management.
It gets more interesting when we consider how impactful the model is to business performance and whether or not it makes a significant difference, I'd be really interested to hear your view - does customer journey thinking make your business more successful?
I think the simple answer is that it provides focus and purpose centered around customer issues rather than operations, the problem with that is reliance on some sort of consumer first integrity. It's also very binary.
We live in an age where branded experiences are more complex, layered, they proliferate around us, there is nothing linear about how we engage brands. Things aren't always what they seem
Take for example a recent shopping trip to Hollister, my role as the silent wallet, begrudgingly in tow with my two daughters, both bent on purposeful shopping - it is sensory, there is no doubt , nothing subtle about it, dark wood, complete immersion, feels like a wormhole into another universe, for a moment I'm on a beach in California, or thinking back to a time when a night club wasn't something you kept under your bed to scare the burglars,but not now.
Whilst waiting and waiting as they tried on less for more money I noticed three things: a rack with discounted items, evidence that retail is alive and well and a sigh from me as to why we can't buy any of them. I think I'm being embarrassing again.
A suggestion to share my uniqueness with #HCOJEANSMOVEMENT, at first sight I'm not really sure what that means, I'm assuming it's mass personalisation, but actually it's all about engagement and a new trial campaign for Quikly , the digital platform that claims to increase ROI for brands.
And an invitation to download the Hollister APP, but no real compelling reason why I should bother.
So how much of this stuff is really noticed by the people that matter, and how much is satisfying our desire as marketers to be part of something and find new ways to drive sales.
As we continue to pursue a desire for hyper personalisation, are brands in step with changing consumer needs or just playing with different ways to woo us.
So is the customer journey model outdated? I think the challenge we have is pulling focus on the role and purpose at each stage. The stages are less clear as context is driven by our relationship with the connected world. I also believe customer centricity only works if audience needs are aligned with brand objectives. What do you think?