Understanding the customer journey is key to effective marketing.
Here’s how you can map the journey your customers take.
Understanding the customer journey is key to effective targeting.
All customers embark on a journey; tracking and analysing this
journey can yield valuable insights into customer behaviour and
shape future marketing strategies. Additionally, it is useful to
know how long you have retained your best customers and to
understand the characteristics of these long term customers
compared to others. These analytical insights can help guide the
marketer to deploy the most sensible marketing messages for
customers at different stages of their journeys.
Mapping Customer Journeys
A customer journey is a very individual process. Many customers
may share the same start and end points in their journeys but may
have travelled to their destination by a very different route.
Knowing the common segment journeys your customers take can be
helpful in deciding what type of marketing messages are
appropriate for each customer based on their current position and
their journey so far. Furthermore, if we can identify a
particular journey which indicates ‘lapsing customers’ then you
can target those that appear to be following this path with
timely messages to attempt to influence their behaviour.
Repeating this exercise regularly will enable you to check
whether you are having an impact in reinforcing positive customer
journeys (upgrading) and reducing negative ones (lapsing).
“Understanding common segment journeys enables you to target
customers with effective messaging.”
Let’s look at how we can map customer journeys in Discoverer and
use this information to our advantage.
Looking at segment movements between two points in time
The existing ‘Migration’ tool in the Segmentation tool supported
looking at the segment movements between two points in time. For
instance, in the above screenshot there are 622 people who
started June 2015 in Segment 1 and were still in that segment a
year later. Many of these customers may have spent the whole year
in that segment. Many others may have downgraded and then
subsequently returned to our highest value segment.
Analysing the journey path between two points in time
Discoverer now allows us to drill down and further
analyse the journey between these two points. First, we
choose a set of points in time between the start and end points
and check which segment each customer is in at each point. From
this, we can then describe the journey between these two points.
By default, we do not differentiate between journeys that go from
segment 1->2 by the time in which they undertake that
downgrade movement (the tool does support this!). All these
results can then be turned into selections in order to aid
further analysis or for direct marketing activities.
In the screenshot below we have used the same two time points as
in the first screenshot. We have chosen to check on segment
membership at 10 regular intervals during the year. To ensure
that the journey identifiers are of sensible length we have used
a lettering strategy to represent the segments. This view shows
that, of the 622 customers who started and finished the 12 month
period in segment A, only 424 of those were in that segment for
all 10 intermediate points. The other 198 customers will have
moved out of segment A and then back into it by the end of the
period (e.g. 65 customers went to segment B and then back to A).
Segment membership throughout the year
Although there are many different figures out there, it is a
commonly accepted marketing belief that it costs much more to
acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. If we know
which customers are our most valuable and also how long they have
been in this state then we have an analytical advantage. What are
the characteristics of those long term valuable customers
compared to the overall population? Or to the newly acquired
valuable customers? This knowledge can help in two ways. First,
we can look to target those customers with different marketing
messages based on their longevity. Secondly, we may be able to
predict which of our newly acquired valuable customers are likely
to have a long engagement with our brand. Furthermore, by
repeating this exercise in the future we can directly analyse
whether we are getting better at retaining customers in the
“How are the characteristics of your long-term customers similar
to those of new customers? How are they different?”
Discoverer now allows this type of analysis within the
Segmentation tool. This is an extension of the ‘Migration’
analysis that has previously been supported (where you can look
at which segment a customer was in at 2 different time points).
Time can be banded into periods so we can group customers by the
length of time they have spent in a segment (e.g. 0-6, 6-12,
12-24, >24 months). The retention tool then displays the
number of people in each segment in each band. All these results
can then be turned into selections in order to aid further
analysis or for outbound marketing purposes.
We have described two new additions to the Segmentation tool
which have enhanced the analysis that can be undertaken with
regards to understanding how people move between segments and how
long they have been in a segment. This information can be used to
both define outbound marketing segments and to gain a deeper
understanding of our customers.
- Understanding the customer journey is key to effective
- You need to be able to understand different points on the
journey, not just the start and end.
- Look at the characteristics of your long standing customers
to understand the potential relationship with new ones.
Get the inside track on your customers, download our free eGuide,
How to track customers as they take a journey with your business