How to align your marketing technology with the B2B customer journey
Author: Dominic Gluchowski, Head of Marketing, Data & eCommerce at IntelligenceBank
For more than a year, IntelligenceBank has been shaping our marketing technology with initiatives and content based around the customer journey and touchpoints. As a result, the process has helped us to prioritise how we integrate technology and content to suit prospects and customers.
This article will take you through some of the key features of the customer journey and a marketing stack, including how to integrate and measure the two of them in your marketing analytics.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is a visual map that showcases how a customer or prospect interacts with your business. It incorporates every interaction – from introduction to purchase and then finally, advocacy. To plan your customer journey, first you will need to map out all the steps your clients and prospects perform with your business over time. This will include their interactions with your sales team, marketing collateral sent to them and decision making frameworks. The basis of your framework will not only include customer actions, but it will also incorporate their thoughts, predispositions, competitive considerations and emotions throughout the process.
Understanding the customer journey for your business allows you to service your customers better and convert prospects more effectively into clients. Improving your conversion metrics even a small percent can literally mean millions of additional dollars to your sales effort.
What is a marketing stack?
A marketing stack is a group of integrated technologies that marketers use to perform, measure and improve marketing campaigns and initiatives. Examples of digital marketing technologies include Direct Email, CRM, Design, Social Media Publishing, Web Analytics and marketing management with Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms. Regardless of how established your marketing stack is, the ultimate end goal is to have marketing data and assets seamlessly integrate from one initiative to another. This will help drive marketing efficiencies, provide accurate data analytics and prevent the double handling of creative and marketing data. Having a robust marketing stack in place provides more accurate insights and enables marketers to make quicker and more informed marketing decisions. For instance, if an image from your DAM, which is integrated with your CMS has proven to convert more sales, shouldn’t you use this creative across other media as well?
How to Map the customer journey
To map out the customer journey, think about every interaction that prospects and customers have with your service or product. Start this process by thinking of how a customer becomes aware of your product in the marketplace. From the awareness stage, think what the ideal outcome for your customer relationship would be. It may be a user who purchases your product or service and then recommends them to other businesses. From these beginning and end points, think of every other engagement stage you could have with your prospects and customers.
From this initial mapping exercise, you will become familiar with prospects’ and customers’ motivations at each stage and their perceptions of your products or services. Try to understand any barriers that might prevent prospects and customers from moving to the next stage. This could be budget, structural, implementation or any other issues.
Plan the Customer journey with touchpoints
The below graphic shows how to map the customer journey with touchpoints for a B2B company. This graph offers a brief snapshot of the process. Proper, complex mapping would require a billboard full of sticky notes.
To keep this article brief, lets look at the Nurture step of the customer journey.
At the Nurture stage, a company will attempt to engage prospects. At this time, prospects will look to understand if your offer is valuable, and more importantly, better for their specific use than your competitors’ solution. To help prospects progress to the next stage of the customer journey, try to provide timely communication with helpful content to get them to the transaction stage. Examples of material that you could provide include:
Why you should measure marketing technology (MarTech)
The above chart can be used to map marketing performance of each customer journey stage. In the example above, this fictional business is not performing well at the Awareness stage yet makes up ground with engagement of customer/prospects.
The rating process makes it easier to quickly identify big wins your company is having. (For the example above, the business’ goal was to improve the Awareness and Engagement stages through gathering more inbound and outbound leads. From here, the company could provide pricing and case studies to clients or prospects).
Having a few big, quick wins for your business increases the chances of future stakeholder buy-in to more resource intensive projects. From a sales perspective, if you can optimise conversion rates by at least a few percentage points from one stage to another, your sales results will dramatically improve.
Tips for Mapping Your Customer Journey to Your Marketing Stack
With thousands of ways businesses can engage their prospects and customers – take into consideration these concepts when mapping your customer journey to your marketing steps:
– ensure to work within your marketing technology budget.
– when looking at marketing technologies, look for out of the box integrations.
– what initiatives can be implemented quickly to deliver the highest ROI.
– instead of buying new software, how can you leverage existing technologies.
It’s important to note that once quick wins are implemented – and when your budget allows – always plan for the future.
The mapping of the customer journey can align all parts of the business together. Marketing departments are generally known for making promises to prospects and clients, while the customer success team is tasked with implementing them.
By mapping the customer journey, the customer success team will better understand what’s being promised to clients, while the marketing team will gain insights regarding where the customer success team struggles to deliver.
IntelligenceBank’s 2016 Marketing Technology Stack
IntelligenceBank has its own marketing stack to focus on the customer journey. From the marketing technology stack infographic, you will quickly notice that their Awareness stage is double the size of other customer journey steps.
This is because IntelligenceBank are a relatively young company (founded in 2009) and since their renewal rates are very high with aggressive growth targets, it was important to grow inbound leads quickly.
As such, one of the first initiatives was to grow the Awareness stage with outbound marketing. IntelligenceBank started with software that allowed us to pay monthly rather than annually, but it wasn’t necessarily the best option and once ROI was established, they changed to a more robust solution. The key take-away being that we extensively tested and measured with a relatively inexpensive solution, prior to committing significant marketing dollars to a tactic.
IntelligenceBank’s focus is now changing with a focus on significantly improving Engagement and Nurture stages, where a new website, content and email drip campaigns are taking a significant part.
Over the next few months, the AMI blog will feature the following article from IntelligenceBank:
– Tomorrow starts today: best practices for managing creative assets
– Rebrand Checklist
– Managing your Brand in a Digital World
Sign up to IntelligenceBank’s Newsletter to keep informed about their marketing stack and customer journey. Alternatively, contact their customer service team to understand how IntelligenceBank’s marketing solutions can help your marketing activities.