by Bruce Ernst on November 17, 2016

Why You Shouldn’t be Focused on the Customer Journey

blog-Nov17-WhyYouShouldntBeFocusedonCustomerJourney.png You hear a lot about the “customer journey” these days in the marketing arena. In fact, when you search this term on Google Trends, you’ll see that Google search volume is up over 1000 percent over the last five years for the term “customer journey”. Meanwhile, some other common marketing terms have also seen an increase in search volume, though nowhere near as drastic, over the same period. For example:

  • lead generation up 27%
  • lead scoring up 102%
  • machine learning up 270%

Why You Need to Look Past the Customer Journey

So, what could be wrong with this? The issue with the prevalence of the “customer journey” is t hat, as we understand the journey today, we tend to focus only on your part of the journey not the consumer’s journey. At first glance, these may seem synonymous, but in actuality, they are two different things.

When you are focused only on your customer journey, you are only looking at a myopic view—that of the intersection between the consumer journey and you—not the actual, complete journey of that consumer over time.

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Why the Consumer Journey?

The consumer journey is a story, woven together by experiences over time. There are some key points that delineate the difference:

  • The consumer journey is not a straight line; it often twists and turns.
  • The consumer journey happens at a pace entirely determined by the consumer herself—not by your data lookback period or your cookie duration.
  • As marketers, we have traditionally thought of this as a depth-of-data problem. But, we are actually drowning in data already. The actual problem is really about both collecting the dots, and then connecting the dots, in order to understand the larger, more comprehensive story. This story happens across a variety of interactions with various brands and web properties, which may include your own at one or several intersections of that overall journey.

Like a Drunk Looking for His Car Keys

It reminds me of a story I once heard about the drunk looking for his car keys...

Late at night, a police officer finds a drunk man crawling around on his hands and knees under a streetlight. The drunk man explains to the officer that he’s looking for his wallet. When the officer asks if he’s sure this is where he dropped the wallet, the man replies that he thinks he more likely dropped it over in the parking lot.

“Then why are you looking over here?” the befuddled officer asks.

Explains the drunk man, “Because the light’s better over here.”

We have done this, not because we are drunk (hopefully), but because we have had no other choice when we don’t have a technology solution that enables us to see the consumer journey.

The good news is that these days, there are solutions available to marketers that enable them to see more than just what is happening on their own web properties. There are technologies available that provide a true view of the holistic consumer journey. And, once marketers start shifting their focus to the consumer journey, it’s going to be a game changer.

Not only will marketers be more efficient and successful, but consumers will enjoy a better shopping experience when those marketers are enabled to deliver more meaningful messages at the right times.

To learn more about the consumer journey, read our research paper: Jornaya 2016 Consumer Journey Analysis: Dissecting the Path to Conversion .