As we understand the journey today, we tend to focus only on our 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 we focus only on the customer journey, we’re are only looking at a myopic view—that of the intersection between the consumer journey and our business—not the actual, complete journey of that consumer over time.

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 look back 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.