Oh, the Places They’ll Go: Planning for the Customer Journey

February 7, 2017 Katherine Berry

 

oh-the-places-youll-goThese days, we hear a lot of lip service given to being a “data-driven marketer.”

What does it mean to be data-driven?

When every move you make can be measured against expected outcomes, you’re data-driven. When you start every business conversation with ‘according to the data’ or ‘Let’s look at the facts’, you’re data-driven.

If you’re a data-driven marketer, it means that every choice you make about where, when, and how to allocate your marketing budget is backed by hard evidence of performance and impact.

Peter Drucker, pioneer management guru, said it best. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

New from Allocadia: Measure investment across the customer journey.

At Allocadia, we work to leverage data and technology to help marketers know where to spend their next marketing dollar, and do it with confidence.

In the fall, we announced new dashboards with key analytics into marketing performance. Today, we announced new insights to help marketers optimize investments across the customer journey. These dashboards are a follow-on these analytics, and part of our mission to help customers gain visibility and make better marketing decisions.

With this release, we’ve applied data-driven discipline and focus to the customer journey.

The problem today

Let’s back up a bit and discuss the context of this release. According to Forrester, B2B marketing executives are not in denial. They understand they must prioritize strong control over the customer journey, spanning a variety of touchpoints by which the customer moves from awareness to engagement and purchase.

Even 86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey, according to our partners at Salesforce.

But, we noticed CMOs were struggling to plan against the stages of the customer journey, as important as they know it is. There is often no line of sight into what is spent along each stage, instead subjective evaluation of spend after invoices are received, a process largely dependent upon guesswork.

In a recent Allocadia board meeting, our investors asked specifically how much we were spending on top-of-funnel tactics compared to mid-funnel. Because we utilize Allocadia internally to manage our marketing investments in line with business objectives, our CMO James had the answer at the click of his mouse.

Without this level of transparency, it’s impossible to craft a marketing plan that tracks investment in the same way CMOs are organizing their teams and strategies around the customer journey. We aim to change that with this new layer of actionable insight.

Mapping the customer journey

If your marketing team is built around the customer journey – either by structure, or by the way you see the world – then everything you do is guided by that framework.

You’ve always been able to use Allocadia’s unique attribute fields to tag line items to a stage in the customer journey. Now we’ve extended our usability in this area through a series of dashboards that help you keep a close watch on how your plans are measuring up against the customer journey.

Here’s an example of what your customer journey dashboard could look like in Allocadia, with sections showing a summary view and a view by investment mix and activity type:

customerjourney-plansummary

As you build your customer acquisition strategy based on how you’ve mapped their journey from lead to advocate, you’ll have the insights you need to ensure that your investment plans are properly funded at each stage.

Why this visibility matters

Based on conversations with CMOs at the helm of large, distributed Marketing organizations, we learned that not only is the customer journey different across regions or product lines, but teams may spend differently in more mature regions (where advocacy is the focus) or immature regions (where you’d want to invest heavily in the early stages of the customer journey.)

This new line of sight gives these teams a framework to set goals and spend targets per region based on their unique journey, and how that region understands the journey.

It also gives visibility to marketing leadership to answer important questions like:

  • Do we have the right investments in place to support the specific journey our customers take?
  • Are teams aware of journey stages, and how they’re spending against those stages?

As with every release we do at Allocadia, we want to give the CMO confidence, regardless where a team is located or the product line they are responsible for. If they know their marching orders are to front-load the customer journey, this tool can hold them accountable.

This is an opportunity for field marketers, digital marketers, and marketing operations professionals who make decisions and track investments to have greater clarity and discipline. It’s a kind of lens to judge the value of activities, giving these marketers data and reason for why they’re spending budget on a new trade show or asset. They now have a framework to answer the questions:

  • Where does this fit in our customer journey?
  • Have I spent adequately in this journey stage this quarter?

Companies who are figuring it out are structuring themselves as an organization to reflect the customer journey, and diving budget accordingly. This new dashboard allows these organizations to make sure their plan, and the way they make investment decisions, is aligned to the same strategy.

mix-customerjourneystage

How it works

Allocadia’s Customer Journey dashboards are easily configured to visualize how your plans, investments, and results are taking shape against a customer journey backdrop.

1. You’ll start by defining the various stages of the journey as you define it for your business. This could be the standard awareness > consideration > purchase journey.

If you’re spending money to cultivate advocates, and this is important to you, yours may look more like awareness > consideration > try > buy > advocate, even extending beyond into renewal/upsell. However you define these stages can be 100% personalized to where you invest resources into thoughtful stages critical to your unique customer journey.

2. Next, you’ll assign top-down investment targets for each stage. From there, your marketing team can build out bottom-up forecasts across all relevant products, geographies, programs, and channels, knowing precisely how much they should spend against each stage.

3. The same discipline then flows through to actual spend — by importing data from Finance systems such as Oracle, SAP, Micro Dynamics and ERP tools like Netsuite and Adaptive Insights, you’ll leverage information from invoices and actuals to compare to what you’ve generated from tools used along each stage. For example:

  • Early stage / awareness: Marketing Automation systems such as IBM Marketing Cloud, Oracle Eloqua, Marketo, or Salesforce.com, and Social and Digital tools
  • Mid stage / try: Google Analytics, ABM tools, Marketing Automation, Uberflip stats
  • Advocacy: Influitive (our tool of choice)

Allocadia will show you how much you’ve spent on each stage, by month, quarter, and year-to-date. You’ll instantly know where you’re under and where you’re over (as will the CMO), and you’ll instantly see how much you have left to spend, so you can make any necessary adjustments.

4. Finally, by connecting Allocadia to your CRM system, you can track pipeline and revenue and calculate precisely how much you invested in landing that business.

Ensure every step along the customer journey is supported.

Sure, marketing is increasingly complex, with more channels, more targets, more customers, and more competition. But with the right approach, the right vision — the right plan — you can optimize your resources exactly the way you want. You just need strong Marketing Performance Management processes and technologies to help bring order to the chaos.

Achieving this level of maturity in your marketing performance takes time and focus.

But it’s the only way to defend what you do, and earn a seat at the strategic table. We’re here to make that easier, by giving you the control and visibility you need to set, and then crush, your targets. As GI Joe famously said, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” The other half? Well, that’s the subject of another blog post…

For more, read through details of Allocadia Release 71.

 

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