Why tracking the buyer journey is hard but necessary

Like so many aspects of modern life, technology has completely revolutionized the customer journey. Today, buyers have unprecedented power over their experience, and the ability to access a wealth of information available online and offline. According to eMarketer, the average adult spends over 12 hours a day consuming media.

For marketers, the sheer volume of content can be overwhelming, with the number of channels through which one can influence the buyer, expanding rapidly. Between social media, websites, blogs, apps, emails, and ads, prospects can experience your brand across a variable range of unpredictable routes. The modern customer journey is now more complex than it has ever been. And this should concern marketers and media professionals.

A great customer experience results when you anticipate and fulfill the buyer’s expectations at each stage of the buyer journey. But prospective buyers are bombarded with information from every direction, often leaving them confused and conflicted. Given such a chaotic journey, using the traditional sales funnel as a customer journey map to design modern customer experiences has its limitations. The buyer journey is no longer a linear process with a clearly defined start and endpoint.

Of course, tracking the customers journey is a hardproblem to solve for most companies. A survey by DemandGen revealed that 66% of B2B business owners found developing targeted content by buyer stage/interest as their greatest challenges in lead generation.

It makes sense then to step back and examine the nature of the journey the buyer takes to reach you. Delivering an exceptional customer experience startswith understanding how prospects navigate across various touchpoints as they move through their journey with your brand.The success of your customer experience strategy depends on your ability to take critical actions to address key pain points in your buyer’s journey.

Reasons to track customer buying journey

The question companies looking to improve their customer buying journey should ask themselves is – how do we track journey progress and nurture leads toward an ultimately successful outcome? How do we deliver better experiences and convert more buyers?

The answer is a data-driven and nimble approach to user journey map tracking, based on reliable and thoughtful metrics to measure the progress of leads. Tracking the right performance metrics allows you to reliably compare progress through the journey and attribute impact to specific marketing campaigns. 

Getting Started with Customer Journey Tracking

Broadly speaking, most buyer journeys stages have three main steps: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision/Purchase Stages. How you approach each stage of the journey requires insight into the performance and growth drivers at each stage of the journey. 

If your marketing is not addressing each aspect impacting the customer experience at each stage of the users journey, you’re likely missing out on potential growth opportunities. For example, research from Pardot has found that 72% of buyers turn to Google, during the awareness consideration decision stage. That suggests that if your brand is trying to make itself known to a wide audience then it would ignore Google at its peril.

How to start tracking the customer journey

The first step to tracking the buyer journey is to identify the stages. Make sure the stages are relevant and practical for your company to track and address. It’s advisable to start with a general buyers journey for your main offering and create more specific journeys over time. Determine and deploy the right technologies and capabilities needed to identify journeys, understand performance, and re-calibrate the customer experience based on insights into the journey performance.

For many companies, the challenge of integrating and benchmarking marketing and sales data with operational and market data is cultural. To understand journeys map,they might need to completely reassess the existing customer experience. It can be a daunting and lengthy process, especially in companies not wired to think about the buyer journey from the customer point of view. But the end result is worth the effort – the ability to clearly understand your customer’s experience and fix aspects that need improvement.

With more complex buyer journeys moving through multiple touchpoints and decision-makers, accurate tracking becomes even more challenging. While no single attribution model is perfect, it’s crucial to align your attribution model with the buyer’s journey. Accurate buyer journey attribution allows you to not only understand what efforts are leading to conversions but also to influence further opportunities across the journey. 

The objective of buyer journey conversions tracking is to identify interactions that impact the buyer and measure the pace and frequency at which buyers are flowing through towards the desired outcome. Using buyer journey analytics, marketers can design campaigns to reach the right prospects at the right point in their buyer journey, via the most impactful channel.

Successful companies are also able to apply the right technology to each buyer journey. There are a large number of tools available to measure and optimize performance across the buyer journey. What’s important is to ensure that the systems you deploywork together and deliver the insights and capabilities needed to achieve your journey improvement goals.

Mastering Buyer Journeys Conversions

At its core, the buyer journey concept provides a basis for creating a strong marketing framework for your brand. Companies that can leverage the concept will deliver a better customer experience and,consequently, better journey conversion rates and higher customer satisfaction.Delivering a memorable journey makes customers more likely to want to repeat the experience, recommend your company, and remain your customer. The tricky part is usually how you make the shift to thinking about the buyer’s journey conversion in every aspect of how you organize your customer communications and interactions. For those who manage to achieve this, the value of tracking buyer journeys to unlock growth can be a potential game-changer.

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