Build a net-new audience years before your product ever launches. Yep, understanding customer journey mapping and the real buyer's path can help you do that.
Back in the good ole days (at least before we had social media, but I am talking turn of the century – not COBOL-land time) I was hired by a prestigious analyst firm with very little (read none) understanding of what the job entailed.
Thankfully Gartner trained analysts really well and back then this meant attending boot camp for a week at their headquarters (Stamford, CT – represent!) and learning the basics of analyzing and mastering markets.
Data, data, data: Connecting the dots
One of the things I will never forget: analysts collect data points. Sometimes they lead nowhere, sometimes they are isolated, and you cannot find how to correlate them – yet – sometimes…they begin to repeat.
The rule of thumb is one data point is a fluke, two similar data points is a pattern, three is a trend.
Sounds corny but is very useful. This is why I am always reading everything I can, related and unrelated to CX, trying to correlate points and find those trends. Because trends – there’s gold in them hills.
Back in the 2004-2005 era, bear with me – it’s worth it, Gartner decided that we were going to use big themes (think digital transformation, but before social media was preponderant). And one of those themes was RTE – the real-time enterprise. I am neither a judge of success, nor am I am someone who chastises publicly – so – the real time enterprise.
One of the biggest influencers for this topic was the emergence of the cloud and enterprise platforms – but very early stages. Very early. And we tried to put together models for enterprise tech, advice, content, and inquiries. Tons of those.
I volunteered / was volunteered for the role of lead RTE analyst for customer service and did a lot of good work looking into that topic, furthered my senses about automation and long-term vision (as a side item, my most-read note ever was an “imagine if you will…” post I did on real-time customer service – with some of the items I imagined actually implemented now. Cool).
Now, the reason I am bringing this up – shortly after the explanation of trends and patterns, is because it was not until recently that I began to see conclusive evidence that the concept of real-time enterprise is within reach.
Two data points for you today (this edition is going to be focused on only one topic, but trust me – good focus).
Engagement matters: Without it, you won’t have customers
First, on the heels of the engagement 3.0 model that I developed in the mid 2010s with my friends at Thunderhead (and one of the proudest projects I ever did – but no longer available online, sorry) they are discussing real-time analytics and RT execution.
And bringing back to memory a lot of the real-time research of those years. They did a very job of explaining and making the real- time concept easy to grasp. I cannot summarize better than saying – if you need to understand long-term real-time execution and the consequences and actions to take, read it.
And this brings me to the second point today (same topic, real-time execution) – and you are going to hate me after this paragraph coming up – because I likely won’t share yet the model – on how to implement real-time actions is dynamic journeys.
Now, you might’ve read about them, or might’ve imagined them, or might’ve thought you saw things – but in reality, this is one of the coolest problems to solve right now.
A journey of opportunity
If you know me, you heard me complain about journeys. At least the way they are being implemented today by most organizations.
Static representations of a single perspective that organizations “adopt” as a generalized model for what customers will do, and then build “experiences” on top of that. Everything that’s wrong with CX is comprised in the previous sentence.
Since customers build their own experiences ad-hoc and each is different, journeys don’t really reflect what customers do. In the old days of limited tech and data processing power and availability, it was “acceptable” (I even wrote a set of blog posts back in the aughts about how to do it right) to create “static” experiences.
In today’s world, you have no excuses. Yet, the “art” of journey mapping has not evolved – there is one journey, there is one-way customers do things. Shameful.
The SAP acquisition of Emarsys brought me new friends to play with, including very smart people (Raj, Alex – you know whom you are) who have been thinking about the concept of dynamic journeys all along. I have had amazing and deep conversations about this, technology up to strategy and narrative levels, the past few weeks as we solidify our product strategy and GTM message. This is, of course, a key aspect of what we are trying to do.
I cannot share this yet (very raw), but I can tell you that it has been an amazing exercise in understanding customers, engaging with them, and co-creating value in the form of business outcomes and met expectations.
Stay tuned for more.
Until next time
Finally, a rare moment. I found this article on mind maps. Well written, interesting picture (captured my attention, in addition to make me wonder how deep we can go into experiences and process flows, etc.) and my imagination and – I want to be able to use the concept in my process of creating narratives and stories about CX – alas, I cannot.
Bummer….it does not correlate, does it? Message me, tell me how / if / what I missed – and you too might be featured in a future edition of in a CX minute.
Next week, a treat! Follow-up convo with a mystery guest (or two, or three) on the issues raised last week around data and privacy… you will want to be there, trust me.
Until then, comment on (just like my past guests did, message me on LI or send me an email if you got my address… worse held secret in the world ;))
See you next week – hopefully back on the right timing.