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Tip for 2015: Move the Customer Journey to Center Stage

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
11 December 2014

Would you consider your marketing practices traditional, mainstream or leading? For marketing traditionalists, digital marketing technology is still primarily used for broadcast emails, and each marketing channel – whether online or offline – remains siloed. Some of these marketers have become quite sophisticated in testing, personalization and design, but for this more traditional group, digital marketing is still about push emails focused on products, offers and company news. 

Today’s more mainstream marketers are harnessing marketing automation technologies and using their digital marketing platforms to increase efficiency and effectiveness – scheduling their emails out over time, using automation for projects like drip nurtures, or replicating campaigns for new events or product launches.

Leading marketers – those who are pushing boundaries and driving significant business results – realize that great marketing entails helping prospects along in the customer journey. What makes a customer’s journey especially meaningful? Helpful content as he or she moves through the buying experience and additional follow-up information to encourage lifetime loyalty.

From researching alternatives and planning a change, to evaluating and comparing providers and selecting a solution, digital marketing can both orchestrate and support each of these stages. Several ingredients are necessary to support this new approach, including:

  • An Email Magnet – The email magnet is designed to increase new opt-ins to your program. Without a strong email magnet, everyone remains as an anonymous visitor on your website, and custom-tailored marketing, including customer journey approaches, remains difficult. Hopefully you've become much more creative in your email magnet offers beyond simply offering a discount or a newsletter subscription by creating something irresistible! Invest the necessary funds to advertise and market your email magnet, including search advertising and retargeting where appropriate.
  • Web Tracking – Implementing web tracking allows marketers to understand where individual site visitors have been, what buttons they have clicked and what content they have consumed. Used properly, web tracking provides the insight needed to know which pieces of content each person is reading or viewing. By incorporating the data gathered from individuals' web behaviors, it’s possible to deliver extremely relevant, targeted messages.    
  • Implicit Profiling – Using this technique, marketers can assign database values for a particular buyer persona based on which pages an individual is visiting and what content he or she is consuming and clicking. Implicit profiling can be the beginning of assigning a prospect to a certain customer journey. (Read about implicit preferences.)
  • Single Identity – Many customers and prospects are viewing content and collateral using two, three or even four devices, visiting websites, social channels, apps, etc.  Having a single identity capability inherent in a digital marketing platform ensures that each person’s customer journey is consistent and updated across all devices and channels.
  • Integrated Content Management System – Marrying a CMS with a digital marketing platform increases your chances for success by helping you serve up the right content at the right stage in the customer journey. Using the implicitly assigned personas and buyer stages captured and stored in the digital marketing platform along with marketing content, the CMS has the information necessary to provide a unique website experience for each individual visitor.

Once all of the ingredients mentioned above are in place, it’s time to implement a newly architected resource center. The resource center becomes central in this new approach to helping customers in their customer journey. Instead of just throwing up all the content you've ever created and putting that in a self-service resource center, consider a resource center that provides a guided path to the right content at the right time based on an individual’s persona and buyer journey stage. 

Automation and email can support the resource center by offering the appropriate content and encouraging reengagement. Today’s sophisticated digital marketing platforms have enabled email and automation to evolve from one-off offers and push messages to rule-based behavioral messages that are in complete alignment with the customer journey.

Marketers that take the time to invest in buyer persona development, customer journey mapping, and next-generation digital resource centers based on implicitly derived profiles and buyer stages will lead their peers in 2015!

Related Resources:

1)     White Paper: "7 Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2015 and Tactics for Succeeding in the New Year"

2)     Blog: 5 Ways to Enhance the Customer Journey

3)     Blog: How Attractive is Your Email Magnet?


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