With the big data buzz pervading the marketing world with
relentless force, the last few years have been fruitful for marketing tool
providers. Yet the boom has also fuelled wrong expectations about the
understanding of digital customer journeys on the part of both consumers and
Consumers fear that companies can combine all their
data into a holistic picture of their personalized journey throughout the
internet, and the NSA and Facebook data scandals have supported that notion. Companies
on the other hand believe that they have the data to derive any kind of
customer journey based real-time segmentation, allowing perfectly customized
offers and messages just with a turn of your finger.
To some degree, these beliefs are the unfortunate
by-products of misleading advertising efforts with over-promising value
propositions on the part of many tracking
technology and service providers.
It’s high time to clear up the biggest misconceptions about
1. Everyone knows what a customer journey is
A customer journey is not a customer journey is not a
customer journey. Technically speaking, a customer journey can be subdivided
into the following parts:
- The Inter-Site
Customer Journey refers to all the websites users visit before they
visit the final website. Tracking these sites with time stamps and a
unique identifier generates lots of data. Challenges are to match the data
to a content ontology and to transfer it to the analytics platform.
- The Referrer Analysis
is actually a subset of the first point and describes the last link before
entering the analyzed website. This analysis is well sophisticated due to
the need for attribution modeling – a main component of online media
- The On-Site Customer
Journey commonly referred to as “customer journey” by e-commerce
companies depicts all of the user’s interaction on a specific site.
- Finally, if available,
the Login Customer Journey comprises of all parts behind an
individual user login gate.
2. I can identify each customer on every step of
Most service providers do not even follow a
data-driven approach to derive an analytical understanding of customer journey;
they rather draw up a qualitative and exemplary customer journey based on their
target group insights. But even when the customer journey analyses are based on
data, they often lack unique identifiers mainly due to complex multi-user
situations and insufficient cross-device tracking solutions. Further, many ad
blocking tools disable not only cookies, but also tracking infrastructures.
Hence, customer journey insights can only be derived on an extrapolated
perspective filling data gaps with projected information.
3. You can analyze your entire customer journey
with one tool
Holistic customer journey tracking is an intelligent
combination of inter-site digital customer journey tracking architecture, well
tagged web-analytics for on-site and login customer journeys combined with the
reach of third party cookie data and complemented with search and buzz
analysis. From our experience, the only service portfolio provider coming close
to a holistic customer journey tracking is Google.
4. Data-driven analysis is only limited to
The concept of digital customer journey tracking
techniques, even though not on a 1-on-1-perspective, can be extended to
non-digital touch-points such as out-of-home, TV or radio. Search or buzz data
can work as a way more effective resonator than traditional unique links and QR
5. Existing segments can be instantly deducted
from the customer journey
A common misconception is that existing customer
segments are directly mirrored in the customer journey. Unfortunately, this is
not the case. Segments, as used for personalization or marketing planning, have
to be built in an iterative learning process. Setting up such a process and
building the required database takes time and constant efforts.
6. I know everything about customer journey
This is probably the most definite lie. The landscape
of tracking providers is highly fragmented. Concepts and technologies are
rapidly evolving side by side to almost infinite numbers of potential relevant
touch-points. Asking the right questions as well as the smart selection and
integration of data service providers and the corresponding analysis will
remain an ongoing challenge.
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