Whilst British Astronaut Tim Peake is pioneering journeys on the International Space Station and Virgin Galactic unveil their new spaceship Unity, we are celebrating Britain’s rich heritage in exploration and discussing five trends in customer journey analytics to help you explore a different type of journey, but one that’s no less complex or exciting: your customer’s journey.

Part 4 – Customer Communities and Customer Journey Analytics

Ranulph Fiennes Photograph By David Ward - OTRS, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31466866Sir Ranulph Fiennes, OBE, 3rd Baronet, is described as ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ by the Guinness Book of Records, and his life story shows this is no exaggeration. He was awarded the Polar Medal for outstanding service to British polar exploration and research and leader of the first expedition to journey around the world on its polar axis by only using surface transport, and the first person ever to reach the summit of Mt Everest and cross both polar ice caps. Someone who was clearly prepared to take some risks, he was famously quoted by his future father-in-law as being “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” The reality however is he never had any deaths on any of his expeditions. So actually, rather handy to know.

Torch-Bearer Marketers say, ‘It’s mad, bad and dangerous not to know your customers.’ The key is having the right kind of customer insights at the right time. Being equipped with Actionable Journey Insights is mission-critical. One of the main reasons for this is how these journey insights will enable marketers to discover customer communities. These communities are only revealed as customers interact with brands. Marketers then use a holistic, Mountain Eagle-eye view of real-time journey insights to see overlaps of common customer behaviours as they’re evolving. These clusters are the customer communities. They are fluid and overlap. They change as customers change behaviour. Most of all, being made up of real people, they’re alive. It’s what the world looks like when you stand in Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s shoes at the top of Mount Everest. Beautiful.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes once said: “Some will doubtless say it is bonkers and irresponsible, as we simply cannot be sure of success. But had NASA followed that logic, Neil Armstrong would never have set foot on the moon”. In the context of traditional marketing these customer communities and how they are identified, and the way they keep changing all might feel a bit bonkers. The lack of pre-determination will feel as risky to some marketers as contemplating walking the Arctic in winter.

Traditional marketing relied on pre-determined customer segmentation. This Traditional segmentation was not based on behavior. Customer insight was deemed very important, but unfortunately it was just the wrong kind of customer insight. Historic customer data records were mined. Lengthy, expensive market research studies were poured over. Big marketing brains carefully crafted customer segments from all this information. Companies then decided who they think fitted which products and services, including or excluding people according to their segment profile. Campaign planning was based on those segments. The truth however today is that this inside-out view of customer groups is irresponsible. For too many brands it produced poor customer retention, poor customer satisfaction, and poor marketing ROI. There are too many brands who despite making huge investments in customer segmentation have gone the way of Lawrence Oates “I am just going outside and may be some time.”  Just take a look at the Yellow Pages. Or Blockbuster.

On the other hand you can broaden your horizons with customer communities. These are focused on groups of people according to how they behave in and across journeys. Communities enable you to keep an open mind as to who might buy what you offer. Communities transcend race, age, location and more and are much more likely to connect you with a wider range of people who will go on to become loyal customers.

Don’t get lost out there in the cold desolation of traditional marketing. Try on something a bit bonkers for size and see how it fits. Have a go at finding your customer communities with actionable journey insight. Then pack your bags and get ready for the journey of a lifetime: your customers’ journey. To misquote Fiennes: “There’s no such thing as bad customers, just inappropriate customer insight.”

If you thought that was good, these will blow your mind…