Throwback Thursday: The Customer Journey Then and Now

Let’s face it: everything these days is about a journey. No longer is it sufficient just to say that you have moved jobs or learned a new skill or achieved an ambition – or even come through a period of change in your personal circumstances. No – you have been on a journey.

So it comes as no surprise that marketing has also wholeheartedly embraced the journey concept in various ways and none so much as ”the customer journey”. In the spirit of Throwback Thursday we take a lighthearted look at the comparison between the customer journey then and now. With apologies to Monty Python we wonder how it might be perceived by the Four Yorkshiremen (if you have no idea who they are then click HERE for enlightenment!)

Who’d have thought we’d be sitting ‘ere today talking about customer journeys? In our youth no-one said owt about a journey. Except the one from home t’shop, which weren’t that far. In them days we were just glad to ‘ave a shop! So yer journey were you walked t’shop, bought yer stuff and came home again. But we were ‘appy.

So what exactly is today’s journey then? Well it’s all the steps a customer goes through to get to know a company before they finally buy from it. Apparently there are lots of twists and turns along the way and customers no longer move from point A to point B in a linear fashion (that means straight line to you ‘n’ me). So these ‘ere marketing types need to help customers keep on t’straight and narrow through their journey by popping up every now and again on t’journey to create “magic moments”. Aye that were indeed a song – but nowadays it means giving customers three of the best: best content – best time – best channel: so they think we’re a bit good.

Some companies reckon they can produce a map of the customer journey to see where people might need a bit of a magic moment. We used to dream of a map! They say there are three areas that can really help to make the customer journey a success:

  • Although we’re different we’re a bit the same
    People are people. Whilst businesses, customers, and potential customers are not identical there are likely to be common stages and processes that most of them go through while interacting with your brand. If we can find out what these commonalities are then we can put effort into making them special. Like us!
  • We can make imaginary friends!
    Now this is interesting! If we start analysing all this journey stuff, we may find we can visualise the types of people who are likely to want to make that journey. We can create a series of imaginary friends that we can then pretend are on the journey to buying from us. What do and don’t these friends like? What will persuade them to stay interested in what we have to offer? The idea is to get to know these imaginary friends very very well. If you think you were lucky to have a friend we are even luckier as we can literally make as many imaginary friends as we like!
  • Channel Hopping
    When we were young it were luxury to have a television at all and if we did it would likely as ‘ave just one channel. Nowadays you hear about all kinds of so-called channels – phone calls, mail, website, smartphone apps, social media, blogs and face to face interactions. The idea being that we should do our best to build in lots of different channels into customer journeys and enable customers to enjoy consistently magic moments whichever channel they happen to be on at the time. We can also learn about how each channel affects the other channels ie if your customer particularly likes something on one channel then we could also try it on one or more of t’others too.

Throwback Thursday shows how very different things used to be and how much things have changed. In fact as the Four Yorkshiremen so succinctly put it “You try and tell the young people of today that and they won’t believe you”. But things have indeed changed and we must adapt in order to survive. In terms of the customer journey we need to adapt how we do things to ensure that we meet customers every step of the way and always give them three of the best – ie the best content, at the right time, on the most appropriate channel – to make every moment magic.