Event-Driven Marketing and the Customer Journey Two-Step

When I’m not on the road and spreading the word about cross-channel campaign management, I do my best to stay active. I spend what little free time I have running, hiking, and taking my bike for a spin. I have always been fast on my feet, except when it comes to one thing—dancing.

Dancing is admittedly not my strong suit, but it is something that most of us will endeavor at some point in our lives–unless we avoid weddings, birthdays and parties altogether. Luckily, there is a fail-safe technique every person can follow, regardless of experience, to ensure dance-floor mishaps are kept at a bare minimum: the two-step.

The two-step involves very little footwork, as the title implies, and is the perfect fallback for any dancer reluctant to try out new moves in front of a large audience. The two-step is simple, fun, and easy to master–much like today’s customer journey.

The customer journey has traditionally been a one-step process in years past, focusing purely on outbound channels. This method is easy to do, which is why so many organizations strive to “keep it simple” by concentrating on outbound alone. But this method is outdated, primarily because the customer journey is no longer a linear process.

One step is neutral, uninteresting, and fails to add a robust experience to the customer journey. Adding another step that mixes email with other outbound and inbound channels however, is the perfect way to liven up your brand’s approach to the process that tells you everything you need to know. This is exactly why I have named a simple method for learning more about the customer experience, “The Customer Journey Two-Step.”

What is the Customer Journey Two-Step?

Many organizations are running campaigns today involving a single tactic: direct outbound communication. These organizations are consistently pushing their messages through, sending customers offers and information on the latest products and services. Although this is a necessary component of email marketing, using an outbound tactic without context does little to create real value for your audience.

Of course, the customer journey has to start somewhere, and using what information your organization has to create the best offers is where the customer journey begins. The second step, however, isn’t so one-sided. This step is based on information collected after the customer journey is initiated.

Think about your last phone purchase, for example. The moment you purchased your smartphone, your wireless provider most likely put you into an on-boarding journey to promote everything you would ever need to know about your new phone. This is a great first step designed to deliver valuable, actionable information to new customers regarding their recently purchased product. But sooner or later, things are going to change.

These changes, or triggers, are integral parts of a practice known as event-driven marketing (EDM). EDM is a discipline that reacts to identifiable changes in the needs of a company’s current customers. In the case of a recent smartphone purchase, triggers could be set off by a new phone or accessory purchase, a move to another city, additional lines added to your account, and so on.

Addressing these triggers is what the customer journey two-step is all about. If an existing customer just bought a new phone accessory, emailing them accessory tips and tricks would help them get the most out of their new product. A recent move would signal businesses to send out relevant correspondence about local attractions, events, helpful contacts–and of course, the nearest store location. Performing the customer journey two-step means developing more robust interactions between customers and companies that build relevance, value and brand trust among the people you are marketing to.

How can my Business Benefit from the Customer Journey?

Dance moves a little rusty? Not to worry, the customer journey two-step—much like its rhythmic counterpart—is simple enough for anyone to apply. Odds are your company is already well versed in the art of outbound email marketing. Now all you have to do is develop that crucial second step: reacting to your “partner,” i.e. your customer, to gauge their wants, needs and interests at a particular moment in time.

When your company develops the ability to refine its message based on changes in location, response rates, purchases and upgrades, you will be building yourself up as a brand that understands the distinct needs of your customers. All from following two simple steps toward creating personalized customer journeys. Not a bad way to get your marketing department started out on the right foot.

If you are interested in learning more about creating memorable customer journeys, join me as I host the live webinar, “Adobe Campaign and Customer Journey,” Friday, August 14th at 11am PT. During the webinar, I will be focusing on creating and automating customer journeys designed to help businesses develop phenomenal cross-channel experiences for their customers.