If you are new to the marketing business, you may have heard of the terms “customer journey” and “marketing funnel” and thought that they could be used interchangeably. Yes, they comprise similar ideas, but these two terms represent two different things.
As the term implies, the customer journey represents the path taken by a potential customer before making a purchase decision. A customer journey map can be used as a visualization framework to track the path via touchpoints. The following takes a closer look at how the customer journey involves more than just the marketing funnel.
The Fundamental Differences
Unlike the marketing funnel, which is linear and more rigid, the customer journey is more circuitous and meandering. The customer journey becomes longer as your sales cycle elongates. The customer journey is particularly interested in tracking the so-called touchpoints that a lead encounters before making the final purchasing decision.
These touchpoints include all the interactions made by the lead, such as opening marketing emails or visiting your company’s website. This is different from the marketing funnel, which focuses on the stages of interest that a client has in your business. For most companies, the average client has to engage in an average of eight interactions before deciding to make a purchase.
Tracking the customer journey, however, is not as easy as it sounds. You will have to gather a lot of information to find out what interactions your leads are making before buying a product or service from your business. Furthermore, it isn’t easy to create a completely accurate visualization of the touchpoints. However, if you manage to create a successful customer journey, it can significantly enhance your marketing efforts.
This is only possible, though, if you have gathered enough information and studied your client’s route enough. The customer journey, with a level of granularity that cannot be achieved by a marketing funnel, shows you which marketing efforts have the best return on investment (ROI) as well as those that are just not worth your marketing dollars.
Creating a Successful Customer Journey
With enough data, it is possible to create a touchpoint-based model (customer journey) that indicates the steps your average customers take before making a purchase. This is usually a good indicator of how clients interact with your business before making purchases.
Based on the audience’s distinct personas, multiple customer journey maps can be made to suit the company’s needs. It is important to keep in mind that not all customers are the same. It is therefore not wise to assume that all or almost every consumer will follow the same customer journey.
Despite being used for different purposes, customer journeys and marketing funnels are indispensable frameworks that can be used together to provide insight into where you should focus your marketing efforts for the greatest ROI.