Ring Around the Customer, Journeys – Not Funnels, and Getting Engaged

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imw-logoIntegrated Marketing Week Wrap Up

Last month I was fortunate to attend the DMA’s second-annual Integrated Marketing Week in New York City. It was interesting to see what trends have gained steam since last year’s event. Judging from the new partners that were rounding out the showcase area, data and marketing automation are top of mind for marketers today. The sessions mirrored this focus with heavy coverage of content marketing, channels, marketing automation and data-driven marketing.

Aside from the story of data, three topics seemed to recur in most of the sessions that I attended.

Customer centricity. While this should be obvious, it isn’t. Rather than companies looking at the world from the inside out, they should be focusing their efforts seeing things from the customer’s vantage point. Understanding the context under which a product or service is used, customer needs, attributes users prefer, all are points that factor into the customer journey – our next topic…

The funnel is dead, long live the customer journey. Rather than talk about sales funnels, speakers referenced the need for mapping out the customer journey while others called it an experience map. Whatever you call it, marketing today requires looking at audiences in terms of where they are in the buying cycle, understanding the associated buying behavior, and engineering communications that engage customers with the right information and calls-to-action, leading us to….

Customer engagement. With the overwhelming number of communications channels available, finding and choosing the optimal mix can seem overwhelming. That’s when it becomes important to bring together the quants and the creatives to explore what is important to customers and deliver messages and experiences that are targeted and personalized.