The Customer Journey, Stage 2: Acquisition

Customer Experience

Wel­come back to my series on the cus­tomer jour­ney.

In Adobe’s annu­al Econ­sul­tan­cy sur­vey, the major­i­ty of finan­cial ser­vices exec­u­tives said their top pri­or­i­ty this year is to grow their client base. The per­cent­age of sales these com­pa­nies aim to make dig­i­tal­ly has also increased—by a full 33 per­cent over the next 3 years. In short, cus­tomer acqui­si­tion is a mas­sive pri­or­i­ty right now, as is the acqui­si­tion of those cus­tomers via dig­i­tal chan­nels.

At Adobe, we’ve pin­point­ed a vari­ety of chal­lenges on the way to those goals: lever­ag­ing cus­tomer rela­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM) for off­site adver­tis­ing, retar­get­ing, clos­ing the loop with onsite and off­site mes­sag­ing, and attri­bu­tion between social and dis­play con­ver­sions. In my arti­cle on stage 1 of the cus­tomer jour­ney —aware­ness & consideration—I talked in depth about retar­get­ing, as well as lever­ag­ing CRM and off­site data for adver­tis­ing and onboard­ing.

This moves cus­tomers to the sec­ond stage of the jour­ney: acqui­si­tion. In this arti­cle, I’ll explain how to lever­age your datasets from the aware­ness stage to close the loop between onsite and off­site activ­i­ty, and accel­er­ate your cus­tomers along the next stages in their jour­ney toward a pur­chase.

Clos­ing the loop

One of the biggest chal­lenges faced by marketers—in finan­cial ser­vices and in many oth­er industries—is a lack of inte­grat­ed tech­nol­o­gy sys­tems. It’s been extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to link off­site adver­tis­ing tech­nol­o­gy with onsite per­son­al­i­sa­tion tech­nol­o­gy.

In fact, through our expe­ri­ence from work­ing with many of the lead­ing retail banks and FSI com­pa­nies, we know that their aware­ness phase—display, search, and social advertising—is man­aged by one team, while their onsite per­son­al­i­sa­tion is han­dled by a com­plete­ly sep­a­rate team, and each team uses a dif­fer­ent set of tools.

To close the loop between off­site adver­tis­ing and onsite per­son­al­i­sa­tion, your com­pa­ny needs to be able to link those teams, tools, and data­bas­es. As I explained in the intro arti­cle of this series , cus­tomers expect rel­e­vant con­tex­tu­al expe­ri­ences, per­son­alised in real time, in response to their behav­ior on oth­er touch­points. They don’t care how com­pli­cat­ed these expe­ri­ences are to imple­ment. All they care about is the result.

To get there, you’ll need to focus on four key steps.

Steps to per­son­al­i­sa­tion

The first of the four steps is cap­tur­ing dig­i­tal behav­ior. This means gath­er­ing data on users’ onsite brows­ing habits, cam­paign expo­sure, and oth­er envi­ron­men­tal and tem­po­ral vari­ables like loca­tion, brows­er type, and device. This data can, if pos­si­ble, be linked to known cus­tomer data from CRM sys­tems and oth­er offline data ware­hous­es. This data will enable you to per­form the sec­ond step: cre­ate audi­ence seg­ments. These seg­ments are groups of cus­tomers who are like­ly to be inter­est­ed in a spe­cif­ic prod­uct, at a spe­cif­ic time, for a spe­cif­ic rea­son.

In short, your goal through­out these first two steps is to link adver­tis­ing data (impres­sions, clicks, spend, net­work data, and so on) with onsite behav­ior data, in order to build pro­gres­sive cus­tomer pro­files—that is, pro­files that change and grow in real time as you gain new data on spe­cif­ic cus­tomers and seg­ments.

Once you’ve built your seg­ments, you can move on to the third step: deliv­er dynam­ic offers across search, social, and dis­play adver­tis­ing. Those offers will bring cus­tomers from your audi­ence seg­ments back to your site, where you can per­form the fourth and final step: close the loop by deliv­er­ing per­son­alised onsite expe­ri­ences, tai­lored around indi­vid­ual cus­tomers’ inter­ests and needs.

Tai­lored expe­ri­ences

When a cus­tomer clicks on a par­tic­u­lar search term, or ban­ner, or any oth­er ad that’s engaged them, they should arrive on your site to see a mes­sage that’s total­ly con­sis­tent with the ad’s. If they clicked an ad about mort­gages, for exam­ple, they should arrive on a land­ing page with a big ban­ner about mort­gages right at the top. The site’s entire lay­out should adapt to focus on mort­gage infor­ma­tion.

In short, every step of the customer’s jour­ney should be con­nect­ed, opti­mised, and per­son­alised around that individual’s par­tic­u­lar needs and wants. This will dri­ve ad-to-bas­ket activ­i­ty and move cus­tomers seam­less­ly along their jour­ney toward a check­out, a set of com­plet­ed account forms, or any oth­er goal you want them to reach.

And if a cus­tomer drops out some­where along that jour­ney, you should be able to pin­point where and why they dropped out, and run A/B tests to opti­mise the spe­cif­ic stage in the jour­ney. Maybe a form could be short­ened, or a mes­sage could be rewrit­ten, or the stage could be stream­lined in some oth­er way. This should form the basis of a Test & Learn strat­e­gy, that is data dri­ven and informed by actu­al results. I have not gone into too much detail on this top­ic here as it would war­rant an entire series of blogs itself!

The final stage of acqui­si­tion is ensur­ing that the prospec­tive cus­tomer can com­plete the rel­e­vant forms quick­ly, eas­i­ly and across all devices. This mul­ti­chan­nel enroll­ment and best prac­tices will be cov­ered in the next arti­cle of this series. See you then.

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished on



Customer Experience
Michael Plimsoll

Posted on 01-18-2017

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