Originally published in MediaPost.

 

Every meaningful journey begins with a map and a plan. Today’s accessibility to Google Maps allows us to choose the most efficient routes, suggests stops along the way, and seamlessly adjusts if we veer off course. Customer journey mapping should be the same: educational, flexible, adaptable.

In the dawn of AI and the superabundance of data, marketers are taking the plunge into heavily detailed customer journeys characterized by complex buyer personas. So, what can we do with this wealth of knowledge about buying habits, timeframes, influencers and what’s #trending? Map automated customer journeys built on impactful, meaningful content.

Plan Your Customer’s Journey and Hit Go!

When customer journey mapping and content development partner with automation, storytelling is cohesive, succinct and relevant. Automation tools are available for many platforms but extremely useful for email and social channels.

Email and social media automation are becoming a driving force for millennial and Generation Z consumers by serving the most informed messaging at the time it’s needed most. Citing eMarketer, Campaign Monitor reports marketers who use automated emails see conversion rates as high as 50%, while Sprout Social found 37% of consumers find purchase inspiration through social media channels. Automation gets content to where audiences see it most and ensures a message relevant to them. But when email and social automation work together to tell a story, that’s when the real magic happens.

The Automated Dream Team

When creating an audience content strategy, it’s ideal to physically map the customer’s journey because a one-size-fits-all approach to content development doesn’t work. Look at how automated channels like email and social work together to tell a story — and, more importantly, provoke audience action.

Automation tools can optimize content for peak sending times and visibility, as well as ensuring narrative continuation from channel to channel. Email automation tools can track open and click-through rates to learn the best time audiences are most receptive to email messaging or which subject line drives the best open rate.

Similarly, social media automation uses website pixels to collect data on metrics like ad conversion rates and optimizes ads for maximum engagement. These tools can collect data to create target audiences, build lookalike audiences and remarket to website visitors so you have insights needed to serve content that is furthering objectives or identifying gaps in the customer journey. These tools allow for impactful content to be front and center for the right people at the right time.

Leave Customers with a Souvenir

A customer’s journey doesn’t end when she takes your desired action.  Automated remarketing content should seek to inform customers beyond acquisition with newsletters, special offers and new product offerings so the conversation continues. Personalized information communicated through automation turns one-time customers into brand loyalists and ambassadors.  Today, more of us expect our digital wanderlust to be personalized, so make our journeys worth taking.