This article was originally published on the ERDM Blog.
Andrew George is the Lead for Loyalty and Retention at the Canadian Red Cross. He spent the last 3 years focused on customer experience initiatives and analysis and customer journey discovery. Andrew is a former Loyalty360 Gold Award winner in the category of Brand Messaging and Communication in the Customer Experience category.
Andrew recently participated in our “4 Questions for Marketing Innovators” series. His points about the need for improved customer journey analytics is critical for all marketers.
What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Customer/donor journey analytics is a hot topic in marketing right now and rightly so.
As marketers, we’re accustomed to reviewing data focused on demographics and generalized characteristics to develop customer personas and then create a series of touch points forming a customer journey.
While this method still has merit, it over-simplifies the customer/donor and often ignores their individual preferences and nuances. Customer/donor journey analytics on the other hand modernizes this approach by allowing the marketer to discover the omnichannel journeys and conversion paths rather than creating them.
Why is this so important?
As marketers, we often develop strategies based on our needs and take the organizational view rather than the customer’s/donor’s. We use focus groups and surveys and learn what the customer/donor says, but not necessarily what they do. Journey analytics removes any kind of bias or opinion and focusses solely on what actually happened and what is happening in the moment. It humanizes massive amounts of big data. It identifies the optimal paths to conversion as well as pain points leading to both desired and undesired outcomes.
We recently discovered that something as trivial as collecting an email address upon acquiring a new recurring donor was having a dramatic effect on their lifetime value. While we would assume having an individual’s email address is a positive, we never would have imagined that it was it was the difference between two payments and 13. Because of this, we’re looking to make the collection of a donor’s email address a mandatory requirement going forward (with permission of course).
This is a prime example of how journey analytics has allowed us to take simple, hypothetical questions and turn them into actual business changes.
How will the customer experience be improved by this?
Customers /donors expect personalization based on behaviors developed through website visits or contact with the organization. Having quick access to where they are in their individual donor journeys allows us to personalize this experience and engage at key moments.
We have discovered a number of journeys focused on revenue development but will also use our newfound access to journey analytics to help drive other key business priorities including volunteer acquisition and retention as well as first aid and water safety product and course offerings.
How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
As a charity, it’s key for us to spend every fundraising dollar effectively. Determining the right time to convert a one-time donor into a monthly, recurring donor is a key insight. Recently we asked the question ‘is a multi-gift donor more likely to become a recurring donor than a donor who has only given once to the organization?’ We would naturally assume that someone who has given multiple donations to our organization would be more likely to convert to a monthly donor than one who had only given once. The data suggested otherwise.
We found that the conversion rate for becoming a monthly donor was identical regardless of the number of previous one-time gifts. We have more work to do on this case but looking across a donor’s giving journey suggests that we should be attempting to convert a one-time donor to a recurring donor as quickly as possible. Having the full view of the journey and the data to back it up will make marketing campaigns more cost-effective for the organization, and more personally relevant for the customer/donor.
To implement customer journey analytics, marketers first need to treat customer interactions as a 360-degree experience and use empathy to understand how the customer is communicating with the brand. Social media, email, telemarketing and other channels are simply means of communication. Once we understand that, we can begin to piece together the millions of data points that make up the true customer experience and begin to truly personalize.
Bonus: what is your favorite activity outside of work?
I was recently invited to join a newly featured recurring podcast focused on English Premier soccer club Tottenham Hotspur for American based fans (despite being Canadian). I’m in the process of building a small recording studio out of my home and look forward to sharing my thoughts on games and other club-related news in the coming weeks.