Modelling and validating customers' digital journeys, the Jellyfish way

| 27 Feb, 2015

As the online research phase of the buyer journey becomes more integral to the final purchase point, Managing Director, Matt Owen addresses how using personas, modelling and selecting the right digital channels can effectivey close-the-loop to conversion.

Jellyfish Managing Director, Matt Owen addresses the online research phase of the buyer journey and how to use personas, modelling and digital channels to guide to purchase.

Video transcript

Sure, so before I talk about user journeys and how we kind of work with that from a strategy point of view, it's worth going back to a kind of a eureka moment, I guess, for Jellyfish about four years ago. This was when we were becoming a much broader, multi-service agency, and we came across the Google ZMOT study. ZMOT, nice, right? So anyway, that's the zero moment of truth.

So historically, lots of marketing models have been based on a Procter & Gamble model, which is the first moment of truth. So in other words, you're stimulated to go into a store by a TV ad, and the first moment of truth is when you go into the store. ZMOT proposes that actually there is a stage before that moment where you do lots of research. That was really, for us, the point that we thought, "Well, hang on a second. What really goes on in that stage? And in the world of online marketing, digital marketing, how can we start to understand that user journey and then to think about what we do in terms of paid search, SEO, content, video to really ensure that we are understanding a particular person's user journey in relation to a brand and then mapping our activity against that user journey?"

So that was the kind of inception point for us. If we fast forward to today, 2015, and actually we're now really integrating the user personas, like I talked about in my last video, with this much more pragmatic view on the user journey and how we kind of do that in practice. We have a very kind of pragmatic model, and part of that is to make sure that when we think about the user journey, the model is fairly simple and in some ways quite traditional.

So actually we start with the assumption that there's a top of the funnel, and that's quite broad and that's the sort of brand awareness point in the user journey. That sort of narrows down to a kind of a purchase point, a decision point. Now that's pretty narrow in terms of that, because there's less volume of interactions. And then it kind of tends to broaden out again towards the base of that funnel. So it's like a sort of a helix shape. Actually, that bottom end is around sort of advocacy, reconsideration. Again it's a broad part of that. So actually we're pursuing in some ways quite a traditional view, and although it is a model, that's absolutely fine because actually models help us to understand the complexity of a real situation and to really focus on that.

Now, I mentioned about modelling and how that's a good idea. So actually a bit of an insight for you. I've actually got a degree in economics. So I can assure you 100% that the world's financial systems are run on the basis of models, in other words representations of reality that simplify very, very complex interactions to make decision making much more straightforward. On that basis, we feel that actually having a model around the user journey is an extremely valid construction. It allows us to identify key points across that user journey. It's a kind of broadly understood kind of format as well.

So actually we can talk to a client who's perhaps got less experience of digital marketing and more about brand marketing and talk about the user journey in a way that they will understand. Also it allows us to tell a story around that user journey in a way that kind of makes sense in terms of the brand. It's consumers struck personas from our point of view and then the interactions we're going to put across that journey.

So models are great, but we do need to think about validating those with as much real data and real insight as possible. So the first thing is really common sense. Clearly, if I am looking to invest in an expensive foreign holiday, my research cycle is going to be quite extensive. I'm going to spend several weeks if not months looking at different destinations and offers. So actually the emphasis of being present at the top of the funnel there is going to be much more significant. So that's going to be a big part of our thought process. Conversely, if I am selling something like party dresses or perhaps shoes, there's a much smaller consideration cycle there. So common sense dictates that we need to be much more focused on the bits that are nearer to that buy cycle and the actual decision making process. So common sense is a great thing.

The second thing we can do is we can use a great tool that Google have on their Think with Google site - we'll put a link to that in the notes - and that basically allows us to model across certain kinds of industry and certain geographic locations which digital channels are more likely to play an assist role in the path to conversion. So we see in some kinds of industry, let's take finance for example, that according to Google's own data that display pays a much more significant assist role in that kind of path to purchase. So that kind of helps us to make the model a little bit more refined.

The third and final kind of aspect of validation is actually around using Google Analytics. This obviously gives us a very specific, data-led view, but two reports to really bear in mind there. So one of them is Multi-Channel Funnels. So the MCF report can tell you very specifically what roles certain channels play in assisting other channels, and that can be very interesting when you're thinking about the shape of the user journey and the funnel that's behind that. So for example, you can see how many times your paid search campaign has assisted conversion that has gone to the direct part of the conversion funnel, the other data part in GA is actually the time to conversion report so you can see very big differences – I’ll go back to my shoes example, 95% of conversions probably happen within an hour or two of visiting the site, travel would be a very different picture.

So if we start with the model we can absolutely use very distinct elements of data insight and common sense to really make much more sense of that model to make it much more real, much more valuable to the brand.

And to summarise on this bringing together previous content on personas, how we work now is we start with personas, we have a number of personas, we look at them in relation to the user journey and the model and we end up with a much more compelling narrative around the connection between the human stuff, you know people and how they interact, and the data stuff, you know the user journey and how we can look at data points around that to really paint a much richer and deeper strategic picture for a client, which then allows us to make much better decisions around how much PPC, how much SEO, how much content, how much display and those kind of things, you know, this kind of channel planning which is an integral part of what we do.

So thanks very much, I hope that’s been useful!

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