As marketers, before we even sit down at the desk to implement our strategies, we need to map the customer journey. But optimizing that journey to encourage your users to move from stage to stage, traveling smoothly through the funnel, is the Holy Grail. In order to achieve that ultimate goal, marketers must understand how a single event has moved the needle and a customer closer to the key actions that earn you money. This is art meets science — and in fact it’s a little bit closer to magic when you get down to it. 

So, how do you incentivize your users to move through the lifecycle, and, for that matter, why is it a plus to see the impact of a campaign on the entire journey? I sat down with Sunil Thomas, CEO of CleverTap, for my Reimagine Growth series to explore the art of designing and understanding the customer journey.  

An emotional journey 

Part of moving your users through the customer lifecycle is serving them the right content at the right time — and that means understanding their emotional state of mind.  Sunil says communication is “more important than ever today, you know, than it has ever been. And in these unprecedented times, it’s really critical to use language and emotions that reinforce trust in your brand, you’ve got to be consistent across all your channels and so on.” 

But that level of personalization is generally easier said than done. “Most marketers rely on intuition to craft marketing messages and our Emotion Editor is a way that we bring data science and some technology together to allow marketers to create content that drives conversations or communication with the right balance of emotion,” says Sunil. “So you get to choose, you know, whether you want to list your message with a lot of anticipation in it, a lot of joy in it, some element of fear of missing out in it and so on.” 

The Emotion Editor is based on Robert Bluchic’s Wheel of Emotion, which posits that humans have eight basic emotions: 

  • joy  
  • trust  
  • fear  
  • surprise  
  • sadness  
  • anticipation 
  • anger 
  • disgust  

“You are not going to send out angry messages or … messages that evoke a sense of disgust,” says Sunil, so the team has narrowed it down a bit — and turned “fear” into “fear of missing out.” Once you’ve narrowed down the emotion you want to evoke, you can use the Emotion Editor to help evaluate your message and suggest different word choices or orders to better target your message.  

Defining your customer journey 

Moving customers through the funnel is about more than just striking the right tone with your message. You have to know what your lifecycle stages are before you can match the right messaging to the right person at the right time.  

“So in a very simple way, there are people who just installed your app and that’s a group of people,” says Sunil. “There is another set of people who are active in your app, they’re doing whatever your app is meant to do — searching, you know, exploring, getting information, reading, communicating socially with their friends, whatever the app is about — so there are people who are active in your app. And then maybe the final stage in a very simplistic model is people who are buying or doing what you want them to do, whether it’s subscribing, buying, you know, clicking on ads, whatever your model is.” 

The magic happens when you make the connection as the marketer and bring everything you know together. It’s by controlling the levers that manipulate the natural lifecycle — to speed it up, slow it down, make it more profitable — that the magic of marketing really comes in.  

According to Sunil, “the real marketing creativity comes not for setting this all up once, that’s pretty easy and that’s straightforward, but when you experiment with going from stage one to stage three, what are the levers that work? We talked briefly about emotions, maybe there’s a different emotion that works there, maybe there’s a different set of messages that work there, different from people pushing people from stage three to stage four, for example.”  

It’s also imperative to pay attention to your data so you always know what’s working and which of the levers you pulled is making a difference. “So there’s a lot of creativity and a lot of experimentation and CleverTap as a platform provides you both the measurement and the engagement and action based on those measurements all in one platform, so it makes it right there, you know your results in real-time, you can iterate with the next version of your app, of your message campaign or a different emotion and so on.” 

Having access to the right data not only allows you to craft personalized messages and deliver them to the right people, it allows you to change your messaging up on the fly and respond to what your users need in the moment. Making this kind of marketing magic allows you to move users smoothly through the funnel, creating an efficient marketing machine. 

To learn more about how having the right data can help you pinpoint your messaging and your marketing, listen to the entire conversation with Sunil here.