Understanding CJM: Behind United Arab Bank’s Digital Marketing

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In what is considered a rare honor, Facebook recently featured a successful BFSI campaign from United Arab Bank on its Facebook for Business page. Impressed, I publicly questioned Kristine Lasam, of Pink Entropy about the nature of the customer journey funnel and lead engagement process. Her responses to our exchange led to a detailed tête-à-tête aimed at educating marketers on advanced solutions for building seamless cross-channel brand experiences. Here’s the summary:

How can organizations design and implement a holistic customer journey management strategy?
I like to keep things very simple. It took me quite a long journey to get to this mindset. I received a lot of help from great mentors and collaborators in truly realising that simple is gold, but also elusive, so seek it, we must.

My first piece of advice would then be to always use common sense. That’s probably not what you’d expect as my response but asking key questions from the get go, such as:

a. What is the objective?
b. What is the brief? Is it clear?
c. What do we know about our customers?
d. Do we understand our own product/service?
e. Are there any data points that exist? Do they have integrity? Can we use them to gain insights?

are crucial. A holistic approach can only work if you understand that there are interdependent parts that function differently, but contributes to a whole. Segmentation, for example is important. Defining channels and what works within those channels are also parts of the whole that we need to look after.

The key is data, and what you do with it. The insights bring about the execution of an approach that would be multi-touch points, but that’s not the be-all. The be-all is whether we achieved our objectives and hit clearly defined KPIs. Ultimately, we know what works, numbers don’t lie (and this is not only in reference to bottom-line or ROI’s); but also on how many customers understand what you do, or your product, or your service because your purpose is clear—and whether we actually did what we said we’d do. Delivery counts.

How can marketers better focus on quantifying the true cross-channel impact of search engine advertising?
Search engine advertising is mostly intent-based: users are reached while they are searching for a specific information. The metrics are very direct, so the impact is immediately measurable. A cross-channel impact works, say in an e-shop by understanding that it’s one basket at the end of the day. I may decide as a business owner to take my traditional brick and mortar shop online. Then I may realize that I will lose footfall traffic at some point as more and more of my existing customers shop online (and shopping with competition at that), but a decrease in my shop’s footfall traffic and an increase in my basket size overall means that my online activation’s (for example, paid search advertising) are working. I am reaching out to my existing customers and embracing the new who are probably on the other side of the planet and have no other access to my products but online. That’s one example of a cross channel impact. You measure what you have now against what you had before, with a table of the new activities on new channels you’ve embraced, using as simple a tool as an Excel sheet. There is no shortcut, you must get the data, cut it and decide the best way forward.

How are organizational models evolving to avoid silos and tackle customer engagement across channels, screens and experiences?
Avoiding silos requires a strong integration of the channel campaigns (integrated campaigns) but this stems from what I outlined earlier. Start with the simple stuff. Ask the most basic questions, define an approach (there are instances when you can already predict the answers, but seed anyway). I believe it is key not to re-purpose the same campaign across channels but to target it to the specific use cases ( mobile is more intent-based, web more branding, social can be both leads and branding). I am a fan of segmentation, but this doesn’t mean you lose the parts that make any campaign cohesive or consistent.

I also always advocate–monitor, measure, iterate. Then do the run again until you see that the numbers are working for you. This is what I love about being in the digital space. In any of our digital activities and in the way we cut the data, insights impact the way forward all the time. We could start off with a hypotheses that our customers are 70% women and 30% male. That conversions would actually come from a 50-50 split of English and Arabic language; or that blue and green converts better than amber and red. Or that certain messages work better than the others. There is no way of vetting this in the more traditional channels other than to conduct ad-hoc surveys that would require a bit more effort and money. Digital, on the other hand and with the tools that are readily available allows you to be swifter and immediate in proving your hypotheses right or wrong which clearly gives you a distinct advantage. This then in turn impacts everything else that is in your marketing mix, down to the way you ultimately serve your brand and your customers.

In your experience, how has data science helped CPG executives better understand their customer’s journey?
Data points provide insights. You have to ask yourself why they exist. I cannot emphasize how key this is. Digital provides a measurable link from the campaign to the actual sale. Times are shortened, a constant stream of feedback allows decisions to be adapted quickly to the market response. We can be swift and immediate with our audiences and our customers. Data and metrics dispense what was largely prevalent before—a great deal of conjecture, speculation and assumptions which often aren’t gleaned from credible venues. Data science and the abundance of visualization tools allow executives to navigate a huge amount of data and to drill-down to specific elements of the customer journey, design better CJMs. And ultimately make better decisions about your business.

Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed is a brand journalist. He is a post-graduate of "Squared", Google's highest qualification for marketing strategy. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Market Leader, Consulting Magazine, Global CMO and Brand Quarterly. He is interested in the dynamics of advertising including industry topics such as how media is being transformed by technology. He can only be reached at [email protected] and responds within 24 hours.