If you’ve ever looked up product reviews on your phone while shopping in-store, or checked out a brand’s website while watching an ad, you’re not alone.
The reality of it is that for many of us, researching and discovering products happen across more than one channel and our paths to buying are far from linear.
All that only amplifies the need for marketers to be able to effectively leverage buyer journey data and have a 360 view of the customer’s lifecycle.
In a recent podcast episode, Paris Childress, our CEO, connected with Edward Ford from Supermetrics to get to the bottom of why you need to bring data from all stages of the customer journey and how to successfully execute a full-funnel brand test.
Ready to tune in?
Why Having a 360 View of Customer Journey Data Matters
The traditional marketing funnel outlines the most straightforward journey a customer has on their path to purchase. The top of the funnel represents consumers in the awareness stage, while the bottom of the funnel represents consumers in the purchasing stage.
The generation of customer demand at the top is typically less tangible. This is why most marketers tend to shift their marketing dollars towards the more easy-to-justify capture of customers at the bottom of the funnel.
The buyer’s journey, however, can be messy. People switch between platforms and devices and even loop back to different stages in the process before they’re ready to complete a sale.
A full-funnel view of the actual customer journey helps you to build awareness, consideration, and purchase simultaneously. Even more, it enables you to apply holistic data collection and attribution models – from top-of-the-funnel all the way to bottom-of-the-funnel.
But being data-driven is only good if your data is accurate.
One tool that is set to help marketers and marketing teams work more efficiently with their data is Supermetrics.
Edward Ford, Demand Gen Director at Supermetrics, shares that the tool is dedicated to “helping marketers turn data into opportunity.”
By bringing together siloed marketing data from each step of the customer journey in one place, Supermetrics automates the entire process and eliminates a lot of manual work and painful copy-pasting.
3 Benefits of Unifying Customer Journey Data
Painting a more accurate, data-rich picture of what is really happening across each stage of the customer journey can be immensely helpful for gaining valuable insights that allow brands to deliver better experiences and grow business with data.
Let’s walk through 3 main benefits.
#1: Get Granular Insights Into Your Paid Campaigns Performance
Because there are many metrics and insights available through ad, social, and tracking platforms, it can be overwhelming to determine how each campaign is performing and how it’s contributing to your overall success.
For performance marketers, being able to get that 360 view can be especially beneficial when it comes to figuring out what’s working and what isn’t within your paid campaigns.
#2: Resolve the Issue of Double-Counting Conversions
Paid advertising can be tricky, and nearly every digital marketer has faced discrepancies between different platforms.
Here’s a quick example: let’s say your billing platform shows 1,000 new trials in a month. When you look into your separate platform, though, you see that Google Ads is reporting 600 of those, and Facebook – 800. That leaves you with an excess of 400 conversions that are likely double-counted.
So how can you resolve this issue?
Pulling data from the buyer journey into a single space can help track and diagnose issues with double-counting of conversions across ad platforms. What’s even more, Supermetrics lets you dive deeper into understanding whether certain campaigns drive revenue that might not be reported in native platforms.
You can then pull in back-end data from where you’re tracking sales and tie everything together.
At the end of the day, buying processes are extremely complex, and “it’s hard to really understand what’s happening, so [Supermetrics] gives you a little more help in understanding what the customer journey actually looks like.”
#3: Better Communicate the Value Marketing’s Bringing to the Table
As a marketer, understanding what’s working in your campaigns is a significant win in and of itself, but it can also be a valuable asset when it comes to providing the C-suite with a rich and complete overview of how marketing is driving growth.
Edward explains: “At the C-level, they have an idea of what marketing is doing and you can just better communicate the value of marketing and show that value you’re bringing to the table. But most importantly, it helps you with your own decision-making.”
How to Break Down the Silos of Top- And Bottom-Funnel
The buying journey is extremely intricate. Prospects can enter the funnel at any stage (and even skip stages), so thinking about data and channels in siloes can be exceptionally harmful to your demand generation success.
If you think about it, for many people, product research and discovery happen across multiple channels at once. In fact, a whopping 71% of US adults use a second screen when watching TV to look up content related to the content they’re watching.
If you are focusing exclusively on driving conversions by investing in sponsored product ads, for example, you may fail to reach shoppers whose journeys begin in the awareness or consideration stages.
Even more so, if you consider today’s B2B marketing attribution, there is a lot of effective non-trackable activity that’s being replaced by trackable activity that doesn’t drive results.
All of this can lead to missed opportunities, false assumptions, and a lot of wasted time, money, and effort.
Here’s how to tackle that.
Start With a Simple Strategy
While you may not be able to predict every step a buyer takes before discovering and purchasing your product, a full-funnel approach is a great framework for pairing lower-funnel tactics with upper-funnel campaigns.
But how do you get your hands dirty and start generating demand for your product?
Like most things in marketing, the best – and most logical place to start – is by crafting a simple strategy that can serve as a general roadmap to follow.
Above all, the demand gen team at Supermetrics focuses on the following formula:
demand creation + demand capture = demand generation
You can think about it like this: of your whole addressable market (100%), roughly 5% is probably ready to buy at any given time. They’re actively looking for solutions and comparing competitors and alternatives.
The remaining 95%, on the other hand, are still very relevant. While they may not yet be in a buying cycle, you still need to reach them. The demand creation process should be focused on that segment of the market. So when prospects are ready to buy, your brand is top of mind.
As Edward explains, you need to keep in mind that what you’re doing in top-of-funnel is going to give an uplift in other channels, too. He adds: “It’s really about understanding what you’re trying to track and what you’re trying to achieve at each stage and how you measure that.”
Another factor you need to consider is that – if you’re trying to squeeze as much juice as you can out of the bottom of the funnel – you will eventually end up seeing a plateau in performance and you’ll need to invest more.
Start simple and breathe life into the bottom of the funnel by being active in the top of the funnel. Edwards adds: “what you’ll see, 3 to 6 months down the line, those bottom-of-funnel metrics start looking good again. So it’s an ongoing process.”
Remember That Your Brand Name Is One of Your Best Hacks
Observing the volume of brand searches and protecting your rank in the search result pages is an important practice, and “that’s ultimately what marketing should be working towards.”
After all, in the digital space, your competitors can – and most likely will try to – bump you out of the top spot in the SERPs.
The good news is that, even though it might sound counterintuitive, bidding for your brand keywords (and related keywords) can actually complement your top-of-funnel, pain-point SEO efforts.
In a way, Edward explains, driving branded search is where “you show you’re winning the game and that you have a great presence and are positioned very well within the category – and that’s where the best conversions come from.”
How Supermetrics Runs a Full-Funnel Brand Test to Drive Growth
Six months ago, as Supermetrics was setting their focus on conquering the next big milestone, the team needed to know “are we on brand and, in terms of getting to where we need to go, is Supermetrics speaking to our audience, and do they relate to it.”
In digital marketing and sales, everything starts with understanding your target audience.
Without that knowledge, any strategy you execute is at risk of falling flat and failing to resonate with your core customer.
The problem? Edward shares: “This is where a lot of teams can go down an opinion road. So, in true Supermetrics style, we said: ‘let’s test it’.”
Arguably the most important question they needed to answer was:
How do you test this so that the team gets results that help them execute their strategies with more confidence in user satisfaction?
The key piece of the puzzle was finding out how they were performing at all stages of the funnel.
To do this, the team at Supermetrics came up with the idea to run a full-funnel brand test.
The Starting Point
They started by creating two completely new brand identities:
- one very emerging and techy
- one very established, rational, and mature
Once they had these two identities, it was time to run the actual full-funnel test and see what the market and data say.
Supermetrics ran 9 tests across the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. They had a landing page for each identity and were looking at trial and demo button clicks.
Out of the 9 tests, 8 showed statistically significant results, 7 went to one of these variants, one went to the other, and one was inconclusive.
While the testing is still ongoing, Edward shares that the team at Supermetrics got a clear signal from the market about which direction best resonates with the target base.
The big lesson here: Don’t underestimate “how dangerous assumptions can be and how prevalent and strong egos can be.” Put your opinions aside and focus on the data.
After all, “without data, you’re just another person with an opinion, and that’s essentially the truth in situations when everyone is leaning towards what they think is best.”
The full-funnel brand test removes assumptions and personal opinions from the equation. It shows you the numbers and the direction you’re being encouraged to go, and “I think that’s where data is so useful. It’s a trusted advisor that will never lie to you.”
Start Doing More With Your Data
The journey isn’t always simple, but when you have the right data at your disposal, you can make better decisions and increase customer satisfaction.
Having the data to back up your argument is important, but you’ll also need to effectively present your message to your team, manager, or customer.
Not sure where to start? Here’s how to leverage the power of storytelling in presentations and inspire others to take action through data.