August 2016

A Close Look at Disney’s Customer Journey

When it comes to striving for excellence in the experience you create for users, you have to learn from the best. That is why this Cloudcast episode is a must-listen. It features an interview with Catherine Wood, former senior marketing manager at Disney Media Networks and Games - an organisation that never stops innovating and evolving the way it uses technology in mapping customer journeys.

Catherine is described by host Heike Young as the “consummate expert” in customer journey mapping and certainly illustrates that with her succinct description of what marketers should look out for in the way they plan and execute 1:1 customer journeys for their brands.

First off, Catherine makes the point that it is essential today to be anchored in your data. She describes marketing today as a blend of “instinct and science” and sees data analysis as critical to success.

The discussion is set against the backdrop of the Salesforce State of Marketing Report 2016 - the third edition, and biggest yet. You can read that report here: State of Marketing 2016.

The report found that the top performing marketers surveyed were 8.8 times more likely to have a customer journey plan in place than their lower performing colleagues. Catherine was not in the least bit surprised by this result and stressed the huge importance a customer journey plan plays in how effective marketers can be at maximising the lifetime value of their customers. But how do you go about mapping that buyer journey?

Catherine recommended looking at it in two ways:

  1. Lifecycle: At the macro level, how does your customer grow and change throughout their lifecycle as a customer? She uses the example of a Disney customer from the time they first have a baby, to how that baby grows and develops through childhood and into adulthood and eventually becomes a parent themselves. Along the way their tastes and requirements change, and also new “brand loyalists” emerge - first parents, then their children. You must deeply understand how that evolution requires you to personally adapt in terms of how you interact with them.
  2. Sales cycle: At a process level it is crucial to understand each customer’s sales cycle. How do they engage with you? Through which touch points? Which are the interactions that develop most interest? How and when do they transact? And, how do they re-engage? Understanding this is the key to deriving the greatest possible revenue yield from your customers.

The opportunity to design customised and personalised, (1:1 journey) campaigns across multiple channels using marketing automation tools is huge. Catherine sees the challenge for brands as tying all of these channels together so that the buyer journey is integrated regardless of touch point, and the experience is consistent.

Integrating data into the planning of each customer’s journey is a critical part of this. Understanding which channels the customer engages with you in the most helps you to be more relevant. If the data shows you that a customer interacts with you mostly through the mobile app, email is probably not the most effective channel for you to communicate with that customer. It might be the case that customised push notifications through the mobile app is the best approach.

[Marketers need to] find creative ways to use the data that fits with the profile of a customer so that they become both a loyalist and an advocate for your brand.”

The State of Marketing Report also found that by 2021, 75 per cent of marketing budgets will be spent on Digital. When asked where marketers should “double down” in the mix in the way they spend that budget, Catherine identified that personalisation is fundamental to a success digital marketing effort. But, that it is also important to have the technology to back that up. This means “data at the back end and the ability to execute on social, mobile and email at the front end”.

Catherine also predicted that in the future the next step in how marketers influence the buyer journey will be in in-store and event-based marketing.

Take a listen to hear more about how Catherine is actively using the very latest learnings in personalisation, lifecycle marketing and customer journey mapping to engage customers of every age and interest.


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