Yoav Susz

A brand really does need to “manage every customer’s unique journey.”

That was the conclusion of Yoav Susz, vice president, North America, for Optimove, who spoke on “Managing Every Customer’s Unique Journey.” Optimove combines marketing with data science to autonomously generate marketing for personalized campaigns across multiple shopping channels.

Susz noted the advantages of using a flow chart, mostly due to the “ease of presentation and ease of measurement.” One would start by planning out a series of interactions with a customer over a single journey beginning with Day One. Each change would result in an alteration of the chart. The presumption is that the marketer knows what to say a few days down the road even on the day the chart is created. Because of that, the flow chart does have limitations due to its inflexibility, Susz said.

He pointed to “micro-segmentation” as a better option, one that he describes as involving an “infinite journey.” But the reason why it isn’t used is because the process requires access to data, a problem for many firms because they have data spread across multiple platforms, Susz said.

So what does one do about that?

According to Susz, “Think about what is your reason to start a conversation. What is the intervention point? What do you want to say to your customer?”

He emphasized that marketers shouldn’t be thinking about the entire sequence of the journey that a customer might have, but instead focus more on “what you want to say to the customer right now.”

He also spoke about two e-mails he received on his birthday, both from the same retailer. One was a “we miss you” e-mail that offered as an incentive a 30 percent discount to return to the site and buy something, while the other came later in the day offering 10 percent off for his birthday.

“It was more important that I’m a churned customer and you’re willing to pay more for that than because it’s my birthday,” Susz said, explaining that the example showed a problem with both prioritization and exclusion.

Another example was an active skin-care customer who hadn’t purchase in 90 days, even though most on average buy every 50 to 60 days. That’s an example of when a company might want to reach out to try to convert them back to being active customers.

One final example involved four different customer profiles, such as one group always buying on sale. Susz explained that if each group had four options each day, each road becomes prioritized and every “permutation would exponentially create large numbers of journeys that no human mind can try to fathom.”

And companies can do tests by layering in moments of outreach to understand individual customer behavior. An example he gave was replenishment in the pet food category, where how regularly one reorders often depends on the size of the animal, which in turn impacts the cadence of how soon they finish the food. Testing and isolating data allows one to find out what’s working and not working, and why.

Susz cautioned marketers not to get frustrated just because one step in the overall journey isn’t great, even if the overall path looks good.  Looking at just the click-through rate or number of impressions doesn’t give the whole picture.

The better approach is looking at the overall journey, and then you can “double-down on what’s working,” he advised.