In this podcast episode we discuss how to build the perfect customer journey. Special guest on the show is Amanda Elam, Chief Marketing Officer of Bloomreach.com.
On the Show Today, You’ll Learn:
- What defines a personalized customer journey and its importance?
- How can marketers tailor experiences to individual customer needs?
- Which integrations and data sources can enhance marketing efforts?
- How can marketers optimize cross-channel campaigns for better results?
- What insights can marketers gain from data-driven customer engagement?
- How does personalized marketing impact overall customer satisfaction?
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Amanda Elam
Amanda Elam is the Chief Marketing Officer at Bloomreach.com. With over 15 years of experience, she's a dedicated marketing professional who helps SaaS companies build strong brands and grow successful marketing teams. Previously, she held senior positions at Exponea, Blueshift, and Basware.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the e commerce coffee break podcast. Today, we want to talk about customer journeys. That's a term that's quite common within marketing, but a lot of merchants do not really know what it actually is. So how do you build your perfect customer journey? Where does it start?
Where does it end? What's in the middle? And that's the topic of today's episode. With me on the show today, I have Amanda Ehlem. She's the chief marketing officer of bloombreach. com with over 15 years of experience. She's a dedicated marketing professional who has helped SAS companies build strong brands and grow successful marketing teams.
Previously, she had held senior positions at Expeona, BlueShift, and BestWare. So let's welcome Amanda to the show. Hi, Amanda. How are you today? Hello.
Amanda Elam: Thanks for having me. Doing well.
Claus Lauter: Amanda, customer journey. Everyone thinks to know what it is but it is different for every merchant. It's different for every customer.
So give me a bit of an overview. What do you understand as customer journey? Yeah,
Amanda Elam: the reality is, when you think of a customer journey, it's understanding that customer in context of their current point in time. So, if at the moment that you think about a customer journey, you think it's linear, or even cyclical, you are designing for something that is completely impossible to ever achieve because, as you said, a customer journey is individual to every single customer.
And so using data. To have context of where that customer is at their own individual point in their journey to surface the products, the content, the channel, the whatever that you want that they're looking for. At that point in time is how you essentially build a customer journey. It's not the map that it used to be.
It's really surfacing the right things at the right time, which. I know we're all sick of, we can make a drinking game out of right message, right time.
Claus Lauter: Okay, that's obviously a big challenge for a lot of marketers, because as I said, there is no real framework. It really depends where the customer starts the first contact with you and there's channels to do so.
So what's your take to build the right customer journey?
Amanda Elam: Yeah, so again, I think it's much less about building the journey and it's building the infrastructure to be responsive at a point in time in which the customer decides to re, engage with your brand or that you've created a reaction from that customer to re, engage with your brand.
So, again, if you're thinking about a journey, and I'm going to walk someone down this very specific path, and I'm going to use a yes, no hierarchy, and that's going to prompt some kind of follow up or some wait time and that I'm going to design this entire customer journey around. This really linear cycle, you're focusing on the wrong initiatives, and it's something that's impossible to really ever do perfectly.
Instead of focusing on building out a map of that customer journey, you really focus on using data of the customer in the channels in which they're engaging with you. I'll give you an example. We had a customer. A brand wanted to provide an offer to their customers when they came to the website.
I'm searching for a love seat, but somebody else might be searching for a floor lamp. And another customer might have a browsing history of having search for a rug. So you're a brand of ours wanted to offer. Okay. A discount on a specific product. So, if you think about what you need to know, in order to do that, you need to know what product they were browsing on what they've purchased in the past.
And what type of offer they're most likely to respond to. Would they do better if they responded to free shipping or a percent off or something like that? The way to make that work in this context to build a really great individual customer journey is to stitch all that data together and make it available in the exact moment that that customers on the website looking at a product, and they're getting ready to hit that exit button.
And you want to give them the super personal offer. The reality of doing that is, is insanely difficult. Pulling together the product data, what you know about the customer, and then creating a custom offer in real time before they hit the exit button with that minute and 30 seconds that you have to have them on your webpage.
Brands struggle all the time to do that. That is exactly what Bloomreach helps you do, because we don't think it's about when a customer has been on the website for a minute. If they go to exit, I'm going to give them a 10% off coupon. If they give me their email and their text, phone number for texting.
That's how companies design customer journeys today. And they're missing the magic of that individual experience where you build an offer in real time. Cause it's freaking hard.
Claus Lauter: 100% agree the 10% coupon code. That's something that everyone knows about. People try to trick the system. Was that old fashioned that's around for many, many years.
spoke about data and I think that's where we get a little bit closer to what we really want to talk about. So there's a million different marketing ways, marketing tools and bloom reach. I think you're doing something different with the data and bringing it into a package that really brings up personalization.
Tell me a little bit on how you do it.
Amanda Elam: As a marketer myself, I totally see the dirty data in CRM. There's a lot of different people that contribute to it. There's a lot of different ways. The data comes in the automation that you need to normalize and clean your data and make sure that it's available and accessible and that it's ported into different systems.
It is a huge job and it always, always, always is an issue. Every single prospect that we talked to that comes in talks about how I don't know if my data is in a good enough spot to actually use your tools because my data is awful that this is something that marketers can align in any industry.
The reality is that getting that data into our system in a usable way. And so what we really, really focus on is the data that matters. We don't want to solve all of your organizational data problems. We want to work on the data that matters. And for a lot of customers, that's about 6 months of purchase history data.
That's their customer profile data. The behavioral data. There are things like we have a customer who serves baby clothing and baby products. And so they wanted to know and understand for parents who were in the process of getting ready to welcome a new baby into their family, what the due date was, what the gender was, if they wanted to provide that so that they could offer better product recommendations and even educational advice along the process of that family getting ready to welcome a new baby in.
if you think about the responsibility of that, I'm going to provide this data for you. And you're telling me that you're going to give me better relevance. They better make sure that they're capturing and then using that data in a really intelligent way. And that is absolutely what we focus on.
What are the. Really important pieces of data that your customer is intentionally giving you to help you build a better relationship. And then what are the smart things that you can do with that data to make good on your promise of using the data in a good way?
Claus Lauter: I like the approach of giving smart information there or data, because that's normally not really happening.
It's all leading to go to the product page, buy my freaking product and check out as quick as possible. But the example that you just gave, I really love that. It's like, there is so much specifically for content marketers. There's so much opportunities in there to come with information that really helps the customer and then obviously bring them to the point where they will have enough trust built up with you to buy from you.
Now tell me a little bit on what kind of data integrations, where do you source the data from?
Amanda Elam: The great thing for Shopify customers is that we have a Shopify app on the marketplace and we have a native connection built with Shopify. We can grab all of your Shopify data and use that to build out your customer profiles.
So we know past products. We know what devices they browsed on locations. We know what they've what products they've looked at and haven't purchased. We're also able to glean information on preference data. We know when they're shopping for themselves or someone else, we work with a lot of gifting companies so that we can really understand not just who the individual is, but who they are also buying for.
There's a ton of data that is provided to us by the customers themselves. But then there's also a layer of data that we inference using and other predictive elements like. We've seen them convert on this channel this number of times at this time of day, we're going to optimize their campaigns for these channels at these times.
We see that their style means more mid modern than it does country chic. So, when we do a product recommendation, we're going to make sure we're pulling in elements of the catalog that. Fit the mid modern style. It's a collaboration of provided data. And then also data that we can inference and use AI to make assumptions on.
Claus Lauter: Talking about the Shopify app that you have, how does that integrate into the shop? What kind of features does it have and what does it show at the end of the day to a customer?
Amanda Elam: the shop, we have two different applications. We have our shopify for search application, which actually enables you to power a significantly improved search experience.
I think one of the most common things that we hear from our customers is the out of the box search functionality on shopify. Doesn't have a very good understanding of their catalog data in a smart way, because Shopify is really focused on the bones of your store and making sure that you have a fantastic eCommerce experience.
That means they can't be great at some of these widgets like search and that is an area that we focus on. So we do things like remove no results immediately. So if someone types in floor lamp, and they spell it incorrectly. Or there's a new word for floor lamp because you ran an influencer campaign and one of your best influencers called it something else.
Accidentally, we build those associations so that your product search works fantastically for consumers. Google has set the expectation. Amazon has set the expectation for what that search experience should be like, and we help you do that without a huge dev team on the marketing side. We actually, again, ingest all of your customer data.
So the purchases they made the products they've looked at. What again, we build out all that profile data, and then we actually power your channel. So we power your email, your SMS, your WhatsApp, your, we do, we have direct integrations with tick tock for ads and Instagram and even Google search to make sure that you're not spending money on audiences that aren't going to convert.
But more importantly than that, we are powering these conversations and your digital engagements with your customers using that data across your website and your marketing channels. So you get a whole marketing team essentially with our marketing app without having to hire 10s and 20s of marketers.
Claus Lauter: Okay. How does the process work? If I'm working with your apps, because as you said, you have all these integrations in WhatsApp, into Google, into TikTok and so on and so forth. Obviously a huge benefit there that everyone gets a customized messaging over through the preferred channel they use. From the back end, as a marketer working with Bloomreach, how does my day to day work?
Schedule look like.
Amanda Elam: Yeah, so that is the super fun part of our platform. It's all managed in a single interface. So you're not jumping in platforms. You can jump into the back end of Google ads and Facebook and excuse me meta. You can jump into the back end of tick tick tock, and you can look at campaign performance at the ad level, but really in our.
platform, you're looking at it in aggregate. So you're able to say, I executed this cross channel campaign on all of these. Here's how much revenue it drove. So we tie it all the way down to the conversion because we have that direct integration with Shopify. We can also show you by channel by spend type, and this is all available in a single platform.
We can show you customers who you're sending SMS messages or email messages to. That aren't converting and recommend that you exclude them and stop spending money on sending them text and emails because they're not responding. Like, if you include this person in this ad group, they're probably going to return that product because they've done it the last few times.
Don't spend money on giving them an offer for a product. They're going to return. We help you run your business from a customer engagement perspective, all in a single platform, which ultimately saves you a bunch of time. Our customers talk about how much they love being in the platform and how much fun it is to use.
Everybody knows you hit send on the campaign and you sit there and chew your fingernails off for a couple of days waiting for the results. And in our platform, you can do that.
Claus Lauter: Okay, sounds great. Let's talk a little bit about your customers. Who's your perfect customer?
Amanda Elam: Yeah, so we love high growth brands, especially direct to consumer, because that's where they're usually very digitally native.
The Shopify ecosystem is absolutely Perfect for us. These are. Entrepreneurs who are trying to make a difference. They care a ton about their customers because they're trying to build a brand and they have they own the relationship between their brand and the customer and it's super important to them.
And so that these brands that are working and going directly to the consumer, and they're building a digital experience that is part of their brand differentiation. Those are the customers who are perfect for us. And we see Shopify is just full of those customers.
Claus Lauter: Okay, tell me a little bit about the onboarding process.
What kind of homework do I need to do before I can get started?
Amanda Elam: Yeah, so we are implementation. We definitely put ourselves in the category of an enterprise level software because what we're talking about is not magic sauce. You are going to have to get your customer data in.
We're going to need to normalize and understand that. And then we're going to activate it on your channels. And I don't know that I've met a marketer yet who isn't already running an email marketing platform and an SMS platform and has some kind of data warehouse somewhere and is already trying to run ads and a bunch of different channels.
And so figuring out what your strategy is going to be to bring all of that together and execute it in a platform. Is not again, something that happens overnight. Our typical implementations do take, though, about 2 to 4 weeks. So that's from the point where you sign a contract to where you actually get your 1st campaign up and running.
But the amazing thing is within less than 24 hours. You see your data immediately. What I love is when our new customers join and I'll talk to the CMO. Of the company and they're like, I overnight feel like I understand my customer better. And that actually helps inform your strategy of where I want to focus.
Because if you turn this on and you're like, Oh my gosh, my customers are overwhelmingly converting on SMS. Then let me really start there because they love engaging with me on SMS. That part is a lot of fun.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Yeah. It happens quite often. People have a perception where the customer is, and it's actually, it's completely different profile.
talk to me about the pricing. How do you at bloom reach. com charge for your
Amanda Elam: services? So we have a software license fee, and then we charge on volume. So very similar to the other players in the space, you pay per email sent, you pay per SMS sent, but what I love about our CS teams is that they actually drive your sends down.
So they're like, Hey, let's send less emails. Let's send less SMS messages because what we really want to do is help you improve your ROI short term. That sounds like a terrible business model for Bloom reach. But long term, what we've seen is that. The brands that do that grow significantly faster than the brands that don't.
And so obviously over time, we're helping you grow. You're helping us grow. And there's a tremendous amount of benefit for both of us in serving our customers better.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Before we come to the end of our coffee break today, is there anything that we haven't covered that you want to say before we leave?
Amanda Elam: Oh, gosh, we didn't touch on AI much at all. And that is the hottest topic happening. I'm not saying we have to talk about it. I'm just surprised we didn't bring it up yet.
Claus Lauter: Sure, let me know. What does Blum, Blumeridge. com do with AI?
Amanda Elam: Blumeridge is an AI company. So a lot of the things that I've even talked about channel and time preferences.
So selfishly, yes, AI is super important to us and our business decisions. But I think what is really interesting is the number of marketers who are afraid of what AI is actually going to do to their jobs. And what I would say is embrace it. Well, let's look at what happened with mobile. Let's look at what happened with CMS.
I started my career before there was such a thing as a CMS, and then it started coming out. It was like, oh, my gosh, what's this going to do to web developers? And the reality is it creates an entirely new generation. And what I love about marketers. We are super data driven. We are super creative. And so if you take that combination of being a data driven creator and you apply it to AI, the reality is this is going to be a really, really cool new generation of marketers that we see evolving.
And I just fully encourage everybody to embrace it, be excited and be part of the marketers that shape what the new marketer looks like. I'm
Claus Lauter: 100% with you on the same page. marketers are used to pivot into new things because the interwebs has changed the last 25 years, every few months and something new came up.
So I wouldn't be too scared about what AI offers, really embrace it and. Take the bits and pieces that help you in your job. Can people find out more about you guys?
Amanda Elam: Definitely go to bloomreach. com or you can hit me up on LinkedIn. It's just backslash A Elam. You can find me there and I'd love to connect with you individually or you can check us out at bloomreach.
Claus Lauter: I will put the links in the show notes as always. Then you just want to click away. Amanda, thanks so much for your time today to give us an overview about customer journeys, how AI helps and how it can make the life of a marketer much, much easier. Thanks so much. Thank you.
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