Customer journey themes and the importance of wow factor


Most organisations realise that bulk email blasts lead to brand rejection. Subsequently, many are investing in automated, trigger-based customer journey platforms to provide greater sophistication in their one-to-one communications.

Such platforms have capabilities beyond imagination, but it is important not to build a bird’s nest of complexity. Simple and succinct customer journeys, with wow factor or something unexpected fare much better than a long and winding track.

For example, an online-only fashion store might plot a customer journey around significant customer milestones and aim to take the relationship into the real world. The journey may start with a simple congratulatory email followed by (surprise) a telephone call to personally acknowledge the customer for 3 years of impeccable personal style! The telephone conversation may plant a seed to look out in the post for a (correctly sized) honorary t-shirt, and a reminder to upload themselves wearing the t-shirt in their home town to collect an incentive. Simple journey and memorable impact.

Before taking on customer journey mapping and implementation phases, it is essential to develop journey themes so that messaging, goal conversions and wow factor are established from the outset. Below I have outlined four basic themes with in-built conversion goals and the wow factor is a brand by brand element.



Key elements: thank, educate, connect, gather information, incentivise and purchase.

The primary purpose of a lead nuture series is to convince a prospective customer to buy (or join, or donate etc). It is an opportunity to show appreciation to the lead / prospect for taking an interest in the brand. It is relevant to include an educational component about unique selling points, benefits and published content. A good time also to encourage prospects to connect via social channels and ask for further details and personal interests. Incentivising a purchase is not essential, but can get things moving and may be in the form of a free trial, free-shipping, a percentage off, a free gift and so on.



Key elements: thank, reassure, incentivise, educate, gather information and customer feedback.

A new customer series is used to welcome and onboard first time converted customers. Making a great impression after an initial purchase supports the likelihood of repeat business, sooner. The series may include a thank you and even a next purchase incentive. Reassuring customers that assistance with their purchase is available and a nice touch. Educating customers with recommendations for other related products or services is effective and it is often a good time to ask the customer to complete their profile or even something fun like asking for their birthday. Asking for customer feedback is quite common these days, so keep the interrogation to a minimum.



Key elements: thank, deepen customer sense of belonging, upsell, cross-sell, reward, incentivise, educate and increase participation.

As existing customer series can vary significantly in messaging and needs to be of heightened relevance to the individual, which requires fairly sophisticated segmentation and targeting. Existing customers expect you to know them. The messaging must aim to deepen the customer’s sense of belonging and relationship with the brand. Consider customer segment, stage in the customer life-cycle, purchase history, seasonal cues and so on. The series may include new product launches that relate to previous purchases, recommendations based on purchase history, a random ‘thank you’ recognition piece with an incentive that appeals based on previous purchases, a competition for prizes that appeal, sales promotions, company news, social media activity and so on. Brand education can deepen and topics may include social, environmental, company growth and awards etc.



Key elements: thank, acknowledge, award and reward.

Advocate recognition series are mostly about acknowledging long time or high value customers. The series will typically include a stand-alone acknowledgement or award piece that recognises a customer milestone. It may include an upgrade to exclusive benefits, rewards or added-value component. It could include some form of mechanic or call-to-action to measure whether the recognition is ignored or appreciated. A reverent approach to advocacy journeys is to give without receiving, but there may be room for a subtle sales pitch.

Automated journeys are certainly not limited to email. If company resources permit, the most engaging customer journeys might incorporate triggered events across email, social, direct mail, sms, even mass media and heavens, a telephone call.

Surprise and delight are powerful sensations, they change body chemistry and the feelings last. The way to really engage with automated marketing is with succinct, simple but powerful customer journeys.



Katie Gold

If your company would benefit from customer journey strategy, customer journey mapping and implementation, please feel welcome to be in contact.