Digital Marketing from the Trenches : Live at the Hive

Digital Marketing from the Trenches : Live at the Hive

Non-Linear Customer Journeys and How to Implement Them

December 14, 2020

What is a non-linear customer journey, and how do you implement one into your marketing strategy?

A customer journey map is a great tool and a visual way to represent a somewhat complicated process - the path each customer takes as they interact with your company.

Understanding that journey is the first step to fixing roadblocks or capitalizing on advantages.

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What's Working?
How do we provide customers and prospects what they need/want at any given time on a personalized level?

Customer Journey Mapping.

Creating a non-linear customer journey map helps visualize the interconnectedness of modern cross-channel customer experiences.

Businesses that use customer journey mapping to manage buyer and customer journeys average a 79% increase in cross-sell and upsell revenue.

The ultimate idea behind customer journey mapping is to understand our customers better.

The task of merely tracking what actions your customers take is brutal, and to put them into a linear journey is nearly impossible.

And that's why we're talking about the non-linear customer journey!

Let's get to it.
Why Do You Need a Non-Linear Customer Journey?
Back in the day, we looked at the customer journey in a much more linear way. It looked like this:

Image of customer journey funnel, each section is coloured and goes from wide to narrow.

Elements of this funnel are still intact in today’s non-linear customer journey. Even the number of touchpoints has dramatically increased, and the order in which things happen can differ from one customer to another.

The new path to purchase is much more complicated than the old linear way.

Customer touchpoints can now include a wide variety of channels, such as:

* Email 
* Online Ads & Promoted Social
* Offline Ads / Content
* Social Media Networks
* Recommendations
* Website & Content
* Webinars

Simply put, the customer journey does not happen in a linear path anymore. The many touchpoints available to customers creates divergent paths that break away from the traditional linear funnel.

Now, a non-linear customer journey looks more like this:

Image of a complex non-linear customer journey with many touchpoints, from start to purchase decision.

Now, let's look at the different types of non-linear customer journey maps you can use.
3 Core Approaches to a Non-Linear Customer Journey
There are many ways you can create a non-linear customer journey map, whether it's a complex maze of pathways or a simple chart.

We'll be taking a look at 3 types of mapping you can use, depending on your situation.

* Empathy Mapping
* Experience Mapping
* Customer Journey Mapping

Whatever model you choose, remember the "5 W's": Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

Let's use a case study example to walk through.

Paul Sanders is a marketer and wants to learn how to develop an integrated marketing strategy. Experience has shown that many digital marketing sites were not as helpful as had hoped. He finds Marketer Knows during his research and goes through the process of signing up.

* Marketer Knows is a community of digital marketers, marketing managers, business people, and entrepreneurs.