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Real-life events elude pure data view of complex customer journey

Customer Journey


Joyce Ling


Chief Strategy Officer

Wunderman Thompson



Wunderman Thompson is a creative, data and technology agency built to inspire growth for its clients.



Real-life events elude pure data view of complex customer journey

Unseen pain points open new marketing opportunities

The marketer’s job has never been as challenged as it is today.

Marketing fragmentation has been discussed for over a decade, since the full bloom of the complex social media and social commerce landscape. Branding authorities call the customer journey highly fragmented, difficult to capture, more impulsive than ever, and easily influenced by KOLs that brands have zero control over.

To address this complexity, marketing models went from having one agency, bringing talents inhouse—having one integrated team—to having one leading agency plus multiple specialty agencies to ensure branding consistency and reduce the risk of risks of overlooking consumer actions. With all of these efforts, and the power to utilize big data and technology, we now fully understand our customers.

If only this were the reality.

This complexity looks different from the consumer’s perspective. Consumers know that they are not making decisions and taking actions irrationally and impulsively. Their behaviors are being viewed as “fragmented,” simply because they are being viewed on platforms and at touchpoints, from a brand-centric perspective.

Consider the journey of just one customer. Influenced by a KOL’s blog, she decides to purchase from the trending social commerce app instead of from the brand’s Tmall flagship. Why? The motivation goes beyond influencer’s power and the Tmall page banner design. Factors influencing her purchasing behavior can be anything from failing to find the key benefits of the products on the TMall page (although you swear it’s there), to seeing a competitive product on shelf next to your brand (it was later recommended by the same KOL).

Bottom line: Her trust has shifted from the brand to the KOL. You see, customer experience is in fact extremely connected and cohesive in its own sense. Shoppers browse, engage, and interact with a strong personal pattern that leads one action to another. Those moments can be serendipitous and impossible to fully anticipate with data garnered from surveys and research exclusively.

Marketers need to unveil the human layer of a customer’s real-life encounter with brands and products. Understanding the shopper comes from recognizing all these shopping moments and connecting them, touchpoint by touchpoint, into patterns and connecting back to the brand. This view of the customer opens brand opportunities way beyond what individual platforms allow. Marketing solutions no longer have to play along with the fragmentation, but can operated in a truly connected, cohesive, and seamless era.

The contemporary definition for integration should not be about just being equipped with multiple disciplines to hit every marketing tactic. Integration should be about streamlining all strategies and creativity around a true customer-centric core. Customer experience experts make full use of comprehensive Customer Experience Rhythm as the foundation of every customized brand marketing strategy. Only with this practice, can marketers develop strategies and creative solutions that are sharp, fluent, and differentiated.

At Wunderman Thompson, we have walked along this journey with many of our valued client partners to discover unnoticed customer pain points that impacted business. Our Center of Excellence teams for e-commerce, MarTech, and data turn these pain points into opportunities to provide creative, customer-centric, human solutions.