We applaud what Gartner wrote recently when they said: “It’s time for a fourth dimension. Time to recognize the reality of cause and effect, of unpredictable decisions and uncertainty and motion in marketing. It’s time for a new approach to measuring and improving the way we talk to our people. We need to start thinking about time. It’s time for real customer journey analytics.”
Hear, hear to that!
In the same article Gartner quoted Thunderhead as being leaders in the Customer Journey Analytics space. So it probably comes as no surprise that at Thunderhead we’d take this “Moon Shot” a step further to explore the true value from Customer Journey Analytics. We believe we need a fifth dimension.
Time in the fourth dimension is only regarded in the context of linear dimensions, or duration. When you consider time, the fourth dimension, you are seeing three of the dimensions moving through the fourth. That linear, oddly one-dimensional view, misses a whole perspective of customer journeys. Customer journeys do not travel in single, straight, linear lines. They do not only go from A to B or around back to A again. In reality customer journeys are looping and twisting. A simply fourth dimensional view would miss the loops and twists. For most Marketers this would mean missing the big picture and where the real value from Customer Journey Analytics can be found.
At Thunderhead we recommend a Space-Time approach to Customer Journey Analytics, a way to explore the fifth dimension where you can see the loops and twists. What’s crucial about the fifth dimension is you can also see all of the multiple dimensions at once, including multiple parallel outcomes, a multitude of paths that we can branch to at any given moment. Those branches will be influenced by our own choice, chance, and the actions of others. All the things we do plus all of the things we don’t do, all seen at once. You can see all of the parts along the fourth dimensional time line plus you can automatically integrate all those parts into one. This gives a complete, holistic view of customer journeys, all of the forks in the road and see the paths not taken as much as the paths chosen, like the audience’s view of the film Sliding Doors. You can drill down to individual journeys in the fourth dimension, but you can also get The Doctor Who view and see it all.
To be a Time Lord of Customer Journeys you need actionable customer journey insights, or analytics as Gartner referred to them. And you need to be able to see that twisting, looping, multiple journey view, the end-to-end, and all of the roads not taken as well as the ones which were. You need the holistic view as well as that of individual journeys, and you need to see these in real-time to be able to take the appropriate, relevant action.
That’s when customer journey analytics gets really, really interesting for brands seeking effortless customer engagement and happier customers. To quote eminent British physicist Dr Brian Cox’s ‘Wonders of the Universe’: “The practice happens at the border between the known and the unknown. Standing on the shoulders of giants, we peer into the darkness with eyes opened not in fear but in wonder.”