12 Dimensions of the Customer Journey


This content originally appeared on ScienceAndMagic.com, published September 4th, 2020.


These phases, or something very close to them, tend to exist in every customer journey. Every company and every customer is different, but for the sake of having a starting point – this is where we generally start to identify and prioritize which problems we solve for our clients.

Our goal here is to understand how the brand is behaving, what the experience looks and feels like, and how the consumer’s state of mind is changing and how their behavior exhibits those changes through each stage of the journey. From there, our goal is to develop, test, optimize, scale and automate experiences that reduce friction and increase conversion from one of these stages to the next.

Audience: This is a person who is what we would consider to be just existing in the universe – this is any person out in the world who might be a potential customer. How might we find right-fit customers in this universe?



      • Audience: This is a person who is what we would consider to be just existing in the universe – this is any person out in the world who might be a potential customer. How might we find right-fit customers in this universe?
      • Awareness: This is a person who demonstrates that they have some level of awareness that the brand exists. How can the brand introduce themselves to people?
      • Perception: This person’s has demonstrated that they’ve established some form of positive or negative perception of the brand. How do we establish a position in the hearts and minds of our target audience?
      • Research: This person is actively researching the brand or a related topic. What do we need to do to ensure we are a part of this person’s consideration set?
      • Evaluation: This person has exhibited behaviors that indicate they are evaluating different solutions to solve their problem. How can we gain the confidence and trust of this person that our brand is the best possible option for them?
      • Preference: This person has begun to actively engage with the brand or specific products in a measurable way. How might the brand listen and respond to and engage with this person?
      • Customer: This person has made an actual purchase from the brand. How can we make this task as easy and customer-centric as possible?
      • Introduction: This person has gone through an initial onboarding experience with the brand. How do we make this a positive, memorable experience that increases cross sell, up sell, renewal, or referral?
      • Experience: This person has been using the brand for a period of time, and can pull from multiple experiences with it. How do we ensure this is a positive and delightful experience that is remarkable enough to share?
      • Referral: This person has referred another customer to the brand. How might we empower and enable our customers to easily refer their friends, family and colleagues – their audience – to our business?
      • Advocacy: This person actively advocates for and promotes the brand. How can we assist our customers and give them reasons to advocate for our brand?
      • Recognition: This person recognizes the brand as the leader in its category. How do we get them to influence other influencers to help gain even more recognition from key players in our industry?

Not every customer journey is the same, but in our experience, almost all of companies we have worked with look similar to this. Understanding which data sets we can use to get answers to these questions, and to understand how customer behavior is telegraphing their mindset as they travel through this journey is easier said than done… but that is what we’re here for, to help you and your team understand the data behind each of these stages, and how to interpret it and leverage it to constantly optimize every phase of the customer journey.


Navigating the Privacy Landscape

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, the impact of privacy laws on third-party cookies has become a focal point for businesses and organizations relying on web analytics to understand user behavior. As privacy concerns rise and regulations tighten, major players like Google Analytics are adapting to these changes, ushering in a new era with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This transition signals a significant shift away from third-party cookies and towards a more privacy-centric approach.

Privacy policies like I0s14, GDPR, and CPPA are being developed to protect users personal information, diminishing the visibility into users and how they behave across the web. This also brings about concern that organizations won’t have the ability to track the right data that is pertinent to their marketing and business goals.

The Evolution of Privacy Laws and Third-Party Cookies

Privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), have transformed the way organizations handle user data. Third-party cookies, which track users across different websites, have come under scrutiny due to their potential privacy risks and the lack of control users have over their personal information.

In response to these concerns, major web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari, have implemented measures to restrict third-party cookie tracking. Google, in particular, announced its intention to phase out third-party cookies by 2022, recognizing the need for a more privacy-centric approach to data analytics.

Google Analytics 4: A Shift Away from Third-Party Cookies

Google Analytics 4 represents a paradigm shift in web analytics by embracing a privacy-first mindset. GA4 is designed to adapt to the changing privacy landscape, moving away from reliance on third-party cookies for user tracking. Instead, it utilizes a combination of first-party data and machine learning technologies to provide organizations with valuable insights into user behavior while respecting user privacy.

Technology Behind Google Analytics 4: Events and User-Centric Measurement

One of the key features of GA4 is its emphasis on event-based tracking and user-centric measurement. Instead of focusing on pageviews, GA4 allows businesses to track specific user interactions, such as clicks, video views, and downloads. This approach enables a more detailed understanding of user engagement without relying heavily on third-party cookies.

GA4 also leverages machine learning algorithms to fill the gaps left by the absence of third-party cookies. The system analyzes user interactions and data to generate insights into user behavior and preferences, ultimately providing organizations with a more accurate and privacy-compliant view of their audience.

The Rise of First-Party Data in the Future

As the era of third-party cookies comes to an end, the significance of first-party data is becoming increasingly apparent. First-party data, collected directly from users through their interactions with an organization’s website or platform, is considered more reliable and privacy-friendly.

Implications for Associations

For associations and member-based organizations, the shift towards prioritizing first-party data is particularly crucial. These organizations often have direct relationships with their members, making it easier to collect and leverage first-party data for personalized experiences. By utilizing data collected through user logins, form submissions, and other direct interactions, associations can gain deeper insights into member preferences, behaviors, and engagement patterns.

Preparing your Organization for the Future

Here are some steps that organizations can take now to prepare for what’s ahead:

  • Focus on First-Party Data: With the decline of third-party cookies, first-party data becomes even more valuable. Start collecting and leveraging your own customer data, such as email addresses, purchase history, and user preferences. This can help you build direct relationships with your customers and personalize their experiences.
  • Implement Cookieless Tracking: Explore alternative tracking methods that don’t rely on cookies, such as using server-side tracking, fingerprinting techniques, or privacy-focused analytics tools. These options can provide valuable insights into user behavior without relying on third-party cookies.
  • Invest in Contextual Advertising: Instead of relying solely on behavioral targeting, shift towards contextual advertising. Contextual advertising analyzes the content of a webpage to serve relevant ads, rather than relying on user data. This can be an effective way to reach your target audience without compromising their privacy.
  • Explore Privacy-Compliant Technologies: Look for privacy-focused technologies and solutions that respect user preferences and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA. For example, consider adopting tools that allow users to control their data and provide consent for personalized experiences.
  • Collaborate with Trusted Partners: Build relationships with trusted partners, such as publishers or platforms, that prioritize user privacy and offer privacy-first advertising solutions. These partnerships can help you navigate the changing landscape and reach your target audience effectively.
  • Enhance Customer Trust and Transparency: With increasing concerns about privacy, it’s essential to be transparent about your data practices and ensure that customer trust remains intact. Clearly communicate your privacy policies, offer opt-out options, and prioritize data security to foster trust with your audience.
  • Test and Adapt: Continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of your marketing campaigns in the post-third-party-cookie era. Test different strategies, technologies, and approaches to optimize your marketing efforts and adapt to evolving consumer preferences and regulations.


Conclusion: Adapting to a Privacy-Centric Future

In conclusion, the impact of privacy laws on third-party cookies has catalyzed a transformation in the web analytics landscape. Google Analytics 4, with its departure from third-party cookies and embrace of user-centric measurement, reflects the industry’s commitment to privacy and data protection. The reliance on first-party data is set to grow, especially for associations and member-based organizations seeking to build meaningful connections with their constituents in a privacy-centric future.

By adapting to these changes and prioritizing first-party data, organizations can not only comply with privacy regulations but also build trust with their audience, ultimately fostering stronger and more personalized relationships in the digital realm.

Have questions about what you should be doing to adapt? We’ve got answers. Let’s grab cookies and chat!



How Associations Can Stay Relevant


This content originally appeared on WillowMarketing.com, published November 20th, 2023. https://willowmarketing.com/2023/11/20/how-associations-can-stay-relevant-in-2024/

To stay relevant to members in 2024, associations need to adapt to the evolving landscape of technology, demographics, and societal changes. There have been seismic shifts in our culture over the last few years, and new opportunities abound for member engagement and growth.

Here are seven strategies association leaders might consider for next year:

1. Embrace Technology

Digital Transformation: Invest in digital technologies to streamline operations, enhance member experience, and stay connected. Associations have the advantage of having access to PII (personally identifiable information) for their memberbase, which means not only do associations have what we call an “addressable audience” – one you can market to directly at minimal expense – but associations have a great starting point for enriching this first-party dataset to better serve members – and to use tools like marketing automation to drive non-dues revenue and leverage the audience of your members through advocacy.

Online Platforms: Develop user-friendly websites, mobile apps, and social media channels to engage members and provide easy access to resources. There is a difference between a responsive web experience, and a mobile-first web experience. If your approach to designing digital experiences still starts with the desktop, association leaders may want to consider shifting this mindset. If you’re still waiting to develop a mobile app – this is the year to do it. Member mobile apps – either Native or PWA – enable a direct channel to an addressable audience that will most likely outperform email, using tools like push notifications, text alerts, and mobile alerts. The more “social” these mobile experiences are, the more likely you will be to see higher member engagement – enabling members to connect to each other and to your association in a way that is familiar to them, like their Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or TikTok experiences.

2. Personalization

Tailored Content: Use data analytics to understand member preferences and deliver personalized content, services, and experiences. Once you are able to enrich your member data set beyond just name, address and email and include behavioral information – this can be leveraged to deliver the right message to the right member at that right time in their member journey . . . and is an incredibly efficient way to drive the member behaviors your association is looking for.

Customized Learning: Offer personalized educational and training programs to cater to diverse member needs. Like other content, personalizing education, certification and course material can help automate the process of guiding members on their specific, personal journey with your association.

3. Community Building

Online Communities: Foster virtual communities where members can connect, share insights, and collaborate. One of the biggest value drivers for association members is connecting and collaborating with other members. While this is likely already happening with your members on places like Facebook, your association should be providing the virtual space to enable this – and importantly, to take credit for delivering this value to members.

Events and Networking: Host virtual and hybrid events, webinars, and conferences to facilitate networking opportunities. Post-Covid, members are looking to connect again, both virtually and in-person.

4. Advocacy and Thought Leadership

Staying Informed: Keep abreast of industry trends, policy changes, and technological advancements to provide relevant insights to members. Associations should be leading the charge here, and providing helpful, informative content, tools and experiences to members that help them stay out in front of their industry.

Advocacy Campaigns: Advocate for members’ interests and contribute to discussions shaping the future of the industry or profession. Leveraging your members to help with this can be a very effective path forward to progress for associations with limited resources, and your members will appreciate the opportunity to be involved, and to contribute to their industry or profession.

5. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Lifelong Learning Programs: Develop ongoing education programs to help members stay current in their field and adapt to new challenges. Integrating ongoing education can be a steep hill to climb for many resource-strapped associations, due to the amount of content required and the technology to deliver it – but investing in online education programs will lead to higher member engagement and satisfaction.

Skill Certification: Offer certifications, micro-certifications, or badges that validate members’ skills and competencies. The perception of many institutions – journalism, government, higher education – and even associations – is at a fairly negative place in our society, and helping to provide a credible source of endorsement for members’ skills, knowledge, and experience beyond their college degree is highly valuable both to members and employers.

6. Data Security and Privacy

Compliance: Stay abreast of data protection regulations and ensure that member data is handled securely and in compliance with privacy laws.

Privacy: Develop agile governance structures that can quickly respond to changes in the industry, regulations, or member needs. GDPR, CCPA and other privacy legislation is a continuous moving target at this point. Be sure you are protecting your member information, and giving them the opportunity to control what information is being used and how it is being used.

7. Feedback Mechanisms

Member Surveys: Regularly seek feedback from members to understand their needs and satisfaction levels. Member data (analytics) can tell us a lot about behaviors, but member research is required to fully understand what is motivating those behaviors.

Agile Response: Act on feedback promptly to demonstrate responsiveness and commitment to member satisfaction. Merchandise the fact that you are hearing the voice of your membership through research and data back to members, so they know that their voice matters.

By proactively addressing these seven areas, associations can enhance their relevance, attract new members, and retain existing members in the dynamic landscape of 2024 – and beyond!



This content originally appeared on ScienceAndMagic.com, published September 4th, 2020. https://scienceandmagic.com/audience%c2%b2/#more-4214


A lot of our work in the past had to do with Audience Development, and so when we approach things from that perspective, Customer Journey Analytics begins to fall into four pretty distinct phases.

These phases really have to do with the amount of information we can reasonably gather about a person as they move through the journey.

Phase One: Audience – this is where all relationships with the consumer start. We know very little about the person other than that they exist. We may be able to guess at demographic and geographic information based on media targeting, but generally we are fishing with a net here.

Phase Two: Addressable Audience – this is the next stage, where we may not know specifics like a person’s name, email, address, etc. but we can start to understand the behaviors they exhibit through analytics associated to a random number or some other “blind” methodology.

Phase Three: Audience of One – this is the point at which we have a customer’s actual identity – we know their name, email address, or other personal information that allows us to sync up third party and first party data to build a rich profile of this consumer’s demographics, psychographics, behaviors, past purchases, and any other data we can associate to this customer record. This is where true personalization can begin.

Phase Four: Audience² – Audience Squared, or The Audience of our Audience. Understanding not only our customers, but THEIR audience, enables us to leverage a lot of key opportunities in advocacy, up-sell, cross-sell, renewal, referral, and related approaches.

Understanding how audiences become customers, and how those customer audiences can lead to even more customers, is a key component of customer journey analysis. 

Earned Media vs. Paid Media vs. Owned Media


This content originally appeared on Raidious.com, published September 28th, 2009.

Earned Media vs. Paid Media vs. Owned Media


In the past, there were basically two approaches to marketing services: earned media (PR) and paid media (advertising).

More recently we’ve seen the rise of owned media.

What’s the difference? It’s mostly about Control.

Earned media: Getting someone else to provide content about you on a media platform they own and control. Also known as Public Relations.

Paid Media: Paying someone to include your message alongside their content, on media they own and control. Also known as Advertising.

Owned Media: Providing your own content on media platforms you own and control.

Raidious deals only with owned media – we help you provide the content for the media platforms you own and control – email, blogs, social media, web video, mobile devices, and more.



UPDATE: Recently found this article from Forrester Research, apparently they’ve been looking into this. Good information.