How Customer Experience Analytics Can Benefit Your Small Business

By: on February 27, 2017

Mad Men makes marketing in the ’60s seem awfully appealing. Not only because the ad execs are as handsome as Jon Hamm, but their jobs involve a lot less math than marketing today.

don draper

This is the first picture that comes up when you Google image search “sexiest picture of Don Draper.” Who am I to argue?


All you had to do was sit back and come up with an artistic and innovative idea. Then you could just send it out into the world and let the money roll in.

In reality, it’s never been that easy. Still, it was certainly less complex back before competing firms and companies were using high-tech systems and strategies (called “customer experience analytics”) to collect and analyze data, giving them an advantage over you.

Fortunately, we’re here to help your small business learn how to use customer experience analytics to improve your marketing game and compete with today’s mad men and women.

Is Customer Experience Analytics Even Relevant for SMBs?

In the article “Understanding Customer Experience Analytics for Marketing” (available to Gartner clients), analyst Lizzy Foo Kune provides insight into the ways large, enterprise-level businesses can utilize the relatively new field of customer experience analytics to make massive gains in their marketing campaigns.

However, the situation is different for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that may lack an IT infrastructure. I spoke to Foo Kune to find out how her research applies to SMBs. The key takeaway was this:

“I would look at the journey mapping process and then [use] that analysis process to evaluate and optimize the customer journey map based on what you learn and what you find out.”

Lizzy Foo Kune, Gartner Analyst

What does that mean for your SMB? Let’s unpack her thoughts.

Data Gathering and Connection Tips for SMBs

The first half of Foo Kune’s article focuses on customer journey analytics (CJA), which “attempts to understand how individuals and customer segments interact across channels, over time.”

Unfortunately, CJA relies upon having access to a large amount of high-quality data about your customers, following them across multiple touch points over time. For many SMBs, this data simply isn’t available, and so traditional CJA may not be feasible.

However, you can turn instead to customer journey maps, which are “representations that describe in detail all the ways a customer interacts with a brand.”

Though these may be “the visual output of customer journey analytics,” they can also serve as “a separate creative exercise, informed by qualitative data, but more art than science.”

Creating a customer journey map follows a similar process to CJA, as outlined in the graphic below:

customer journey analytics

Phases of Customer Journey Analytics
Source: “Understanding Customer Experience Analytics for Marketing


Where your SMB customer journey map will differ from enterprise-level CJA is in the types and quantity of data you’ll be gathering in the initial phase. One tool that Foo Kune recommends is call tracking, which CRM software can help you easily achieve.

She also notes that “for ten cents a user, you can throw a Google survey on your website, and that would be kind of a scrappy way to collect some of that data.”

Note, though, that this feedback falls less into the category of CJA and more into what’s called “Voice of the Customer,” which encompasses “the tools and techniques used to gather information about customer opinions, attitudes and emotions.”

Once you have the data in hand, connecting it may also be difficult for SMBs. Here, too, software can help.

According to Foo Kune, marketing dashboards (which she has written about extensively in her report “Market Guide for Marketing Dashboard”) will pull data from various sources and create user-friendly visualizations that are easy to understand, easy to utilize and are relatively inexpensive.

With your data gathered and connected, it’s time to move on to the next phase in the customer journey mapping process—analysis.

The Analysis Process

Analyzing the customer experience can be a tough job, no matter the size of your business. However, the process remains the same, it merely differs in regard to the amount, type and quality of data on hand.

Either way, your process of analysis should look something like the one portrayed in the following graphic:

analysis process


Let’s break these down, step by step, using some advice from Foo Kune’s report:

1. Frame the problem. Before you can actually get any use out of your data, you must clearly state the problem you are intending to solve. The statement should include “the purpose of the analysis, the desired outcome and how the analysis will be used.”

For an SMB, this might be something like, “What age range should we aim for in our Facebook ads?”

2. Build the team. Make sure you have the right people on hand to analyze the data. If your team can’t handle this, you may need to hire specialists to help, particularly if you don’t have an in-house marketer or data analyst on your team, as many SMBs won’t.

3. Formulate the hypothesis. Follow the scientific method and flesh out a clear hypothesis that will “define the methods used to reveal the factors defined in the problem statement.”

For example, “We think our product will appeal largely to 20-year olds through 35-year olds.”

4. Select the analytical methods. Figure out the analytical method that will help you solve this particular problem. You may need to rely upon a data analyst/specialist for this if you are going to follow complicated statistical techniques or algorithms.

5. Perform the analysis and use your results. Run your analysis of the data multiple times, using marketing analytics tools, and then seek feedback on the results. To make the results more practical, you may find it helpful to map customers into market segments.

For example, you may end up with a different set of ads targeting 20-year-old suburbanites from those targeting 20-year-old rural dwellers.

Keep in mind that customer experience software can help you with this process, making your job just a little bit easier. Marketing analytics will keep you from going mad, man.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to use customer experience analytics in your SMB, here are some suggestions to take the next step toward actually implementing it as part of your marketing plan:

  • Email me at for more information. I’m happy to help you figure out what your own marketing and analytics software needs might be and to connect you to one of our expert software advisors for a free, no-obligation consultation!

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