Product managers have long been part of product marketing teams, but Kerry Bodine, customer experience expert and coach, says it’s time for businesses to consider a new role: Journey Manager.

“I would argue that every single thing your organization does influences the customer journey,” said Bodine.

Bodine shared her ideas on the journey manager role and responsibilities, as well as a framework for building and managing the customer journey process at DX Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.

The biggest obstacle in the customer journey

Bodine, writes about and provides customer experience consulting to organizations like Adobe, FedEx and IBM, believes silos are the greatest impediment in the customer journey process.

“Silos enable us to do things at scale that would essentially be impossible otherwise, but it’s terrible for our customers who are trying to accomplish things,” said Bodine.

Her take — that customer goals naturally cross different departments, or silos — highlights the fact that the business itself is secondary to whatever it is a customer is trying to accomplish. The key is to focus on your customer’s goals.

5-step process for building the customer journey

“No customer wants to go through your lifecycle,” said Bodine. This is why it’s crucial for companies to understand the customer journey and how each team is supporting the customer’s goal.

Bodine’s framework for building and managing the customer journey is a five-step process:

  1. Empathize with your customer.
  2. Define the problem their trying to solve.
  3. Brainstorm solutions to help your customers meet their goals.
  4. Prototype solutions.
  5. Test your prototypes.

Bodine believes that many organizations are so siloed, they forget about empathy and connecting with their customers. “We have to be thoughtful, we have to plan,” said Bodine about the journey mapping process.

The journey manager role

Once a business is able to see what their customer journey is, it has to make sure each silo within the organization is aligned with the journey and focused on seamlessly moving the customer through it. This is where the journey manager role comes in.

Bodine describes the role as, essentially, a product manager, but focused on journeys instead of products. A journey manager understands the customer’s needs and can identify gaps, says Bodine, and can create a long-term vision for the customer journey process. They are also able to pull together all the cross-function stakeholders involved with executing the customer journey process — proactively breaking down the barriers between the silos within an organization.

Journey managers should also be tracking — and measuring — the ongoing impact of the customer experience. The role, she says, is a necessity for businesses that are serious about mending gaps in the customer journey.

Instilling a customer journey mindset

Lastly, Bodine laid out three key initiatives for building a customer journey mindset: listen to customers, measure pivotal points along the journey and move away from aggregated data to more connected data sets.

“You’ve got to listen to your customers tell their stories,” said Bodine. These stories will give you insights into how you’re helping them achieve their goals. Businesses also have to look at all the different data points along the journey to get a clear understanding of how they’re helping their customers — this is where businesses can transition from aggregated to connected data.

“You need to think about creating value all along this customer journey,” said Bodine. If not, businesses are destined to keep making empty promises they cannot deliver on.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

announced Tuesday that beginning August 27, Google Ad Manager and AdMob will block ad serving of unauthorized in-app ad inventory in both platforms when publishers have app-ads.txt files implemented.

An extension of IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard, app-ads.txt is designed to address the specific needs of apps distributed through mobile and connected TV app stores. Publishers publish the text file listing the open exchanges that are authorized to sell their inventory to the root directory of their websites and link their app store listings to their websites. Programmatic buyers can then inspect the files to ensure they are buying from authorized sellers and not domains or apps set up to spoof publishers and steal their ad revenue.

Why we should care

Google said in April that its DSP Display & Video 360 would stop buying unauthorized in-app inventory starting in August. Given its market leadership position, Google’s support for app-ads.txt from both the buy and sell sides will help propel adoption of the standard by app publishers.

Last week, Centro announced its DSP Basis will only buy inventory from authorized sellers listed in app-ads.txt files. In April, Tappx began offering free app-ads.txt file hosting for app publishers that don’t have their own websites. At that time, Tappx said fewer than 1% of apps had app-ads.txt set up correctly.

“We strongly encourage you to create an app-ads.txt file and publish it to the developer domain you have listed in your App Store and/or Google Play store listing,” Google said in the announcement.”This will help prevent unauthorized and domain-spoofed app inventory from damaging your brand and revenue. Publishers who do not implement an app-ads.txt file will see no changes to their ad serving, but they will not benefit from these added spoofing protections.

More on the news

  • A new app-ads.txt tab in the Google Ad Manager interface will show publishers the percentage of queries that have app-ads.txt posted and authorized sellers listed.
  • The dashboards in AdMob and Google Ad Manager also show errors when the publisher ID or authorized sellers are missing., with links to fix the issues.
  • The app-ads.txt file includes the name of the ad network as the domain name, the publisher’s ID or property code.

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