The Changing Customer Journey
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The Changing Customer Journey

PRIVACY RULES, AUTOMATED ALGORITHMS, AND INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMPANIES TO TRACK USERS BOTH ONLINE AND OFFLINE HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON AN ALREADY COMPLEX MARKETING ECOSYSTEM, SARA VALENTINI EXPLAINS

In marketing jargon, the customer journey is what a potential buyer does from the search for information about a certain product or service to post-purchase. Studying customer journeys is not a new concept in marketing, but its increasing integration with the digital world makes the various steps harder to follow. The challenge for businesses is to track what is in fact a moving target, that is, to be able to follow customers’ options as they negotiate a myriad of very different channels and touchpoints. Behavior tracking offers a clear advantage to businesses in terms of better targeting and consequent delivery of targeted communication. This advantage, however, needs to be put into a context of a market that is increasingly sensitive to issues of privacy and security about the use of data, and increasingly stringent regulations that make the management of marketing levers much more complex.
 
In particular, the dramatic increase in the volume and variety of data that companies can acquire and use in their strategies necessarily leads to difficult choices. Today, users have greater freedom of choice and control over the use of their data due to new privacy regulations in several countries. Increased restrictions objectively help consumers, but on the other hand they can hinder competition, for example favoring online behemoths at the expense of medium and small operators. Restrictions on the use of sensitive data could also lead to the paradox of algorithmic bias, or potential unintended discrimination, as seen in the Netflix scandal when the company was accused of profiling users based on ethnicity.
 
A conference titled Customer Journeys in a Digital World was held at the university on June 13 and 14, bringing together some of the most prominent international marketing scholars to present and discuss recent research developments in this field, curated by Sara Valentini, associate professor at the Department of Marketing.
 
“In the USA, according to some surveys, about 39 percent use systems that block online advertising,” says Sara Valentini, “but it is unclear to what extent this actually damages companies. It is true that you lose potential users, but on the other hand those who block advertising may be less likely to respond to promotions and communication in the first place. In this direction,” Valentini concludes, "research still has a lot to explore.”
 

by Andrea Costa
Bocconi Knowledge newsletter

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Seminars

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Seminars

  • ELLIS@Milan Artificial Intelligence workshop

    GABOR LUGOSI - Department of Economics, Pompeu Fabra University
    RICARDO BAEZA-YATES - Khoury College of Computer Sciences Northeastern University
    NOAM NISAN - School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    MICHAL VALKO - Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique

    AS02 DEUTSCHE BANK - Roentgen building

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    ANDREW KING - Questrom School of Business

    Meeting room 4E4SR03 (Roentgen) 4