All marketers know that managing and optimising the customer journey is important, but who is in charge of it at your organisation?

Does anyone own the customer journey? And if not, who should take responsibility?

Success is very much dependent on getting this right by defining clear governance, roles and responsibilities, and ensuring there is a high degree of collaboration internally.

This is one of the themes investigated in our new report, Understanding the Customer Journey: More Than Just Online, published in association with ResponseTap.

The research shows that companies are five times more likely to identify marketers as being in the driving seat than any other teams, such as customer insight, sales or customer support.

Agencies are even more likely to point to marketers, with nearly three in five (58%) saying that customer journey ownership falls under their remit.

Which single department is primarily responsible for owning the customer journey within your / your clients’ organisation(s)?

It’s a group effort

Though marketers generally take responsibility for the customer journey, it’s obviously not a solo effort.

When it comes to contributing to an organisation’s understanding of the customer journey, behind marketing (70%) there’s a fairly even split between the other teams, with customer service support (43%), sales (42%) and analytics (39%) being among the biggest contributors. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, for B2B respondents, sales is the second most likely department to contribute to this.

Which business departments within your / your clients’ organisation(s) contribute to your understanding of the customer journey?

More often than not, organisations are fraught with a myopic culture: it’s all about optimising individual touchpoints and not the end-to-end experience.

Having this rather narrow focus sometimes distorts reality to the point that companies think they are delivering an outstanding experience when customers actually see it as mediocre at best. 

Only by getting cross-functional teams together to identify pain points and come up with solutions as a group can organisations drive change.

Multichannel journey

The research shows that digital marketing and ecommerce teams are twice as likely to drive initiatives aimed at understanding the customer journey as their traditional or offline counterparts.

In an ideal world this would be more of a collaborative effort, but that’s clearly not the case as less than a third (31%) of responding organisations indicated that there’s an even mixture between the two.

Delving deeper into the data revealed that digital-focused respondents (either exclusively or mainly) are significantly more likely to say that digital teams are chiefly responsible for optimising customer journeys – 66% and 49% respectively compared to only 12% of those who are not focused on digital.

Which part of your business (or your clients’ businesses) is chiefly responsible for driving initiatives aimed at understanding the customer journey?

Common barriers

According to a McKinsey report, the number of digital touchpoints on the path to purchase is increasing by a fifth annually.

It stands to reason, therefore, that just over a third of company respondents (35%) cited the complexity of CX/number of touchpoints as a key barrier to understanding the customer journey.

Silos are also a common problem, both in terms of disparate data sets (32%) and the organisational structure (28%).

What are the greatest barriers preventing your organisation (or your clients) from gaining a better understanding of the customer journey?

Download the full report for more insights: Understanding the Customer Journey: More Than Just Online

David Moth

Published 4 May, 2015 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (5)

Alex Kupriienko

Alex Kupriienko, PR strategist at

Obviously, company/firm/corporation (not sure about the last one :)) — is an organism. We must consider, that business rules are for organic evolution, not mechanic. That's why marketing department is a part of this organism. And it's really hard to communicate with (sorry for this comparison) organis parts, that unable for command work.

about 3 years ago


Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

Good article David.
This challenge to have many teams care about the customer journey is a challenge in many of the company cultures I come across.

But the rewards are worth it, especially when also bringing in tech teams who play such a vital role in ensuring a fast, error-free journey for your customers, through the constant stream of change: site changes and tweaks and addition of new features etc.

about 3 years ago

Ben Potter

Ben Potter, Director at Ben Potter - business development mentor

Without wishing to be pedantic, in this day and age, there is only one person that 'owns' the customer journey - the customer.

about 3 years ago


Rick Harris, MD at Customer Faithful Ltd

@Ben - I'd suggest that the customer experiences the customer journey, but doesn't own it. Ownership implies control, whereas in practice a customer typically has choice rather than control. For example, a customer can choose home delivery or in-store pickup, or payment method, but can they 'own' the T&Cs that a supplier defines?

For me, Marketing owns the design of the journey and its communication to customers (the 'promise') but delivery is a wider and shared responsibility, which should have many feedback loops back into redesign.

about 3 years ago

Pietro Leone

Pietro Leone, CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Geometry Global

David thanks for this well-thought out piece. I agree, it’s all about collaboration and you hit the nail right on the head when you say it’s cross-functional teams who identify pain points and come up with solutions as a group who drive organizational change. I see this successful pattern time and time again with big brands operating across EMEA.

about 3 years ago

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