What is a Customer Journey Mapping Process?
It’s essentially exploring the path that your customers take through the various stages of their purchasing lifecycle. Customer Journey Mapping is actually laying out a map of every single touchpoint that your different types of customers go through. It goes much deeper than just data…the exploration of motivations, actual feelings, and questions at each touchpoint are taken into account.
I like to think of it as the documented story of our customer’s experience from beginning contact and engagement through the entire customer lifecycle. Ideally, if done well not only does it include engagement through a long-term relationship, but also the customer becoming a brand evangelist. That’s the ultimate goal.
It’s our job as marketers and customer experience experts to ensure that we are optimizing all those touchpoints for a seamless and meaningful journey along the way. In today’s world, it is absolutely critical that we understand our customer’s needs and decision-making process to a much greater depth than ever before.
According to the 2015 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016. If that doesn’t send out a major signal to the market, I’m not sure what would! Customer Journey Mapping is a business imperative and is becoming a top priority for CMOs.
A Client Story
I want to share with you a quick client story. My client’s main goal was to increase traffic to their website. I started out creating an initial customer persona of their main target audience. As we went through the process, it became very evident that there were actually 3 different target audiences with vastly different interests and needs.
Once we mapped out each of the customer personas’ journeys, the client better understood what impact this would have to their website strategy. It was a really eye-opening experience for them. Initially, they were extremely hesitant to do a customer persona and journey mapping because they said they already knew all there was to know.
That’s where the beauty of a well-developed customer persona and journey map is revealed. It actually opens you to more opportunities than perhaps you originally imagined. In addition, it highlights all of the customer touchpoints so you can better optimize the process where previously you may have had some gaps.
What’s the Best Way to Create a Customer Journey Map?
You start with what you already know or think you know about the customer. Some of this information may be good, but much of it could also be outdated and no longer relevant. Your sources of information could be market research, buyer behavior from Google Analytics, engagement with social media, etc…
One tool that I really like is Social Mentions. It’s a real-time social media monitoring tool that shows when your brand is mentioned and whether the sentiment is positive or negative. I also like Hoot Suite and How Sociable because you can do a direct comparison against your competitors. I also wouldn’t discount insights from your customer service and sales teams.
You then take all of these insights and actually create a visual of the entire buying process. Initially, you will have an entire board of sticky notes. All of that information and data is turned into a visual narrative with metrics. I personally like to lay it out like an infographic. This approach can help you put each touchpoint in the right context. This way, you are creating and delivering relevant customer content at the right time.
In summary, Customer Journey Mapping is a very powerful tool that should be included in your digital marketing arsenal, no matter what size your organization is! We have just skimmed the surface here and will be doing a deeper dive in a future blog.
Please contact me if you would like a complimentary Customer Journey Mapping template for your organization.