Why You Need a Customer Journey Map
Effective marketing has been described — perhaps cynically — as emotional manipulation. Even without the sinister overtones, marketing does involve emotion, but a shocking number of organizations and marketing directors do not take the time to connect their data to the feelings and pain points that drive customer behavior. Building a customer journey map will help you unify the data used to define and describe your target audience with what motivates your customers and the emotions they experience.The very things that seem to have little to no connection to ROI… (because they are qualitative instead of quantitative) are often much bigger levers than direct response elements or sales enablement. Customer journey is that glue the keeps the context between all those elements intact.
WHAT IS A CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP?
Still asking yourself what is a journey map? Also called an experience map or customer experience map, the Harvard Business Review defines it as, “a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” It’s about building an understanding of your customers, what they want, need, and expect.
Customer journey mapping might sound relatively simple at first blush, but it is actually much more complex than you might guess. It is about more than just creating a visual representation of how your customers interact and engage with your brand. In fact, it might be the first step in a comprehensive brand strategy audit that examines where your gaps and opportunities for growth exist within your current strategy.
The customer journey mapping process forces your company to take a long, hard look at everything from the customer’s point of view. It requires you to put yourself in their shoes, which can shine a light on hurdles you did not know existed, problems you were unaware of, and issues that could cause a disconnect that interrupts the conversion process.
Businesses and marketing teams are obliged to use customer data and process knowledge to empathize with customers. You are able to experience firsthand how your customers navigate the marketplace, engage with your company’s marketing creatives, and move through the sales funnel, all the way through interacting with customer service.
Ultimately, it allows you to build from a customers’ perspective, rather than from an internal business point of view. Your customers are your reason for being, so it makes sense that they should be the foundation on which you build.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAPPING
Creating and maintaining customer journey mapping initiatives enables your business to enjoy a wide range of opportunities unavailable to you otherwise, which we will discuss below.
–IDENTIFY GAPS IN YOUR MESSAGING
One of the most important opportunities created by customer journey mapping is the ability to identify gaps in your messaging. It is vital that you deliver clear, cohesive messaging that falls in line with your brand and its values through all touchpoints. However, there are often gaps that create disconnects. Those disconnects can derail the customer journey.
You’ll find gaps in many places, but they are particularly common in inbound versus outbound marketing, between a mission statement and poor customer service, in unclear value propositions, in the failure to address key customer pain points or conversion resistance.
Ultimately, journey mapping allows you to assess the impact of any gaps on your success and the experience you offer customers, and then provides insights on what you can do to improve that experience across all touchpoints. For instance, your marketing strategy may rely on outbound channels at the expense of lucrative inbound channels, giving you a clear path to improve your approach.
–LEARN TO SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE AS CUSTOMERS
Another advantage here is the ability to speak the same language as your customers. Industry jargon can make it difficult for customers to understand what you offer, what the value of that offering is to them, and even what sets your business apart from others within the industry.
The same inability to speak the same language as your customers can also limit the effectiveness of your brand strategy. In the case of a serious disconnect, it’s akin to speaking a foreign language. In that instance, how do you tell what your marketing strategy’s weak points are? How do you determine if it is even working?
With customer journey mapping, you can identify these hurdles and begin to speak the same language as your customers.
–BRING EMOTION, DATA, AND CREATIVITY TOGETHER
All too often, businesses make marketing decisions and engage in advertising based on cold, hard facts. That’s understandable, but it is the wrong path to take. Humans are emotional creatures, and customer journey mapping allows you to bring together human emotion with data and creativity.
All too often, businesses make marketing decisions and engage in advertising based on cold, hard facts. Humans are emotional creatures, and customer journey mapping allows you to bring together human emotion with data and creativity.
Mapping the customer journey requires empathy. That informs your marketing strategy. Data can only foster marketing success when paired with the right creative context. The combination of empathy, creativity, and accurate data can solve retention and satisfaction problems while simultaneously driving marketing initiatives.
–CONTEXTUALIZE YOUR KPIS
Mapping the customer experience can show you how, why, and where your brand is failing in one specific area, or reveal where you are losing leads. Customer journey mapping can help you identify and understand how your website serves, or fails to serve, customers, and contextualize how the content or design could be improved to ensure that visitors not only engage, but also convert.
WHAT THE USER JOURNEY LOOKS LIKE AROUND BRAND:
–SET CLEAR GOALS FOR CRAFTING A BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Finally, customer journey mapping helps you set clear goals to craft a better overall customer experience. Once you know your baseline, you can set your sights on necessary improvements, measure your progress toward those goals, and then set new ones once those have been achieved.
You can set clear and achievable benchmarks for process improvement and design a more resilient message for your brand. Mapping the customer journey lays the foundation for creating and then executing a comprehensive growth strategy to take your company to the next level.
In the end, customer journey mapping is about more than just building a better mousetrap. It’s about ensuring that your company is the best fit for your audience and that you are delivering the optimum customer experience with as few hurdles or disconnects as possible.
Noble Digital Founder, Allen Martinez has created successful campaigns for some of the largest brands on the planet, including: Coca-Cola, In-Bev, Subway, Nestle, AT&T, Quest, Hilton Hotels, Burger King, Univision, Yamaha, Miller Lite, Proctor & Gamble, Heineken, Orbitz, Wrigley’s and he has applied those same principals to help growth companies like: Telesign, Plated and Fundrise, and BiohmHealth to scale and hit business goals and exit goals as well as helping mid-tiers and Fortune 500s optimize their outward facing communications for maximum performance around business goals.
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