Customer Journey Mapping

January 16, 2024
Customer Journey Mapping

There is fierce competition for your customers’ attention.

The stats online as to how many ads consumers are exposed to daily vary from 76 to 10,000. Whatever the actual number is, we may never know, but what we do know is there is fierce competition for the attention of existing and prospective customers. 

How do you as a business owner or a marketer cut through the clutter, grab your potential customer's attention, and get them to focus on your product or services as a solution to their needs?

It starts with knowing and understanding the journey your customer takes before and after they engage with your brand. 

Mapping the customer journey is a necessary and foundational element that allows you to more easily connect and resonate with your ideal existing and prospective customer.

What Is the Customer Journey?

The customer journey is the term used to describe the complete experience that a customer goes through when interacting with your product, service, and brand. Think of it like a story where the customer is the main character and their "happily-ever-after" is when they are happy promoters of your company. 

What are the steps that they go through on their journey? Don't be surprised if your customer's journey turns into a story that looks similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book rather than the nice fairytale we are all used to. 


Why is Mapping the Customer Journey Important?

Mapping the customer journey allows you to identify the potential engagement points in this choose-your-own-adventure story so that you can direct the customer when they most need help to a happily-ever-after with your company. 

  • Understand the customer's perspective:  It helps you see your business from the customer's point of view. By understanding their experiences, feelings, and challenges at each stage, you can tailor your services or products to better meet their needs.

  • Identify Pain Points: Mapping the journey allows you to identify areas where customers might face problems or frustrations. This understanding enables you to make improvements, enhancing the overall customer experience.

  • Improve Customer Engagement: By knowing what your customers are thinking and doing at each stage, you can create more effective marketing strategies, communication, and interactions that resonate with them.

  • Strategic Planning and Decision Making: With a clear view of the customer journey, you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate resources, what processes to streamline, and which areas of the customer experience need more attention.

  • Personalization: It enables you to personalize experiences. When you know where a customer is in their journey, you can provide more relevant information, recommendations, and services.

  • Competitive Advantage: By thoroughly understanding and optimizing the customer journey, your business can stand out from competitors who may not be as attuned to their customers' needs and experiences.

How Do You Start Mapping the Customer Journey?

The customer journey can be long and complicated. Remember, the customer journey takes into consideration the engagement that a prospect has with your brand before they engage with your sales team, their engagement during the sales process, and their experiences after they become a customer. 

Here's a structured approach to mapping out your customer journey:

  • Define Your Customer Personas: Start by creating detailed customer personas. These fictional representations of your typical customers are based on demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals. Keep your customer persona as a focal point throughout the mapping process to ensure that you are creating a journey that is relevant to them. 

  • Identify the Touchpoints: List all the possible points of interaction (touchpoints) between the customer and your brand. This includes both direct interactions, like visiting your website or store, and indirect ones, like seeing an ad or hearing about your brand from a friend. 

  • Map the Customer Stages: Break down the customer journey into distinct stages. Common stages include awareness, consideration, decision, purchase, and post-purchase. Each stage represents a different mindset and set of activities from the customer's perspective. What type of content you offer or the experiences you create will differ based on the customer stage. 

  • Gather and Use Data: Collect data on how customers interact with your business at each touchpoint. This can come from various sources, such as surveys, customer feedback, web analytics, and sales data.

  • Analyze the Customer's Goals and Challenges: At each stage and touchpoint, identify what the customer’s goals are and what challenges or pain points they might face. Understanding these will allow you to tailor the experience to meet their needs more effectively.
  • Don't Forget To Map the Emotional Journey: People act more on emotions than logic. You must be aware of the emotions and attitudes customers might have at each stage. Are they excited, frustrated, confused? This emotional journey is part of the physical or digital steps they take.

Regardless of the complexity or simplicity of your customer's journey, it is important that everyone in your company understands it and their role in helping to optimize the user experience.


You Have the Customer Journey Mapped, What's Next?

Creating the customer journey map is only the beginning. Put on your strategic and creative hats, here comes the fun part. 

Once the customer journey map has been created it should be shared company-wide. No longer is the meeting of customer needs siloed to one organizational group. It is the responsibility of the whole organization to work together to solve for the customer and to create a great personalized user experience. 

When new business goals and objectives are created, they should align with the needs of the customer. This ensures that the strategies developed across different departments like product development, marketing, and sales are focused on improving the customer experience at various stages of the journey.

Next, identify specific actions to improve the customer experience at each touchpoint. This could involve creating more targeted marketing campaigns, refining the sales process, improving customer service, or enhancing product features.

Look for gaps or areas where customers experience friction or dissatisfaction. These gaps are your opportunities to improve the customer journey. Use the data to develop strategies that will enhance the user experience, alleviate pain points, and guide customers seamlessly from one stage to the next. 

The Customer Journey Map Is A Living Document

Don't let your customer journey map sit in a corner and gather dust. It is a living document and should continuously be updated. People are continually evolving in their ways of using technology and how they interact with brands. Continue to keep your customer as the focus of your organization and data close by your side and you will know when to refine and optimize your customer journey map. 

Author Bio

Mollie is a digital marketing enthusiast who thrives on creativity and innovation. Her insights into digital marketing help businesses navigate the complexities of the digital world. Beyond marketing, Mollie finds her greatest joy in spending time and making memories with her family.