The Marketing Journey – From Start to Finish
April 25, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
When we talk about the marketing journey, we’re trying to visualize the start point, the different steps taken, and the purchase point in a product or service’s lifecycle. It goes on further when we go into customer relationship management and develop a strong bond with existing customers.
This journey comprises multiple touchpoints within the customer-client sphere and with different direct and indirect stakeholders. Therefore, it is essential to understand this process and learn how various elements within it work together in cohesion to achieve the result that is customer need satisfaction.
Journey marketing is, at its heart, a revolutionary shift in how marketers perform marketing, how they contact their customers and the knowledge they supply to them.
In practice, it means shifting away from more traditional, broad-based (some might say haphazard) correspondence and toward highly targeted messages that are personalized for a specific customer’s or prospect’s unique stage in their entire life cycle voyage with a brand, from awareness and participation to engagement, experience, and expansion.
In this article, we shall explore the true essence of customer journey mapping and how it aligns with the consumer’s final decision, along with best practices and templates that you can adopt as a tech business owner to help you understand journey mapping and its importance.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Marketing customer journey map helps a business owner, especially in the tech industry, put things into perspective. Marketing customer journey is visualized through customer journey mapping. The cycle of developing a customer journey map, a visual tale of your customers’ interactions with your business, is known as customer journey mapping (also known as user journey mapping).
The customer journey refers to the consumer’s path to a purchase decision via touchpoints in marketing. This exercise assists firms in putting themselves in the shoes of their customers and viewing their business through their eyes. It enables you to acquire insights into specific client pain areas and how to alleviate them.
A buyer does not generally decide to buy an item the first time they hear about it. Customers typically examine a product or brand numerous times before deciding on an action, referred to in marketing as a touchpoint. First, all potential consumer touchpoints are identified, such as a website, social platforms, and contact with marketing and sales personnel. These touchpoints then guide the consumer journey.
It is challenging to map the user experience in offline advertising since it is typically hard to determine where each visitor learned about a business and why they are there. A qualitative survey may be able to reveal the causes. Suggestions from family or friends, flyers, or a newspaper advertisement are all possible explanations.
Customer journey mapping is essential for improving the consumer experience since it is a strategic method to understand consumer expectations better.
Customer journey planning is vital for small and medium-sized businesses, as for giant corporations. Customer expectations are shifting for all firms, regardless of size – customers want omnichannel customer service, marketing, and sales.
Personalization is one of the most critical components of the consumer experience. According to a recent study, 87 percent of customers believe that being treated like a person rather than a number is critical to earning their business. Customer journey mapping enables SMEs to build personalized experiences at all touchpoints — for everyone, across all media.
Aligning Marketing With the Consumer Decision Journey
Customer journey marketing, especially regarding how well matched the marketing function is with the decision journey, is critical. The alignment between marketing and the consumer decision journey can be the making or breaking point of your marketing regime and business strategy.
Therefore, we must understand its importance, and continuously improve our marketing strategies to ensure a smooth running of operations. Because if your consumer decision journey doesn’t align perfectly with your marketing strategies, your business messaging and segmentation will be affected and you will also lose out in terms of your fiscal goals.
The first stage is to understand how customers make decisions thoroughly. The most challenging component for most marketers is focusing strategy and expenditures on the most impactful touchpoints.
In other circumstances, the marketing effort’s focus must shift, possibly from focusing on brand advertising during the early evaluation phase to establishing internet assets that assist customers in gaining a deeper grasp of the brand while actively evaluating it online.
You may need to reconfigure your loyalty programs to focus on active rather than inactive loyalists, or need to invest in in-store activities or word-of-mouth initiatives.
Because of the rising complexity of the customer choice journey, practically all businesses must embrace new methods of monitoring consumer attitudes, marketing effectiveness, and the efficacy of marketing budgets across the board.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map?
Now that we have developed an understanding of what a marketing journey is and its importance in the business framework, we shall look at how to create a customer journey map by incorporating different marketing elements.
We shall undertake the following steps for mapping our customer’s journey.
- Developing your buyer personas
- Determining your target market
- Recognizing customer touchpoints
- Listing customer actions
- Auditing and reflecting on your business resources
- Analysis of the customer journey itself
- Business outcome and actionable objectives
We shall now explore these critical steps to map our customer’s journey with further detail and insight.
1. Developing Your Buyer Personas
Before building a journey map, it’s critical to have a clear goal to know whom you’re making the blueprint for and why. Buyer personas aid in defining consumer objectives by offering a more in-depth understanding of their demands and areas of interest.
Begin by sketching up a primary picture of your buyer’s character, including data such as age, gender, employment, education, income, and location. Once that’s in place, you’ll need to collect some psychographic information about your consumers. This type of data may be more challenging than demographic data, but it is important to understand client preferences, requirements, and desires.
2. Determining Your Target Market
After creating many client personas, conduct comprehensive research into each to provide a more realistic representation of their experience. Begin by evaluating their initial encounter with your business and planning out their subsequent movements. What is the most important thing to them? What are the questions they are attempting to answer?
Figure things out and be as accurate as possible. Remember, data is key.
3. Recognizing Customer Touchpoints
A touchpoint is any encounter or interaction between your brand and customer. List all the connections in the customer journey, including the website, social networks, paid commercials, email campaigns, third-party reviews, and mentions. Which touchpoints have the highest level of engagement? Which should be optimized?
4. Listing Customer Actions
After discovering all your client touchpoints, look for common behaviors they perform at each one. By breaking down the interaction into distinct steps, you can optimize each micro-engagement and bring them farther down the funnel.
How many stages does a consumer have to take to complete their journey? Look for ways to minimize or simplify that number so that clients may attain their objectives faster. One method is to identify process impediments or pain spots and develop ways to eliminate them.
This is an excellent opportunity to put your personas to work. Understanding how a consumer thinks will help you fix issues.
5. Auditing and Reflecting on Your Business Resources
Customer journey maps portray your entire business and emphasize every resource utilized to develop the customer experience. Use your plan to determine which touchpoints require further assistance, such as customer care and delivery.
Determine if these resources are sufficient to provide the most excellent possible client experience. That way, you can accurately predict how current or new assets (such as upgraded customer support tools) will affect your revenue and return on investment -RoI.
6. Analysis of the Customer Journey Itself
Analyzing the outcomes is an essential component of constructing a customer journey map. Take the voyage for yourself to discover if there is anything you missed or if there is still room for improvement. This will provide you with a thorough picture of your consumer’s trip.
As you analyze the data, search for touchpoints that may cause clients to leave before buying a product or where they may want further assistance. Studying your completed map should assist you in identifying areas that aren’t serving the demands of your customers and finding solutions for them.
Track your map with each buyer persona and evaluate their movements across social networks, email, and web browsing to better understand how you can build a more seamless experience.
7. Business Outcome and Actionable Objectives
Having a visual representation of the journey ensures that you consistently meet your customer’s demands at every stage while also providing your organization with clear guidance for the improvements that consumers will react to best.
Analyzing the data from your client journey map will provide you with a better understanding of the modifications you need to make to your marketing strategies to achieve your goals. Any changes you make will help you better address client pain points. You may need to prioritize tackling major hurdles before addressing smaller ones.
Once you’ve implemented your plan, revisit and adjust it frequently to keep the journey smooth. To track hurdles, employ analytics and user feedback.
Best Practices of Customer Journey Mapping
As we have now figured out how to map our customer journey, especially in terms of marketing initiatives, let us now look at the best practices for customer journey mapping.
Focus on the Real and Unsaid Human Part of the Journey
Emotion drives decisions, and the sentiment ties your company to its consumers and enables you to offer better solutions. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of the feeling, which is a significant error. You must express the customer sentiment clearly in your talks and reports. We must pay attention to what activities the consumer took, where they sought further information, and whom they spoke with.
Rethinking reporting is another method to get bosses on board. One of the most effective ways is to forego the formal report meeting, in which the research team provides a lengthy presentation to various stakeholders. Instead, organize a workshop. Bring together all the functional representatives in one room. Present your results in sections as if the customer was there.
Review the Map Regularly
It’s noteworthy to communicate that changing a customer journey is typically motivated by internal and external factors. The rate of change varies by business, but even in generally stable industries, you shouldn’t rely on a more than seven years old journey. Customers and markets, of course, fluctuate.
There is business model disruption and technological disruption, and even in the absence of trouble, new channels and new information sources can have tremendous consequences on customer thinking and behavior. If your firm has undergone a reorganization or has had a high level of turnover, you may require a new customer journey.
Strategic Division of the Map Components
Dividing can be beneficial, and it is essential if you’re part of a massive organization. A full-fledged customer journey in a large organization, particularly in a B2B company, where the customer journey encompasses a half-dozen different jobs, might take months.
It might be beneficial to choose a portion of the map as a beginning point, either to spread budgets across years or unite the team around a considerable change and a big win. Splitting the work is frequently the most excellent technique since it allows you to focus on a few critical factors while still receiving a complete picture.
Shift the Focus From Your Business to the Industry
We usually begin charting a route when a prospective buyer becomes aware of what they actually want (product/service). They have an unresolved problem, and they ultimately learn that your business has a solution – or, more crucially, that there is some form of resolution and your company is their top choice. That’s where the map begins, with a summary of the pieces of knowledge your customers examine.
You want to start affecting buyers at the product level. In other words, you care strongly about the information they discover about your product since it will directly influence whether they choose your business as a solution provider.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Journey Mapping?
The primary question business owners ask industry experts, especially in terms of the marketing funnel in the sales journey, is the benefits of mapping customers or clients’ journey with them. Let us now look at some of the top benefits and motivators as to why you should map your customer’s marketing journey.
Feel Empathy Towards Your Clients
Using a customer journey map helps you switch viewpoints and see what the sales areas are like from the customer’s point of view rather than the sales point of view. Consider using this data in the future to improve the consumer experience and change your sales and marketing strategies as needed.
Get a Unified Perspective on Their Path
Different departments in an organization may have conflicting information on a customer’s experience. A customer journey map delivers consistent information about the user’s experience with your company to all departments.
Analyze Operational or Communication Deficiencies
When you utilize a journey map, you may more readily identify service gaps in your present marketing and sales strategies.
Customer Behavior Can Be Predicted
Journey maps help forecast consumer behavior as they progress through the sales funnel. These patterns may be used to determine which types of prospects are more likely to be receptive. Knowing your target audience might assist you in deciding what you can do to help them go through the sales process.
Example Of Customer Journey Mapping
To understand the customer journey mapping process, you can see the examples below. Through these examples, you will be able to not only develop a thorough understanding of how a customer journey is mapped but you will also be able to capture in true essence how you should use this to plot different facets of customer experience.
Spotify is one of the most popular audio streaming services in the world. When Spotify sought to improve its users’ listening experience, it recruited a marketing consultancy to design a customer journey map. The purpose of this mapping exercise was to figure out where music streaming services fit in best with the user experience. A screenshot of the map is added below.
Amazon is one of the biggest multinational technology company, with its own technology and unique procedures in place to guide customers through the sales process. Its customer journey map is one of the most intricate in the industry, taking most individuals days to study and comprehend.
Here’s a look at Amazon’s customer conversion funnel and how the customer journey is made possible.
As you can see, Amazon’s customer journey map is very complex.
TurboTax is a popular online tax preparation software. When the TurboTax team was getting ready to introduce a new product called Personal Pro, they built a customer journey map to help comprehend the whole experience a customer would have with this new product. All the different stages of the customer journey are covered in the screenshot below.
Template of Customer Journey Mapping
Below is an example of a template that you can use to map out your customer journey. You can use this template or transform it according to your needs. Using this template, you can map the current situation of your customer marketing journey. Thus it can help you identify possible avenues for improvement in the future and areas that require attention.
Components of a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map may be created in a variety of ways. Regardless of its size or form, a journey map must have the following five components:
A customer journey map reveals areas (or opportunities) to improve the customer experience. This insight describes how product teams use information from the customer journey map.
2. Client Personas
A customer journey map is built on the user personas developed during a product discovery session.
3. Expectations and Scenarios
The scenario of a customer map focuses on the experience itself and the unique issue addressed by the journey map. A system is linked to the customer’s ultimate purpose and individual expectations during the encounter.
4. Emotions, Attitudes, and Actions
What the customer is doing, processing, and feeling throughout the encounter are at the heart of a customer journey map. Within each phase, actions, thoughts, and emotions are planned out for each persona. These data points, once again, are based on qualitative study observations.
5. Phases of the Journey
As the name indicates, phases are the consecutive high-level stages of the journey. The steps give the framework for organizing the remainder of the information needed to create a journey map (actions, thoughts, and emotions).
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Marketing Journey?
The marketing journey is, at its heart, a revolutionary change in how sellers perform marketing, how they contact their clients, and the information they supply them.
What Is a Digital Customer Journey?
The digital customer journey is the path an online user takes from the stage of awareness to the location of purchase. Essentially, it encompasses every online encounter between the buyer and the company and the purchasing experience.
What is a Sales Journey?
When prospective customers become aware of the product they need or want, they are on the sales path. They next do research, discover relevant firms, compare items and pricing, and finally make a purchase.
Marketing journeys are constantly evolving. Journey maps enable organizations to stay connected to their consumers and solve their demands and pain areas on an ongoing basis. They present a picture of various clients, which aids in understanding the intricacies of their market and being customer-focused. Customer journey maps might vary greatly, but they all follow the same steps.
Your brand can stand out, create meaningful interaction, improve consumer experiences, and achieve positive company growth with regular updates and the proactive elimination of obstacles. After all, brand matters.