Keeping with the theme of 2021 being the year of customer experience (CX), we want to dive deeper into the journey mapping side of audience understanding.
As a recent Harvard Business Review article reminds us, as marketers, we used to believe that we were competing with our competitors. But the new truth is that we are now competing with the last best experience our customer had. Pair that with the fact that consumer expectations are higher than ever (thank you pandemic, for the 10x acceleration within digital1), it’s imperative that we understand our customer experience. To do this, we must develop customer journey — or experience — maps.
Experience journey maps provide a framework that defines the interactions between a brand and its customers. This documentation can range from very basic outlines to extremely detailed architectures. They can be beautiful visuals created by talented designers, built within fully interactive tools (like our own Ciceron CX), or bare-bones within an excel spreadsheet. No matter how the visual aspect of a journey map is executed, the main components your journey map should contain at each stage include:
- Objective of the stage for the business
- Consumers’ mindset
- Key questions the consumer is asking
- Content or information they need to answer their questions
- Who, what and where are they going for this information (channels, devices, influencers, etc. – considering both offline and online interactions
- What obstacles or roadblocks are they encountering
- What is the desired action we want, etc.
Now when it comes to stages, this will look different for every brand, customized to fit your audience’s individual needs and desired experience. In general, these stages include: awareness, consideration, acquisition/conversion, retention, and loyalty… or some variation along those lines.
The process of creating a journey map is not a quick one. It takes time to gather data, conduct interviews or field research, and chart the multiple ways a user interacts with the brand. But once your journey map is complete, you will have a clear understanding of your customer’s path to decision. Pair this together with your decision profiles, and the result will be a foundation that will inform business decisions, marketing strategies, content needs, your connections planning and media executions that drive the outcome you desire.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, we cannot deliver the experiences our customers are expecting and deserve without understanding who they are and what matters to them. Invest in understanding your audience and the return will follow.