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Marketing Momentum: How to Create a Journey Map

Marketing Momentum: How to Create a Journey Map

In the July 1 Marketing Momentum, we talked about customer journey mapping as a way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing—getting both departments on the same page, specifically to develop content.

This week, we’ll take a broader view and discuss the true power of customer journey maps, including:

  • revealing pain points so you can alleviate them;
  • learning how to meet and adapt to customers’ changing needs; and
  • finding opportunities to build or deepen relationships with customers.

A well-developed journey map also helps keep customers at the forefront when key personnel are making decisions.

“What’s included in a journey map?”

Essentially, a journey map is a visual representation of how a customer interacts with an organization over time and across multiple channels. Ideally, they’re developed by cross-functional teams in a collaborative setting, and include the following components:

  • Personas (with goals, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations, pain points)
  • Timeline (a set amount of time or phases of the buying process)
  • Emotion (points of frustration, anxiety, happiness)
  • Touch points (customer interactions with the organization)
  • Channels (where customer interactions take place)
  • Moments of Truth (positive interactions that leave a lasting impression)
  • Supporting characters (others who may be involved in the experience)

Describing the customer experience allows everyone in the business to understand the customer’s perspective throughout the buying journey.

“What are the steps to creating a journey map?”

  • Set goals for your customer journey map. Do you want to improve processes, more effectively engage with customers, or alter the customer journey?
  • Conduct research such as customer interviews, surveys, analytics, social media surveying and competitive intelligence.
  • Identify customer touch points and on what channels they occur (e.g., calling for prices or availability).
  • Try to understand what the customer is thinking feeling, seeing, hearing, saying and doing throughout the buying process. Write them down and put on sticky notes or write them on a white board.
  • Brainstorm ways to address customer needs at those important touch points. Write them on sticky notes or write them on a white board.
  • Combine, rearrange, remove, categorize and group the sticky notes or words to create a picture of what the future customer journey might look like
  • Refine and polish it, then share it with others in the organization.

Create journey maps for each of your personas and periodically revisit them to check for accuracy. Then share them widely so they can guide future strategies and tactics, not just for marketing, but for management, accounting, finance, and customer service.

“What does a journey map look like?”

A journey map may start as a drawing on a white board, post-it-notes on a wall or a sketch on a piece of paper.

But eventually, you’ll want to transform it into a formal, more easily reproducible diagram that can be shared throughout the company.

I like this journey map by Massachusetts-based TandemSeven because it incorporates a customer persona, actions, thoughts, feelings, expectations and opportunities in one clean, easy-to-read format.

Some journey maps look like spreadsheets; others like timelines or flowcharts. It doesn’t matter what your journey map looks like as long as it works for you.

“How do I create a shareable journey map?”

When you’re ready to “prettify” your journey map, consider using one of these tools:

  • RealtimeBoard.com – This online whiteboard helps facilitate team collaboration among remote locations with premade templates; offers a 14-day free trial.
  • Mural.co – Like RealtimeBoard, it allows you to collaborate in real time using a big, flexible canvas; offers a 30-day free trial.
  • Smaply.com – This web-based software enables you to create personas, journey maps, and stakeholder maps; offers a 14-day free trial.
  • Touchpoint Dashboard – This online journey management platform allows you to visualize, share and optimize your customer journeys; offers a 14-day free trial.

To learn more, search “journey mapping” online to find a plethora of illustrations, guides and templates. There are also many consultants and firms that specialize in facilitating journey mapping workshops.

Want to learn more about this topic, and many other marketing challenges? Register to attend the upcoming NAED AdVenture Marketing Conference in Chicago on August 10-12. Visit naed.org/AdVenture to join us!

Olson is a marketing and public relations consultant, and principal of Katrina Olson Strategic Communications. She has written for tED magazine’s print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine’s Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and emceed the Best of the Best Awards ceremony for a total of seven years. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.com or via her website at katrinaolson.com.


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