Lost and Found: Why Journey Mapping Is Critical to Your Business

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Lost and Found: Why Journey Mapping Is Critical to Your Business
Lost and Found: Why Journey Mapping Is Critical to Your Business

With the advent of social media, a dataset now exists upon which to conduct virtual ethnography; a process that is more accessible and cost-effective than ever before. (As a side note: Virtual or digital ethnographies are an amazing way to map the customer journey and to uncover moments of opportunity to engage as well as the key drivers of engagement for content creation).

2. Easy for everyone: We've all had the experience where we've been charged with “embedding” a process or measurement throughout an organization. Journey maps use the language of the customer mapped to interactions—a language that marketing, operations, senior management, and the frontline understand.

3. Blind to politics: Ultimately, a customer journey is made up of the experiences that you are creating with them. Properly executed and measured, your journey map and associated customer feedback will highlight the barriers and the enablers in the journey. Each of these will likely correspond to a part of your organization.

This allows you to address the areas of your business that need improvement, be it awareness (marketing), out-of-the-box experience (product management), or service and support, etc. Your real customer pain points—the ones that are costing you share of wallet and new business—will no doubt be brought to light by measuring the journey and will highlight where you need to go to address the issue.

4. All Interactions! Businesses implement journey maps to understand a purchase experience or an account management experience. However, journey maps are at their best when used to map all customer interactions across the journey to develop an understanding of common pain points and challenges across all the moments of truth in different experiences and across different customer personas.

5. No single “customer journey:” A few marketers assert that you can control the customer journey. There are literally thousands of explanations of what “the customer journey” means. Nearly all include stages described as variants of awareness, research, evaluation, decision, and purchase. Many add additional post-acquisition stages like use, support/service, and long-term commitment. If you're looking to drive long-term commitment to buy and advocate, you need to address the post-purchase experiences that heavily affect a customer's willingness to repurchase and evangelize for your brand.

The truth is that customer buying behavior is complex, as is how customers create brand affinity—and there is no single path that every customer takes as he or she connects with products and brands.

Consider the early adopters—on the day the new Xbox One became available, they were lined up around the block to buy one. Instead of going through research and evaluation stages, the shoppers went straight from awareness to purchase. On the other hand, think about cost-conscious consumers: They know they have a need, maybe even a simple one like buying laundry detergent. Research indicates that they're very adept at comparison shopping and product evaluations because they need each maximize each dollar. They look to see what's on sale, what coupons they have, or what the generic brand costs relative to name brands and then make a very considered decision. 

The point is that different customers place a higher value on different experiences. Your job is to get to know them and to deliver for them.

David Clark is VP of marketing at SDL. Learn more about SDL's Customer Commitment Framework.

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DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

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