Leveraging Customer Journey Mapping to Improve Marketing
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. With no customers, there is no business — it’s as simple as that. But there is nothing simple and easy about attracting — or retaining, for that matter — customers in the age of fierce competition.
Whether choosing a video streaming service or shopping for a new pair of sunglasses, the market today has plenty of choices. And customers do not hesitate to switch to another brand if their experience is less than optimal. But to deliver superior customer experiences, it’s not enough to sell a product or provide a service. Instead, customers expect businesses to help them meet their goals in the most convenient yet efficient way.
Marketing helps companies create more value for customers by continuously communicating with them, identifying their needs, and informing product design to make sure it meets customers’ demands. With so much at stake, it’s essential to build an effective marketing strategy since marketing mistakes are costly and can result in lost leads and even customers. For example, a marketing message sent at the wrong time and through the wrong channel can ruin your marketing efforts (e.g., increase unsubscription rates).
Customer journey mapping can help businesses identify the right communication channels, target messages and improve marketing in many meaningful ways. Without further ado, let’s dive right in to see what a customer journey map in marketing is.
What is customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping refers to the process of creating a visual representation of how a customer interacts with your brand, product, or service across all touchpoints. It outlines key events, customer motivations, drivers, and pain points, resulting in a complete and easy-to-understand picture.
There are plenty of ways to visualize a customer journey — from post-it notes on a whiteboard to Excel spreadsheets. But specialized customer journey mapping tools like UXPressia can make the process more effective by offering a predefined structure, ready-to-go templates and collaboration functionality. Here’s an example of what a journey map can ultimately look like:
When done right, a journey map helps brands gain a granular understanding of their customers, identify gaps in services and areas for improvement, and ultimately grow the audience and improve retention rates.
However, no two customer journeys are the same. Depending on their goals, values, aspirations, and other factors, customers go through their unique paths. For example, a person concerned about the impact of plastic on the ocean starts looking into the actions taken to mitigate the problem. This leads them to products made of recycled plastic like Converse Renew sneakers. Another user is interested in popular sneaker brands and what shoes their favorite musician wears, ending up with — guess what — Converse Renew sneakers.
Although these customers end up with the same product, they definitely require different marketing approaches. Naturally, you cannot map the journeys of each and every customer. What you can do is to create a journey map for a customer persona — a semi-fictional character composed of key traits of your target audience segments. Actionable customer personas go a long way towards helping brands understand their audience, gain insights into buyers’ decisions, their concerns and motivations — all in order to deliver superior customer experiences.
But how do you create an actionable persona? To be effective, your personas must be built with actual, real-life data gathered from customer interviews, surveys, research, social media. Include as many details as possible. In addition to basic demographics (should you decide to include it), dig deeper into a buyer's personality and focus on their lifestyle, interests, and motivations. And do not forget to specify the preferred channels of communication that may vary from stage to stage.
With CDP you will be able to store and process the digital footprint of the client. This may include visits to websites, interaction with content, sessions in apps and even visits to outlets and offline events.
There is no set amount of customer personas that a business can have. Depending on the company size, the number of verticals it serves, and other factors, a brand can develop multiple personas to cater to the needs of all target audience segments.
Once you have created your personas, you can start building customer journey maps for them. That said, always remember that a journey map is not something set in stone. It is a living, breathing document that needs regular updating. For example, when collecting user feedback, you may discover that a simple text message about upcoming sales is less effective than an email with detailed information and a curated list of personalized recommendations. That’s why it’s crucial to revisit your customer journey map and keep it fresh.
3 pro tips on using personas and customer journeys for marketing strategy
- Speak your customer’s language
The importance of building a multilingual marketing strategy to communicate with customers in their native language cannot be underestimated. But in addition to eliminating language barriers, it’s equally important to avoid getting carried away with corporate speak and buzzwords that can confuse or even discourage customers from engaging with the brand. It is way more effective to communicate with your buyers in terms and phrases they already use.
And these phrases can be easily derived from extensive research of your target audiences that you performed for the purpose of persona development. Interviews, social media posts, support chats are all excellent sources of the preferred wording for your customers. You can build up a vocabulary and identify the tone for each customer persona to use across all copy and marketing materials for consistent user experiences.
- Leverage push notifications
When moving through the stages of a journey, a customer persona’s goals change accordingly. For example, at the awareness stage, customers acknowledge they have a problem or a need and their goal is to simply find information about the best ways to fill that need. In contrast, customers are ready to make an informed decision about the purchase at the decision stage.
It’s essential to tailor your messages to each stage so that they help customers meet their goals. Nurturing leads with targeted content can significantly improve your results. Push notifications are a great way to reach your potential clients with the right message at the right time. For example, sending an update with new arrivals will help a customer in their research of available options, and a promotional notification with personalized coupons will support the purchase decision.
Implement omnichannel communication to boost sales
- Trigger-based marketing campaign
Trigger marketing is a powerful technique that allows brands to scale their marketing efforts by automatically sending messages to leads and customers after a specific event or trigger. And thanks to customer personas, all this can be done without missing on customization and personalization.
When you have a clear understanding of your target customer audiences, you can create custom drip campaigns specifically tailored to the needs of different customer personas. Attentive and personalized email nurturing drives customer engagement, helps build trust, and boosts conversion rates.
Customer journey mapping is not new, but today it matters more than ever. As consumers expect brands to understand their needs and exceed their expectations, a journey map helps capture the entire customer experience and deliver exactly what’s needed. Businesses that leverage a customer journey for a digital marketing campaign can deliver more cohesive, customer-centric experiences while raising customer lifetime value.