Customer Journey Mapping: Where to Start
Following a customer from one touchpoint to another and delivering targeted, effective, and personalized messaging along the way is an important part of making meaningful customer relationships through data. Yet, while it’s common to wonder which piece of marketing technology can actually deliver this capability for your organization, the answer isn't so simple. There is no silver bullet solution.
Instead, the first step requires a mind shift for your team to stop thinking about a single martech tool and start connecting all of your marketing technology systems into a fully integrated digital environment.
The good news is that you can begin mapping out your customer journey by using what you already have! Utilize the customer experience data that your organization is already collecting to develop a customer journey map based on what your prospects and customers really want and need from your organization. To do this, you first need to have all of your marketing technology working together, forming an integrated digital ecosystem that ideally includes a single-source of data truth. Your customer data is not providing enough value for your organization if it is sitting alone in one system, disconnected from the other tools that you use. But when your marketing technology systems are integrated and operating in sync, all of your collected data can begin to tell a story and lend insights into how your customers think, act, and feel about your organization. You can then use this data to create a customer journey map for each of your ICPs (or ideal customer profiles). In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your customers and envision the path they take as they interact with your company and experience your brand.
Before you can follow your customers through their journeys, you first need to map out the path of interactions that your customers have across digital channels and with various departments of your organization. According to a Think With Google article by Stuart Hogg, you might want to take a closer look at all of the potential touchpoints where people can interact with your brand. Hogg recommends grouping these touchpoints according to the stage of the buyer’s journey and prioritizing those that help directly align with the company’s target objectives.
And as important as your own business goals are to your customer journey map, you should also consider the goals of your customers. What are they seeking to do and/or accomplish? How do they use information about your products and services to get closer to achieving this goal or solving a problem? What emotions do they experience along the way?
Empathize with your customers’ experiences
Find out what parts of the customer experience could create positive and negative emotions to arise. Viewing an ad, putting a product in a cart, communicating with your sales or customer service teams are all touchpoints at which people could either be happy or unhappy with your brand. Inspect these moments closely to determine how they influence the customer journey from initial interest to continued loyalty.
Once you have created your customer journey maps, you can then develop new touchpoints and ways for your customers to interact with your brand, while determining where and how you can improve the customer experience to keep your customers happy. If you notice where potential buyers tend to break away and disengage from your brand, focus your attention there to discover how you can remedy the situation and prevent such an interruption from occurring within the buyer’s journey.
The customer journey map transcends channels to include every interaction from phone conversations, website visits and social media engagement to visiting brick-and-mortar locations. A reliable, channel-agnostic map that is created from rich customer data reflects how customers deal with your company and the expectations that they have for their experience with your brand.
Integrate your marketing technology to get to know your customers
While a "bird's eye view of the entire customer journey" will give you organization a clearer understanding of the digital journey that your customers follow, such a zoomed-out view will only tell you how your customers interact with your organization and not the full story. In order to understand how to satisfy your customers, you will also need to measure your success at moving your audience effectively from one step to the next in the buyer’s journey and determine levels of customer satisfaction at each stage.
Creating a customer journey map and putting that framework to the test are both data-intensive processes. Unless there is a reliable, integrated and centralized source of information, these efforts will come up short of your goals.
The technology platforms that your marketing, sales and customer service teams use all need to be integrated with one another so that you can watch your customers as they progress through their journey. Do your marketing systems feed into the same data repositories as your sales and customer service solutions?
Fortunately for digital marketers, marketing technology integration sounds more difficult than it really is. Many of today's advanced tools can work together and share information so that you can gain a better understanding of who your customers are and how they experience your brand. With the assistance of a marketing technology consultant, you can find opportunities to connect the various systems that your organization uses and develop an operational workflow that follows your customers along their journey. By understanding the path that your customers have taken, your teams can more effectively communicate with appropriate messaging at appropriate times.
Ready to Get Started?
There has never been a better time than now to start embracing marketing technology integration! If your organization is suffering from outdated technology or encountering data silos, contact a GeekHive expert to learn how you can assess the current state of your marketing technology systems and uncover their true potential.