Customer Journey Mapping: A Complete Guide

Understanding your customer’s journey with your brand – from first interaction to purchase and potential brand advocacy – can help you to stand out from the competition. But first you need to map that journey. Get the lowdown on all the elements of customer journey mapping with our guide.

In this customer journey mapping guide, you’ll discover:

What is the customer journey?

A customer journey is a story about understanding your users and how they behave and interact with your website. It’s about learning what you can do to improve their visit, so they keep coming back.

Essentially, it’s the entire experience your customer has while communicating with your brand, product or service. It considers the complete interaction roadmap from brand discovery to purchasing and beyond.

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the interactions a customer has with your business. It helps pinpoint their:

Using a customer journey map to analyze user behavior helps an organization understand how their customers progress through the entire sales process and their sentiment and experience during that time.

This process gives organizations a chance to view their brand from the customer’s perspective and identify gaps and opportunities within the user experience.

When brands use customer journey mapping, they examine each stage of the purchase process at a granular level. This gives marketing teams the opportunity to identify and align goals and customer needs in each stage of their funnel — ensuring a seamless customer experience and long-term customer success.

Mapping the customer journey has become more challenging as customers engage with businesses across so many different channels and multiple devices. From referral sites and social media to organic search, customers now have many ways to find and interact with your brand.

To create an effective customer journey map, you must ensure each customer interaction is accurately identified and included for targeting. When you analyze the customer journey, you are mapping different behavioral scenarios using existing data.

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What’s included in a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a graphic that depicts the stages customers go through when interacting with a brand. Companies often need to create several customer journey maps based on a 360-degree view of how customers engage with them.

When designing a customer journey map, there’s no set protocol. But there are guidelines, such as ensuring it’s:

✓ Visually appealing

✓ Comprehensive

✓ Understandable

Typical customer journey maps include infographics, diagrams and timelines.

A customer journey map is made up of several components, including:

1. Customer stages.

One of the first steps of creating a customer journey map is to identify the stages in the customer journey. There are at least four stages in a customer journey: enquiry, comparison, purchase, and installation.

2. Customer personas.

A buyer persona is a customer profile/s created with data, including search data, research, such as consumer reports, and other insights. It’s an important tool for creating journey maps, helping you to accurately predict those customers’ interests, challenges, and goals.

3. Customer touchpoints.

A customer journey map should always include touchpoints a customer is likely to use at each stage in the journey. For example, during the installation or service stage, a customer may use phone calls or chatbots to communicate with a brand. To align the customer experience and identify pain points between channels and touchpoints, the map should specify which channels are in focus.

4. Phases of the journey.

Each major phase of the journey should be broken down and represented on the map. This really helps stakeholders to visualize the process their customers are going through and the activities that sit in each phase.

5. Emotions.

One of the main goals of creating a customer journey map is to predict the customers’ emotions and feelings. This way, a brand can pinpoint potential pain points and successes.

6. Pain points or barriers.

Perhaps one of the most important things to put on your map are the areas where a customer is experiencing difficulties or issues with the product or service.

7. Customer goals.

It’s important to document the customer goals throughout the map and points at which goals change. A customer goal does not always remain constant throughout and this should be identified. Changing goals offer opportunities to identify improvements in the service.

8. Positive experiences.

Let’s not forget that you should highlight what you are doing well in the map, so stakeholders understand that these activities are creating a positive customer experience and adding value.

Benefits of customer journey mapping.

Businesses that invest in accurate consumer journey mapping are able to make improvements to the customer experience that ultimately drive sales. Here are the benefits you can expect with a well-mapped customer journey:

✓ Fine tune your marketing initiatives.

You may structure marketing initiatives to move customers through your funnel in a certain way. Spending time identifying each individual customer interaction allows you to evaluate your current marketing efforts and see whether they need to be adjusted.

✓ Increased conversion rate.

By highlighting the different pain points each customer has at various stages of the purchasing process, organizations can better address customer needs ahead of time, so that leads convert faster and more efficiently.

✓ A more cohesive customer experience.

By mapping out the entire journey a customer takes with your company, it’s easier to identify weak points in the customer experience.

✓ Preparation for the future.

Digital moves fast, so your marketing must be agile. Digital customer journey mapping gives you a foundational understanding of your customers’ current interactions, highlighting changes that occur in real time as customer trends and expectations shift.

How to create a customer journey map.

1. Set clear objectives for the map.

Before you can dive into creating your map, you must first ask yourself why you are making one in the first place. What do you want to achieve? One example could be to identify where conversions happen.

2. Collect the customer data and insight.

From email marketing to customer service, your company should be gathering data from every customer interaction. Use cross-departmental information and include both qualitative and quantitative data in your customer journey map. A marketing automation solution is a great way to collect this information in a centralized location.

3. Create your personas and define their goals.

Conducting consumer research is a great way to get valuable customer feedback. Use questionnaires and user testing to understand why consumers are interested in purchasing your products and services and see how they have interacted with your company before.

4. List out all the touchpoints.

Map every interactive moment a customer has with your brand — both online and offline. Customers may engage with your brand through in-store visits, sales events, digital marketing campaigns, interactions with your customer service team, your website, or social channels. For each interaction, note the potential actions a customer could take.

5. Identify customer pain points.

Identify what roadblocks are potentially stopping your customer from taking their desired action. Highlighting these potential obstacles in your customer journey can help you to overcome them.

6. Take the customer journey yourself.

After you’ve established a customer journey map, you should review it for accuracy. Follow the journey yourself and double-check your work to ensure you didn’t overlook any steps or actions during the mapping process.

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Frequently asked questions about customer journey maps.

How many customer journey maps do I need?

The more focused your customer journey map, the better. Customer journey mapping that focuses on one persona in one scenario tells a clear story. If you group too many personas into one journey, your map won't accurately reflect your customers’ experience.

Who should be involved in the customer journey mapping process?

You’ll need the help of marketing, customer services, sales, and related teams to gather your internal research. Additionally, you need executives and senior management involved in the process. Management often has the least amount of exposure to the customer, so will benefit from the new shared knowledge.

How much time should I spend on creating a customer journey map?

Mapping out many different customer journeys across many different buyer personas can be time-consuming. The research may take anywhere from three to 12 weeks to gather, plus time for data analysis and stakeholder readouts. You may want to conduct a one- to two-day workshop with internal stakeholders.

Begin leveraging your customer journey map today.

Customer journey mapping is no quick task when done manually. It also requires a marketing team committed to gathering and analyzing the necessary data and taking action on what the mapping reveals.

Marketo Engage gives you the tools you need to not only develop an actionable customer journey map, but to create marketing campaigns that deliver exceptional results time after time. Discover how you can improve your marketing initiatives and boost sales with a Marketo Engage demo.

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