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The customer journey map has never been as undervalued, or as necessary to success. As a modern marketer where a purely digital strategy is the mode of the day, journey mapping may seem like a tool of the past. In reality, however, the customer journey map is the key to setting your brand apart in the digital age.
Right now, there are hundreds of brands competing in the same space at any given moment. While in the past you would have to compete with a handful of other brands to have the best product on the market, just having that one great thing is no longer enough. You need to have a good product or service for sure, but you know what you need to have more? The hearts and minds of the consumer.
With the “customerization” of markets, knowing the context of your customer is the only thing that will set you apart from competitors, which means that you need to be incredibly nuanced in your approach to that market. That’s where a digital customer journey map comes [back] in.
Starting with market research lays the foundation. In other words, start digging up your old marketing 101 tricks in order to reinvigorate your brand. Once you have this information, you’ll not only know where your customers are (Linkedin? TikTok? A hotel lobby? A sports arena?), you’ll also know that they love being offered a 10% discount at their favourite bakery on Sundays. You’ll know that they really like dance videos on TikTok and shopping directly from Instagram. You’ll also discover what that overarching context is tying it all together, and that is when you can devise your strategy. Without the context of the customer, you have no effective sales funnel or marketing plan.
At this point, you might be wondering, okay that’s great but how do we structure our journey map for a rapidly changing, heterogeneous target market? It’s a good question. Raman Sapra, senior vice president and global head of NTT DATA told Knowledge at Wharton, “‘Most customer journeys of today are rendered as static maps. I think they will become a lot more dynamic. They will become a current document that will get updated in real time in this connected world. That’s when the map will become even more valuable.’”
A customer journey map allows the organization to capitalize on evolving aspects of digital such as analytics, the cloud, social media, and IoT (Internet of Things) “‘by overlaying the digital possibilities upon customer journey maps.’” Siddharth Gaikwad, Head of Digital Experience at NTT DATA, says that companies are better able to pinpoint which aspects of their business to focus on when they can visualize the entire customer journey, “‘It helps them to realign their investments, technologies and business models so they can engage more effectively with customers, employees and partners.’”
That leaves us with how to create this updated version of a customer journey map. What needs to be included, or looked at differently? A good place to start in developing an updated journey map that will strengthen your digital customer experience consists of a few key elements:
Omnichannel strategy: Knowing your customer inside and out will allow you to build content across platforms that help to reinforce the context of your brand.
Shoppability: Be ready to offer rapid shopping opportunities, different packages and new ways of bundling your products or services.
Super design: UX/UI should be ship-shape and create a frictionless experience. (Hint: we can help you here!)
Personalized content: This is where you can and should use customer data (ethically, of course) to provide covetable, customized experiences that demonstrate that you understand your client better than anyone. *One great example to set you apart is to make your content more interactive.
The ancient Chinese proverb had it right with, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In marketing for a digital customer, the single step is the journey map, the part of the marketing plan that, if done right, will set your sales funnel up for long term success.
Where are you in your customer journey? If you’re in the early stages, check out this article on building personas. If you’re a bit farther, learn how trust can be built through content to reinforce your target customer’s belief in the product.