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Customer Journey Map: Smart Investment in User Experience

Digital Marketing
June 6, 2024
1o mins

Investing in customer experience is a success story in today’s business realm. Companies leverage Customer Journey Map and Consumer Decision Journey as effective means to identify and analyze interaction points.

According to a McKinsey & Company Report, companies that improve their customer journey save on maintenance costs by 15-20% and increase revenue by 10-15%.

What is a Customer Journey Map and why it is important for businesses? Why Consumer Decision Journey? We’ve answered this and other questions with Promodo Strategist, Maryna Borysenko. 

A Customer Journey Map: Why Businesses Need It?

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) is a basic customer experience analysis tool that allows one to visualize the steps a customer takes while interacting with a product or a brand both offline and online. The Map will help you identify key points where the customer intersects with the brand/product at each stage of the customer journey from a need actualization to the purchase decision.

The uniqueness of the Customer Journey Map is in its reliance on the sequence of all the steps a customer takes when interacting with a company's product/brand. It is where we see real points of intersection between the customer and the brand at each stage of their buying journey: from the need actualization to the final purchase decision. The billboards they have seen, the websites they have visited, the ad campaigns they remember, who and where they have consulted - all this provides us with a clear understanding of the process of forming and structuring a customer's buying experience, core drivers, motivators and hindrances underway, and whether they’ve been satisfied with the product. Maryna Borysenko, Strategist at Promodo.

Why Mapping Customer Journey?

Prioritizing consumer needs, customer-oriented businesses leverage CJM as an effective tool to build long-term relationships based on trust and excellence. 

The Benefits of Customer Journey Map for Businesses

  1. A deeper understanding of customer needs and emotions
  2. Creation of a single brand information field
  3. Greater brand value for the customers
  4. Increased customer loyalty and lower churn rate
  5. Optimization of the customer's buying experience and proactive problem-solving
  6. Increased sales and optimized marketing costs.

By tracking multiple stages of customer interaction, companies identify pain points, optimize contact points, and form effective emphatic customer experiences. This is what secures greater loyalty and repeat purchases.

According to a Salesforce Study, 84% of customers anticipate companies to respond to their genuine needs proactively. That is why managing the Customer Journey Map is critical to best match customer expectations.

How to Build a Customer Journey Map?

Customer Journey Map relies on in-depth interviews with customers, the data analyzed by your in-house team, mystery shopper results, and observations supported by quantitative research. CJM shows how a consumer moves through the buying journey given various triggers, barriers, and drivers.

The Customer Journey involves several critical stages that reflect the customer experience. Let's take a closer look!

Defining Goals and Volume

Before processing the CJM, you should clearly define your project goals. Understanding what you want to achieve by creating the Map and what aspects of the customer experience you’ll explore is vital. The key questions are as follows:

  • Products/services embraced by the Map?
  • The stages of customer interaction that need the utmost attention
  • The goals you want to achieve: increased loyalty, improved service, optimized processes

Collecting Customer Data

Data collection is a key stage in CJM building. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are used to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and needs:

Quantitative data: website analytics, CRM system data, mass surveys, sales statistics

Qualitative data: customer interviews, focus groups, customer feedback, observations, mystery shopping.

This stage helps to identify key moments of customer interaction with the brand and their emotional reactions at various stages of the journey.

Identification of Personas

To create an effective Map, you should visualize several characters, the prototypes of your average customers. Personas will help you visualize who is going through your CJM and focus on their particular pains and needs. Key elements of personas include:

  • Demographic characteristics: age, gender, social status
  • Behavioral characteristics: habits, motivations, goals
  • Consumption situations and pain points.

The Stages of the Customer Journey

The entire customer journey can be divided into several main stages, each of which reflects specific actions and interactions of the customer with the brand. The main stages may include:

  • Need awareness: a customer learns about the problem or realizes the need to solve it
  • Information search: a customer gathers information about possible ways to solve the need
  • Evaluation of alternatives: a customer compares various products or services that would satisfy their need
  • Decision-making: a customer chooses a specific product or service
  • Purchase: a customer makes a purchase
  • After-sales service: the customer uses the product and interacts with support if needed.

Identifying Touchpoints

At each stage of the journey, a customer interacts with a brand through various physical and digital touchpoints: 

  • Website/App
  • Social networks
  • Stores and in-store staff
  • Call centers
  • Advertising
  • Payment methods.

Customer Emotion Map

Beyond exploring customer actions, it is critical to understand their emotional reactions at each stage of the journey. To do this, you will use emotional mapping methods to spot the stages that cause positive or negative emotions. This will help you identify problem areas that need improvement.

Map Visualization 

The last step of the process is to visualize the data obtained as CJM. Use clear graphs and charts to display each stage, touchpoints, and customers’ emotional states. The visual map should be clear and easy to interpret by all team members.

Analysis and Change Implementation

Having created the CJM, it is vital to do a detailed analysis of the obtained data and identify key problems to mitigate them. 

The process of change implementation includes:

  • Optimization of service processes
  • Improvement of a product or service at the 4P (product, price, place, promotion) level
  • Alteration of a marketing strategy
  • Staff training.

Regular CJM reviews and updates will help your business constantly adapt to changing customer needs and increase conversions at each stage of interaction.

Customer Journey Map for B2B

In the B2B segment, the buying process often associates with internal bureaucratic procedures, while in B2C it is usually simpler and more emotionally charged. Concerning complex products in the B2B market, there may be several participants in the process:

  • Economic buyer.
  • Technical buyer
  • The end user.

Although the general structure of the CJM is common to B2C and B2B segments, there are a few distinctions you should account for while construing the Map.

Customer Journey Map for B2B
B2B Leverage Customer Journey Mapping

According to Forrester's State Of Business Buying 2023 Report, at least one-third of B2B buyers in North America and Europe, and more than a quarter in the Asia Pacific claim that today’s buying process is more complex than ever, while delays are the norm. B2Bs expect a B2C experience where everything is now fast and omnichannel compared to the complex, branched CJMs in the B2B market. And that’s an organic feature of B2B CJM.

Another important aspect of this process is to spot the difference between a buyer (decision maker) and a brand’s customer: 

A buyer's journey begins with the identification of a problem to be solved and ends with the purchase decision 

A customer journey involves the buyer's journey and post-purchase interactions with the brand. 

Mapping customer experience is a working means to arrange customer interaction and enhance their purchase experience. Improving a customer experience is not only about retaining existing customers loyal to your brand but the brand's audience expansion. 

Case study #1: Tiffany & Co Ad Campaign “Not your Mother's Tiffany”

In 2021, Tiffany & Co., the iconic brand renowned for its diamond jewelry, launched an exceptional ‘Not Your Mother's Tiffany’ ad campaign that came as a challenge for global luxury brands during COVID-19. 

Tiffany & Co Ad Campaign
Not Your Mother's Tiffany Campaign

The campaign aimed at Gen Z that is is now at its peak of fashion trends and will soon turn into the most active demand of the global economy.

Tiffany & Co. offered young people silver jewelry at affordable prices to expand its current customer base with young buyers. User research helped the company identify a powerful and effective tool to expand and rejuvenate the brand's customer base. In the case of the ‘Not Your Mother's Tiffany’ campaign, the brand's assortment expanded, while the brand applied the touchpoints relevant to its target audience. This is a prime example of maintaining the brand's positioning and market share by analyzing consumer barriers and triggers to purchase luxury brands.

Systematic mapping and analysis of the customer journey (CJ) allows companies to effectively turn end users into economic buyers in any market.

It is vital to comprehend that CJM is effective only if you gauge and record customer experience at the journey level, rather than at the level of touchpoints or overall satisfaction. That said, it is necessary not only to analyze the stages of the customer's buying journey but also to determine their aspirations and goals for the journey. Maryna Borysenko, Strategist at Promodo.

Business Benefits from Customer Journey Map & Consumer Decision Journey 

To improve the customer journey, you need to simplify the decision-making process. This comes as an invaluable insight for both B2B and B2C businesses.

Customer Journey Map is a “marketing funnel” that allows brands to remain visible to their target consumers. CJM allows you to leverage the right touchpoints while interacting with the consumers. 

The action follows the logic of the “funnel” - when consumers choose among several brands, the marketing influence of the CJM funnel narrows the consumer’s choice to one brand. 

Today, however, the concept does not cover all the touchpoints and buying nuances, given how informed consumers are. This means that you’ll need to deploy a less linear tool. If the company's customer focus is strategic, it is advisable to reach consumers when there’s a chance to impact their buying decisions most.

A Customer Decision Journey Map (CDJM) is an empathy map. We see how the customer uses the products and how they continue building relationships with the brand based on their own decisions.

The Consumer Decision Journey is a six-step loop marketers use to develop targeted strategies. This model involves mapping throughout the following stages:

  • Purchase: the process of buying a product/service
  • Experience: what the consumer feels after purchase and use
  • Advocacy: the buyer actively shares its own experience with the brand
  • Communication: the buyer develops their interaction with the brand and turns into a customer.

The final stage creates a cycle that returns the consumer to the start of the journey. At first glance, this is a shorter research cycle given the number of stages, but it is far more complex in terms of the individual customer’s decision-making characteristics. Some customers may even skip certain steps depending on their needs and current level of awareness.

While businesses are pursuing an average length of a customer's decision-making journey, it varies substantially depending on the values of individual consumer groups. Therefore, the CDJM's core advantage is in building a psychological profile of customers and segmenting them within a psychological archetype. This allows businesses to motivate consumer behavior more effectively and even create new purchase paths. Maryna Borysenko, Strategist at Promodo.

What’s the Worth of the Empathy Map?

The psychological approach allows us to identify consumer interests and vulnerabilities to create more intuitive and effective marketing strategies based on an understanding of: 

  • What does the consumer feel when using the product?
  • What does the consumer see when using the product?
  • What does the consumer do when using the product?
  • What benefits will the consumer get from using the product?

Regardless of size or niche, companies leverage the Customer Journey Map and the Customer Decision Journey, but they need them most during rapid growth, market changes, and the release of new products and services. 

Case Study #2: Developing a Communication Strategy Based on Customer Experience Research

Developing a clear communication strategy requires a deep understanding of your target audience. However, knowing their socio-demographic characteristics and behavioral patterns is only half the battle. It is also important to understand the lifestyle and decision-making processes of all segments of this audience.

The study of the buying experience of monitors for brand X based on the results of in-depth interviews, a mass online survey, and an analysis of communications from the major market players, helped us identify the main differences in the audience's buying portraits.

In particular, representatives of the non-gaming monitor buyer segment are less demanding in terms of image quality while they tend to purchase monitors designed for visually uncomplicated images. They are also looking for budget solutions that provide normal image quality. They superficially evaluate tech characteristics and are very stressed in the process of making a purchase decision. The list of stressors and their consequences helped the brand understand the most appropriate direction, content, and best-fit communication mode with its consumers. 

Using the emotional aspects of buying decisions allows brands to shift strategic focus toward consumer interests and develop more intuitive business strategies. It also helps to identify potential vulnerabilities or shortcomings in your own product/service or marketing campaign. Ultimately, this can lead to deeper connections with the consumer. Maryna Borysenko, Strategist at Promodo.

5 Effective Life Hacks for Effective Customer Journey Planning and Decision-Making

  1. Use customer data from all touchpoints to create comprehensive journey maps based on insights
  2. Identify key emotional triggers and pain points to design more empathetic and effective experiences.
  3. Use flexible iterations. Think of journey maps as dynamic frameworks - constantly collecting feedback and iterating.
  4. Involve all stakeholders to uncover hidden insights and agree on customer-centric priorities.
  5. Ensure omnichannel consistency. Create interconnected journeys that build customer loyalty to your brand and drive conversions across all channels.

Wrapping Up

Customer Journey Mapping and Customer Decision Making are powerful tools that help businesses better understand their customers and effectively predict changes in their needs and preferences. 

Efficient use of CJM and CDJ helps to increase customer loyalty, optimize marketing costs, and increase revenues. By investing in these tools, companies can not only retain existing customers but also expand their audience, making their business more competitive across the marketplace.

Need Help with Customer Journey Mapping?
Our Digital Marketers are Right at Hand to Enhance Your Performance!

Written by
Maria Kashina

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

June 6, 2024
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