cxm, customer experience, customer journeysIt’s no secret that one of today’s top marketing mandates is to deliver optimized digital experiences across multiple digital channels. Analyst firm Forrester recently came out with their State of Digital Experience Customer Technology report and found that more than half of the businesses they interviewed claimed that technology that supported this strategy was their highest priority.

But what are the first steps in terms of actually executing that priority? We frequently work with our customers to create these optimized digital content strategies, and in our experience the foundational step is to establish goals for each customer journey. Whether it’s conversion, brand loyalty, retention, stickiness on the page, shopping cart abandonment or even social, each goal should be expressed. And one of the best ways to express those goals is by establishing a customer journey map to measure your CXM progress.

Customer Journey Maps – The Creation

The CXM journey map is a very straightforward idea. It is, basically, a process that outlines all the steps that the audience you are targeting would go through while they engage with your content. As Forrester also said in a workshop they gave last month “many customer experience initiatives fail because companies don’t have a complete picture of what the customer experience actually entails or the dynamics that go into creating it.”

A Journey Map might be used to express everything from how the customer walks through your store physically, to (most common in our business) how they search the web, filter through social networks, arrive at your website, and/or experience your content in some way. The key is identifying all the points in your audience’s journey and then determine where you can optimize the experience they are having.

More complex digital content Journey Maps can take a customer from the first time they become aware of your brand (e.g. a Google Search, or advertisement, or email) all the way through to even after they become customers (e.g. a loyalty newsletter, or interaction on a social channel like Facebook).

However, one optimized way to express journey maps are as an expression of individual persona work you may complete. For example, if you are a B2B marketing organization, you may create a very specific customer journey map for the CEO of your target company vs. the CFO (who might actually be the buyer) and/or the end-user of the particular product you are marketing. The CEO may go through much different levels of engagement (since they are mostly an influencer to the sale). The marketer might take them first from content delivered at an event, to a thought leadership whitepaper, to the ultimate conversion to a webinar that they themselves may not even attend. The Goal (remember this is the important piece) is that the marketer is trying to get the CFO or the end-user to attend the event -- and thus begins THEIR Customer Journey map for that particular tactic.

Customer Journey Maps – The Integration

This is one of the more important points. Customer journey maps should typically all integrate into each other. As we create content that starts to work together, these multiple personas should all relate to each other in some way. Our CFO (in the example above) may have four or five different entry points across different channels to experience content. Some of them will intersect or hand off to other personas or other customer journey maps (e.g. different products, services).

Establishing the goals for each persona -- and thus each Customer Journey Map -- can help to identify the gaps in our current content and marketing strategy. And, it can help us to identify the metrics, monitoring and other types of technology requirements we’re going to need for each content channel.