Best practice in Buyer Journey Mapping is about thinking about a bigger picture and all the parts of the customer puzzle.

All too often, organisations constrain Buyer Journey Mapping to the customer’s online journey. And even then, may only be the journey from entering your website through to the point of sale. To achieve genuine success, businesses need to consider the entire journey.

This means looking across six areas of impact:

  1. Customer – Emotional Need/Buying Process.
  2. Culture – Cross-functional integration around customer centricity.
  3. Content – Communication that is critical to sustaining an intentional journey.
  4. Applications – Enable the delivery of experience and content.
  5. Insights – Assess the performance and optimise.
  6. Data – The backbone underlying the entire journey.

If any of these are missed, there will be a significant impact on the success of the project.

1. Customer -> Emotional Need/Buying Process

The start point of any customer journey mapping exercise is the customer. Seems like this would be obvious, but this does not mean just testing the process and the connections as a customer would. It means understanding what the customer is thinking, feeling and doing. What do they need? What is driving them? Best practice therefore means that we need to consider the customers “narrative” all the way through the process. The customer’s narrative expresses what they are thinking, feeling, or doing in their words. For example, “I need to buy a new car in order to cater for my growing family”. To create the best journey possible, it has to be driven by the customer’s narrative. Without the customer’s narrative, the customer journey maps will be product and process focused, which will lead to confusion for the customer.

2. Culture -> Cross-functional integration around customer-centricity

The brand needs to live and breathe the customer. This means understanding their needs, wants and behaviours. This is your culture of the customer. It should cut across everything you do. It means that every function within your organisation plays a part in the customer’s journey. To create truly integrated maps, then each function must embrace a customer culture and understand the part that they play in the customers’ narrative.

3. Content -> Communication that is critical to sustaining an intentional journey

Content is the glue that will help the customer navigate through the journey. It should reflect the customers’ narrative and provide information and be entertaining whilst driving them towards the goal of the journey. Content created using a content pillar will do nothing for you commercially because the content does not guide the customer forward on a journey.

4. Applications -> Enable the delivery of experience and content

Applications and tools are crucial to making sure that we can design, create, and deliver the right experience and content at the right time to the right customer. There is not a one-size-fits-all for this. The applications that you will need will vary by your brand requirements, but also there is simply not one platform that can do everything that you may require. You will require a stack of applications that can integrate throughout the customers’ journey. Key to getting this right is making sure that the customer’s experience is consistent across each of these applications and this means integrating the journey as part of implementing any application. If the applications cannot do this, best practice in buyer journey mapping will not be achieved and your customer will be frustrated by the experience they receive.

5. Insights -> Assess the performance and refine

Building your buyer journey maps is driven by the Insight that you have about your customers and their behaviour. If you start from a position where there is not much insight available, then the important thing to do is to test and learn to gather the insight as quickly as possible. This is best done by creating a hypothesis about who your customers are and what they want. Then you can review what content creates engagement on the journeys taken based on this hypothesis. You can then adjust the journeys as you learn more. You may be in the situation where you have enormous amounts of insight and it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. Here, it is about filtering the insight that you need to construct your maps.

6. Data -> The backbone underlying the entire journey

Core to any improvement is data and today you would think that most brands have a lot of data, but that is not necessarily the case. The challenge is that as people; we are constantly changing, which means the data about us is also changing. The trick is to capture, monitor and update the data that allows us as brands to understand what journey you are likely to be on and then personalise it for you. Clearly, data feeds insights, but we need to understand it as a constantly changing mass and not as being finite at any point. Without the right approach to data, everything else falls apart and your buyer journey mapping project will become a debacle.

Approach

To protect against these pitfalls, you need an approach for implementation that integrates all of this within one method – a best practice in buyer journey mapping. A dedicated project team is a must and will drive through the change across multiple areas, and this will involve bringing in external help. The case for doing this is that the external help will have specialised skills, a method for delivery, technology and systems to deliver and innovation that you might not otherwise find internally. At Odyssiant, we have all of this and we are ready to help you get started on your Buyer Journey Mapping.