It's no secret that one of today's top marketing directives is to deliver engaging content experiences across multiple digital channels. Content marketing is increasingly seen as an effective way to turn prospects into customers. To do this successfully, you must have an intimate understanding of your customer. They need to be a part of your DNA. You'll want to identify, fingerprint, and guide the journey to know each of your customers.
Wondering what content to create? The key to creating business value is focusing on customer value. Start with understanding your audiences and mapping their customer journeys. You can learn how your customers interact with your channels, content, and brand story. If you create a visual or graphic of an individual's relationship with your organization you can better understand the groups of people who engage with your brand and content.
Here are seven reasons to create a customer journey map:
- Customers expect contextually relevant experiences. Customers are in control of their journey and expect to have the experiences they want, when they need them. Successful customer engagement now requires the delivery and measurement of consistent and contextually relevant customer moments across channels. Journey maps can reveal mutually relevant content that your target audience is engaged with and the content you produce. This allows you to focus content production appropriately to drive meaningful conversion behaviors.
- Reveals key drivers and blockers. It highlights the things customers really care about and what matters most to them. We may think something is broken, but the customer may not care, or so few are affected that it should be a low priority. Customer journey maps will also reveal pain points and problem areas that need to be prioritized organizationally or departmentally. Identifying these key drivers and issues provides an opportunity to redesign experiences to influence attitudes.
- Supports customer-centricity. A journey map can provide a level of credibility to the work being done through a customer experience program. It can be an additional voice in the conversation in support of work being done to improve the customer's experience. It also aids in the creation of experience that customers want so that you can eliminate the guesswork and enable proactive action.
- Optimize VOC analysis. Utilizing a Voice of the Customer analysis is beneficial to the journey map, because it identifies what metrics are important and what should and shouldn't be measured. Research will reveal the customer's most important expectations. Current metrics that don't align with these expectations should not be tracked. It will also point to the customer's most important outcomes, perceptions, and real-world occurrences that aren't being measured.
- Leverage data to create timelines. Identify when to survey customers and when to collect data. Companies should be surveying customers, pulling customer analytics and leveraging as much data to identify phases, touch points and customer sentiment. Having this information allows you to develop timelines within the journey map to indicate the best stage to capture customers' feelings and perceptions as soon as possible after moments of truth occur.
- Break down internal barriers. The journey map will enable cross-silo integration. Many companies struggle to overcome silos that may cause many pain points in the customer experience and can be squeezing customers out the door. If companies are serious about making it easier for customers to do business with them, they'll want to orchestrate seamless, relevant, and engaging interactions across a wide range of touch points.
- Drive loyalty and advocacy. One of the most important assets of marketing is a roster of satisfied clients willing to share their positive experience with others. One of the keys to driving loyalty is personalization. Get to know your customers deeply in their own context. Consumers are sharing more data than ever before through social media, online communities, email marketing, website browsing, and more. A journey map should ultimately drive loyalty by understanding how to personalize and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
The above reasons should provide an idea of why you need a customer journey map. Remember--not all journey maps are the same. They will differ significantly based on your business model, company structure, and overall approach.
The customer journey is many things. It's multi-dimensional, and it provides opportunities for engagement and personalized experiences. It's a constantly evolving slice in time. Remember, a primary objective of your customer journey maps is to make them actionable. While the mere exercise of mapping your customer's journey has value, the ultimate goal is to improve your customer experience. If you create customer-centered content marketing, it will help sustain a real-time dialogue with loyal and valuable customers and promote lifetime value.
Just a few short years ago, it seemed as if the bottom had fallen out for marketing talent-including writers, graphic designers, videographers, and more. In a declining economy, marketing budgets are often the first to feel the pain. But companies have actively looked for less expensive and more cost-effective ways to get the word out about their products and services. Additionally, Google has tinkered with its algorithms to provide SEO rewards to those who can supply rich, varied, and original content on a regular basis. And so, demand for talent has outstripped supply.