September 20, 2021 Content Chat Recap: How To Use Customer Journey Maps To Improve The Customer Experience

A #ContentChat header image that says today's topic is how to use customer journey maps to improve the customer experience with guest Jenny Magic.

Great content aims to help its ideal consumer learn new concepts, overcome challenges, and perform better in their day-to-day work. To fully serve your community through content marketing, it’s essential to map your customer journey to understand the challenges they face and ways you can help them at each stage of their journey.

In this #ContentChat, we’re joined by Jenny Magic, content strategist at Convince & Convert, to discuss how marketers can use customer journey maps to improve the customer experience. Read the full recap below, where we explain what is included in the customer journey, our favorite tools to map the customer journey, ways to improve this journey through content marketing, and more.

Q1: What is the customer journey? What is or is not included in this journey?

The customer journey involves every touchpoint a customer has with your brand (whether direct or indirect). This includes everything starting from when the customer first becomes aware of your company through to their post-purchase experience(s) (if they get that far).

A1a The #customerjourney documents what buyers need at each stage of a decision process to keep momentum & get to the next stage #ContentChat https://t.co/U7RQB2oMHV

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A1: the customer journey is comprised of all the touchpoints a customer has with your company from first becoming aware of your company through to the sale.
(as an aside, this is why I am a proponent of multi-touch attribution) #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

A1: All interactions a customer has with your brand from the moment they hear about you. That can include anything pre- and post-sale. #contentchat

— Melanie Graham (@WriterGirlMel) September 20, 2021

A1.
It is the whole voyage from the first touch point unfamiliar with your brand/company to a satisfied and returning, steady customer. It includes all interactions, stages, service and communications.
Amd that will hopefully be a nice trip 🌞#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/jY3hUksJCA

— Christian Lipp 🌱 (@SEMgalore) September 20, 2021

The customer journey includes every online and offline/in-person interaction. In many ways, the customer journey and customer experience are closely intertwined.

A1: I define the customer journey as all the way they can engage with your brand…online, offline, in person…the full experience. #ContentChat

— Bernie Fussenegger (@B2the7) September 20, 2021

It’s so interesting, I’ve often seen that the #customerjourney are where #CX really comes together for an organization #contentchat https://t.co/ry8bZvvrz8

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Great point here—too often we see marketers focus exclusively on the owned + digital aspect. While that’s critical to include, it’s nowhere near all of it. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Customer journey are all the touch point that the customer has with the brand. These include resources by the brand itself (website, customer service etc.) but also references found on the web (review sites, influencers etc.) #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) September 20, 2021

Marketers use customer journey maps to understand their buyer needs and the hurdles that customers face when exploring or purchasing from a brand.

A1b For me the #customerjourney is really the intersection of buyer needs & sales CTAs. What do we want them to DO and WHY would they do it? #ContentChat https://t.co/U7RQB2oMHV

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A1c In practice, journeys are often spreadsheets with rows for each persona at each stage of the decision process #ContentChat https://t.co/U7RQB2oMHV

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

To reiterate: The customer journey does not stop when the buyer makes a purchase. The journey involves all post-sale interactions, too, encompassing the full customer lifecycle.

I would go further. It’s so easy for those of us in marketing to forget what happens AFTER the sale, which we may not be as involved in but is equally important. #contentchat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) September 20, 2021

Very true! As someone who focused on content marketing to existing customers, I am always surprised when existing customers are not part of the journey maps.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

So true. Aligning team incentives so that onboarding, upsell, and other post-sale activities are rewarded across teams helps keep this top of mind #contentchat https://t.co/qUxZ37seZE

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Excellent take, Dan 👍🏾. Don’t stop after a quick sale!
🤔What about service + support?
🤔 Something went wrong?
🤔Exchanges and returns?
🤔Customer questions?
🤔Upsale opportunities?

All part of a customer journey and the #CustomerExperience #ContentChat

— Christian Lipp 🌱 (@SEMgalore) September 20, 2021

And all part of your #contentstrategy, we hope! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

For successful customer journey mapping, departments have to align their strategy and KPIs.

This is why I am now so invested in breaking down silos – you can’t attribute multi-touch if systems don’t talk and metrics don’t match #contentchat https://t.co/0D4S7nigQ7

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

And the customer journey can differ based on each unique audience (let’s dive into this for Q2).

It is also defining your audience/customer. A customer could also be your own team member and what their journey is with the brand and how they are engaging and needing to know who the audience is etc. #ContentChat

— Bernie Fussenegger (@B2the7) September 20, 2021

Q2: How detailed should an audience persona be? What are the essential elements to include?

Per Jenny, less is more when it comes to audience personas. Adding too many details could invite unconscious bias or introduce unnecessary “considerations” for your team.

A2a IMHO Less is more – overdone personas can reflect unconscious bias (e.g. why are they in a suit?) Focus on mindset, motivations #ContentChat https://t.co/jSVDU5FBOY

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

I agree. Too often, I get personas that are full of average customer demographic information that doesn’t help me at all—as a B2B content marketer—understand what drives them to change or take action. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Focus personas just on the must-haves. What influences each persona’s purchasing decisions, what value do they seek most, and what hurdles do they face in their day-to-day work.

A2b Persona must-haves: what triggers need to change, what influences them on decisions like this, which value prop resonates? #ContentChat https://t.co/jSVDU5FBOY

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A2: I live the persona to include your demographics, goals, external/internal challenges, motivations, value, activities, habits and influence…so I guess for me, pretty detailed. #ContentChat

— Bernie Fussenegger (@B2the7) September 20, 2021

A2: my personal fav element to include in personas are motivations, especially in #HigherEd, #Travel & #healthcare.

Working with @VisitCA & their traveler motivation research has been a really great way to shape content strategies. #ContentChat

— Corynn Myers 🐡 (@CorynnMyers) September 20, 2021

Be conscious of how many personas your team creates.

A2 I would rather see personas few and detailed than many and shallow. How many personas are really relevant, and how many can you realistically support? #contentchat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) September 20, 2021

Define personas with emotional drivers instead of gendered names.

A2c Persona pro tip: nickname w/ emotional drivers instead of gendered names e.g. “Ambitious Entrepreneur” vs. “Driven Debbie” #ContentChat https://t.co/jSVDU5FBOY

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Christian advocates for thoroughly detailed personas, which could be helpful for some organizations. However, Jenny urges marketers to assess if each detail is relevant to purchase decisions.

A2.
As detailed as possible. Think about creating a avatar/character sheet. You include everything from a target audience + goals, needs, fears, motiviation, interests, activities, likes, dislikes,…#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/EG2Kog3DW2

— Christian Lipp 🌱 (@SEMgalore) September 20, 2021

I like the details not because we use them but because they make the personas more fun and engaging to talk about, so people don’t forget about them. #contentchat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) September 20, 2021

I guess I just struggle with this because the more detailed the persona the more narrow the group. If the detail is highly relevant to the purchase, it stays, otherwise it’s just noise, IMHO #ContentChat https://t.co/A3MeMuQrV9

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

My big example for this, is when a B2B persona tells me the person has two kids and a dog. Does this really affect their technology buying decisions at work? If so, how? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Usually, when I push on this, I get told something to the effect of “it’s relevant b/c then we give them trade show giveaways they can take home to the kids”.

Which still doesn’t help me from a content POV. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Exactly! It may help us visualize an actual person (great for empathy) but accidentally visualize the WRONG person or leave out whole key groups based on irrelevant details. Inclusion asks us to paint with a broad brush, esp. with demographic and lifestyle details. #ContentChat https://t.co/iWfZKBJDqN

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Q3: How can brands get started in mapping their customer journeys? What tools or methods do you recommend?

Several members of the community enjoy Airtable for customer journey mapping. If you attend CMWorld 2021, check out Jenny’s session to access her Airtable templates for journey mapping.

A3a I’m a huge fan of @Airtable: a spreadsheet on steroids that makes mapping content to the journey and pivoting views a breeze #ContentChat https://t.co/9Ceruw7XRI

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A4e (My #CMWorld session is a journey map session with Airtable templates… Magic100 for $100 off in-person or virtual) #ContentChat https://t.co/9Ceruw7XRI

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Other customer journey mapping tools include Miro (Masooma shares a template below) and Mural.

A3. There’s also Miro that’s really helpful for creating customer journey map in any form/visual style preferred.

Here’s a helpful template that I just googled: https://t.co/9cutPvaS37#ContentChat

— Masooma | Content Writer (@inkandcopy) September 20, 2021

I love white boarding tools (Miro, Mural, etc) for workshopping #customerjourney maps, so useful for teams. I’ve found the hard part is doing something with them afterward, what are your thoughts there? #ContentChat https://t.co/kvltQW7VKD

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Keep persona highlights, CTAs, and journeys in a central location for all members of your team to access and cross-reference. Ask questions like “what was the customer thinking, asking, doing, needing from us” at each stage of the buyer’s journey to fill in your map.

A3b Regardless of tool, keep persona highlights, CTAs and journeys in one place for cross reference. Create a row for each persona at each stage of the journey and tag with the best CTA in that moment #ContentChat https://t.co/9Ceruw7XRI

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A3c Ask, “what are they thinking, asking, doing, needing from us” at this stage? #ContentChat https://t.co/9Ceruw7XRI

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Customer surveys and 1:1 conversations, focus groups, and third-party research are essential for refining your personas.

A3: Customer surveys, focus groups & 3rd party research on industry expectations at each stage are some of my favorites. #ContentChat

— Corynn Myers 🐡 (@CorynnMyers) September 20, 2021

And your customer database or CRM will provide a wealth of information to inform your personas.

A3.
Tracking interactions, taking notes, keeping in touch with the target audience.
💡Using a customer data base
💡Spreadsheets
💡CRMs like @HubSpot or @salesforce#ContentChat

— Christian Lipp 🌱 (@SEMgalore) September 20, 2021

Q4: What should brands look for in their customer journeys to identify opportunities to improve the customer experience?

List all calls-to-action associated with your customer journey and the key touchpoints between stages. Assess where your funnel breaks down. Refine your messaging by asking “what can we do for the customer at this stage” instead of providing a brand-centric message.

A4a Having teams list all their CTAs is often a telling exercise – the value equation is really lopsided in favor of the brand. Correct by asking “what can we do for them” and align your CTA’s to their needs #ContentChat https://t.co/kqTyeVBDEb

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A4 You have to take a hard look at where the funnels break down and perform a gap analysis, combined with conversations with customer-facing colleagues. What are our customers asking about that we are not answering? #contentchat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) September 20, 2021

This is why I love doing content audits alongside the #customerjourney – what content do we have for each persona/stage and CTA? What gaps should we fill next? And how to prioritize? All things we can find in a good journey map #ContentChat https://t.co/kHDAsXRgd6

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Assess where various departments like sales, marketing, and customer success can better align for customer coordination.

A4b Often there are whole #customerjourney stages that are ignored by marketing or left to sales/support. Great CX is always cross-functional. Your journey map can show you the map #ContentChat https://t.co/kqTyeVBDEb

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A4c Enlist sales and really push for their contribution to an authentic #customerjourney. Don’t accept a casual nod, insist they truly participate. This is your foundation and a critical sales/mktg. alignment tool. #ContentChat https://t.co/kqTyeVBDEb

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

If you can’t align on your journey maps, it’s unlikely you will be able to align on your funnel stages and attribution either. To me, journey mapping is a great place to start building the trust and cross-organizational relationships that are so critical. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Consistently use and update your customer journey maps so all departments can effectively use them.

A4d Journey maps really are where sales/marketing/support align, so use the tool as a touchstone for all teams #ContentChat https://t.co/kqTyeVBDEb

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Q5: How can marketers use a customer journey map to identify potential #contentmarketing opportunities?

Audit your content alongside your customer journey. List your top-performing content and group it by persona, stage, and CTA. Use this to identify gaps in your strategy.

A5a Audit content alongside your journeys. List top content and group by persona/stage/CTA. Gaps are immediately obvious #ContentChat https://t.co/9HrkThCd2d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A5b Every org. has “easy” content they default to; break the cycle by creating in the gaps #ContentChat https://t.co/9HrkThCd2d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

That includes updating outdated but previously high-performing content, and creating new versions of top content adapted to reflect a different use case or persona’s needs. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Ensure every persona at every stage has a core piece of content that is tailored to their needs.

A5c Ensure every persona at every stage has a core piece of valuable content that can be atomized and reused #ContentChat https://t.co/9HrkThCd2d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Reference frequently asked questions on social media or through various channels like your email newsletter or blog. Use these questions to create new content that addresses your customer needs.

Any questions asked online or comments on social media can be a great source of content for blog, podcast or social media #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) September 20, 2021

Completely agree. And those emails you keep answering, too! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Absolutely, there are always standard questions that can be turned into infographics, blog articles, expert interviews etc. Same piece of content can be repurposed across multiple social media channels #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) September 20, 2021

After you cover the essentials for each persona at each stage, diversify your content and create multiple relevant CTAs and content assets to enrich the customer experience.

A5d Multiple relevant CTAs for a persona/stage means multiple content opportunities. Prioritize filling gaps and then enrich #ContentChat https://t.co/9HrkThCd2d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Q6: What challenges do marketers often face when mapping their customer journeys, and how do you recommend teams overcome these challenges?

Customer journey maps are often created and then forgotten. Make your maps easily accessible by all departments, and create a hub that links to all relevant documents.

A6a Journey maps often are a workshop doc that gets shelved and forgotten. Making them central to content creation is key. I link personas, CTAs, Journey Map & Content Audit in one sheet, forcing content ideas to be tagged to persona/stage & CTA #ContentChat https://t.co/3vZ5u1BuGU

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A6d Fortunately, if you’re focusing on evergreen, high-value content, you can eventually serve all personas at all stages across multiple CTAs #ContentChat https://t.co/3vZ5u1BuGU

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Partner closely with sales and all customer-facing teams to refine your maps.

A6. Two problems:

• Marketers don’t put themselves in their customers’s shoes to understand their journey from visiting to buying

• Lack of collaboration with the sales team. Meaning: a less realistic customer journey map#ContentChat

— Masooma | Content Writer (@inkandcopy) September 20, 2021

100% agree that the sales/marketing divide is one of the biggest challenges to the modern CX-focused organization. Break down the silo or be ready for consequences. Customers demand more #ContentChat https://t.co/mBH9cJA82P

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

A6.
🙈 Not working together with sales and customer service.
➡️ These people have direct contact with customers and can provide valuable insights
🙈 Seeing only company goals instead of customer focus.
➡️ Listen to the customer and see it from their point of view.#ContentChat

— Christian Lipp 🌱 (@SEMgalore) September 20, 2021

Ensure that all teams appropriately prioritize all personas (not just those with a high commission).

A6c Getting out of a content rut: Sales teams especially often prioritize their high-commission personas at the expense of others; fight for your other personas and their needs too #ContentChat https://t.co/3vZ5u1BuGU

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

Adopt technology that can aggregate your disparate data sources.

A6: One of the biggest struggles I see with journey mapping is piecing together the full journey across disparate technology platforms. But there are a number of platforms like @integrate (a former client) that can help with that. #ContentChat https://t.co/VXQ4As7adw

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

Q7: What is the most interesting or unexpected outcome from a customer journey mapping project?

Through customer journey mapping, one of Jenny’s clients was able to cut their content creation in half! Also, another team was able to abandon personas that were no longer relevant (thus streamlining their resources).

@JennyLMagic what is the most interesting or unexpected outcome of one of your journey mapping projects that you can share? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) September 20, 2021

I had a higher ed client cut their content creation process in half with some cross-functional collaboration. Channel specialists were all independently considering audience needs, spending a LOT of time on each round of creative. Wonder Twins, activate! #ContentChat https://t.co/Qf2Ycuol0d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

I also had a B2B tech team abandon some personas that weren’t a fit but they’d been chasing for years. The journey just didn’t align, and those resources are much better spent on other audiences #ContentChat https://t.co/Qf2Ycuol0d

— Jenny Magic (@JennyLMagic) September 20, 2021

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