After the Pandemic, Customer Journey Maps Are More Important Than Ever

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At IWCO Direct, our number one priority in building successful omnichannel marketing campaigns is to understand our clients’ business. Not just what our clients’ needs might be from a brand and corporate standpoint, but truly, what are the needs of their buyers. We have a rigorous approach to our campaign planning that involves understanding the goals, objectives, and KPIs of our clients’ businesses. We believe it is critical to dive into historical data, evaluate segmentation, integrate market insights, and understand the needs of our clients’ target audiences (the buyer), to provide solutions based on their needs.

Customer Journey Maps Provide Insight into How Customer Behavior is Changing

One key step in that process is to look at your customers’ life cycle, and one tool that will provide greater visibility is the development of a customer journey map. So often, marketers assume they know their customers’ needs, but even the savviest of brands can benefit from a periodic review of their brands’ personas and taking the time to map out what these customers experience at each touchpoint. Working with your team to evaluate your historical customer journey maps may be more important than ever. Over the last year, the pandemic has had an impact on nearly every industry and has created behavioral shifts that have influenced how customers are interacting with technology, driving the evolution of new buying habits. The fact is your buyer’s needs may have changed.

Customer journey maps provide visibility to evaluate customer experience through the numerous channels customers use to interact with your brand. They can also serve as a guide to focus in on specific buyer experiences, such as how customers engage with your brand content, your website experience, or even your customer service channels. Often times, taking a step back to truly understand how your customers’ needs may have shifted can bring about an “ah-ha” moment for the entire team.

Customer Journey Maps are Essential to Strategic Planning

The creation of a customer journey map should be one of your first steps in creating your omnichannel campaign strategy. With so many options at hand, it is even more critical to understand your customers’ needs, and to be able to serve them with the message they want, at the right time, and via the right channel, be that direct mail, digital, traditional media, or simply within your website.

A customer journey map will document the steps your customer goes through as they engage with your brand. It is essential to understand what their needs are at every stage. Your first step may be to revisit your personas. This will help your team focus in on the needs of each persona. Next, you want to map out the buyer experience and the touchpoints the buyer engages with through the buying process. It is sometimes difficult to step back from what your corporate goals are, and to focus on the simple question of “what is important to my buyer?” It is important to identify the tasks the buyer needs to complete, the questions they may have, the challenges and pain points that might arise throughout this process, and—most importantly—how they feel.

Customer Journey Maps Help You Meet the Needs of Your Buyers

Once you identify the problems, you can pivot and adjust your overall strategy to meet the needs of your buyers. It is also important to evaluate the multiple messages the buyer receives across the various touch points. Assess if your messaging is appropriate, consistent, and motivating to keep that buyer engaged. Are you leveraging the right channels, with the right frequency, and serving up the information the buyer needs to take that next step in their buying process? It is also important to align your customer journey with your sales process for a holistic view.

Customer journey maps can be a powerful tool in understanding customer insights; they should be a living, evolving document. Too often, companies invest the time to develop these tools and set them aside, not keeping the buyers’ needs as the central focus in strategic planning.

Contact me to learn more about how IWCO Direct uses customer insights and tools like customer journey maps to measurably improve the ROI of your marketing programs.

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