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8 Customer Journey Mapping Pitfalls To Avoid

by Simon Spyer on Jun 13, 2014 8:16:00 AM

Our Practial Tips To Nailing Customer Journey Mapping

8 Customer Journey Mapping Pitfalls To Avoid

Customer journey mapping has become an essential exercise for marketers to undertake.

With a multitude of customer touchpoints and their disparate ownership, a customer journey map can help to clarify the opportunities and risks in your CRM process and your ability to meet your marketing objectives.

However, too often this mapping can either become an academic exercise or difficult to get agreement on. Here's how to avoid some of the common pitfalls and focus on delivering remarkable customer experience.


Pitfall 1 - Not Enough Detail

It's easy to build a one dimensional map but something that is very simplistic is unlikely to help you to optimise your marketing performance.

Consider whether you should split your customer journey by customer segment or product area. Different segments are likely to have very different journeys and levels of engagement.


Pitfall 2 - Too Much Detail

It'a balancing act. If you try to go into  too much detail you could spend forever tring to piece the journey together and getting internal agreement.

Be pragmatic. Focus on what you are trying to achieve - how you will use your customer journey map - and build it so that it's fit for purpose.

And once you have something that is workable you can start to iterate as you test and learn.


Pitfall 3 - Only Focusing On Part Of The Journey

It can be tempting to only focus on a specific part of the customer journey; for example, the path from prospect to conversion or from initial conversion to multiple product holding.

This is risky.

The aim of mapping the customer journey should be to identify and change points where customer experience is weakest. It is common to split the journey into acquisition and retention to fit with organisational silos but this isn't how customers experience your brand.

The journey is a continuum and it's a mistake not to think about all of the touchpoints and the impact that they have on subsequent experience. It would be simplistic to think that how you were acquired and converted won't have an influence on future behaviour, value and therefore the experience that a brand should be delivering.

By joining up the whole customer journey you are being customer-centric and will start to equip yourself with a tool that will help you to maximise the effectiveness of all your marketing.


Pitfall 4 - Being Spontaneous & Subjective

Getting a team together with a whiteboad can be a valuable part of the process. But be careful not to base your work on very rapid decisions or supposition.

Be data-led.

This doesn't have to mean huge amount of analysis. It can mean leveraging the data and insight that already exists within your business. These might not give you a holistic view of the whole journey but they will give you detail on what is happening at specific touchpoints.

You will see the value that a Sankey diagram like the one below can quickly add, either to the whole journey or to a specific part of the journey that you are struggling to understand.

Sankey diagrams help customer journey mapping


Pitfall 5 - It's Just A Map

As you move through the mapping process, don't be content to just create a map.

At each stage, think about your:

  • Objectives. What outcome do you want?
  • Desired response. What action do you want the customer to take?
  • Blockers. What could get in the way and how do you mitigate the risk? 

This will give you a much more practical deliverable and something that you can start to build an action plan and subsequently a business case around.


Pitfall 6 - Being Exclusive

All marketing should be considered in your mapping. Online, offline, direct and third party.

Your customers will touch your brand through multiple channels and your map must reflect this.


Pitfall 7 - Only Considering Marketing Touchpoints

Your customers won't distinguish between marketing communications (campaigns, events and triggers), operational communications (statements, invoices) and service delivery.

Everyone is in the marketing department now given the explosion of customer touchpoints and it is critical that you consider the entirety of customer experience otherwise you run the risk of your great marketing being compromised by a different message or experience being delivered elsewhere.


Pitfall 8 - So What?

Avoid completing something that is just an interesting academic exercise.

Focus on your marketing objectives and what you want to do differently and then start your customer journey mapping. Not vice versa. 

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This post was written by Simon Spyer

Co-founder & Insight Partner at Conduit, professional insight-monger, dad, lover of all sport and Spurs.

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