As marketers, there’s a lot we need to know about content performance.
Understanding which content leads to conversions on your website, which assets are frequently used by the sales team, or which content themes earn the most engagement from your target accounts is likely a part of your regular routine for gathering performance data. You probably want to increase marketing-qualified leads, improve conversion rates, and drive more engagement. And these are relatively standard goals for many B2B marketers for pretty much every channel we manage.
This quarter at Kapost, we’ve expanded our focus beyond typical performance metrics in order to gain more clarity on what it is we actually want to achieve—a better customer experience.
A successful, impactful customer experience that results in a lead created, sale closed, or account retained has a lot more touch points than you might realize. At least, that’s what we discovered when we committed many hours of work and one massive office wall to creating a customer journey map. The customer journeys we discovered were influenced by content in more ways than we realized from relying on performance metrics alone.
Content is consumed throughout the customer journey, and an understanding of how and where customers need personalized content is vital to making meaningful improvements to the customer experience.
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Mapping the customer journey is an opportunity to take stock of all your customer touch points and evaluate your organization’s understanding of how a high-quality customer relationship is developed.
Taking a comprehensive look at the experiences of real customers helped us understand the behaviors of a buying group, from first contact to successful customer advocate, and understand where content was influential.
Here’s how you can create a customer journey map to document and communicate about the customer experiences in your organization.
Step 1: Scope the Project
First, establish the scope of what you’ll map. Start with a list of the customer touch points you know are the most common, including your marketing channels and customer-facing teams.
Where does your organization track engagement with these touch points? Is the data accurate and up-to-date? Do you have access to this data, or do you need support from analytics or business operations teams?
These considerations will likely dictate what you can incorporate into your journey map.
Step 2: Identify Accounts and Personas
Next, select the customers whose experiences you’ll dive into. Consider accounts that represent a variety of characteristics and a variety of outcomes.
For example, our team at Kapost chose a mix of newly closed accounts, longtime customers, deals we ultimately did not win, and customers that are active promoters of our product.
Once your accounts are identified, select key personas within each account to analyze. This could include the buying group that engaged with sales or additional personas that demonstrate engagement but do not talk directly with the sales team. Can you tell who makes up the primary buying group? Can you tell who has input on the selection?
Step 3: Plot out the Details
Now that you know who and what you’re researching, it’s time to decide how you’ll document the journeys you discover. Our team at Kapost developed digital dossiers to describe account interactions in detail, as well as a visual board to represent interactions during each buying stage from awareness to advocacy.
From here, you’re ready to dive into the details.
This takes a lot of patience but also becomes easier as you transform into detective mode, connecting the dots between events attended, slide decks presented, emails clicked, and content consumed.
Take note of key moments in the buying journey: Can you tell what factors contributed to your customer’s decision to choose your product? Or choose something else? Or take no action at all? Which personas made the purchase decision? Did your organization supply content to build trust and influence with those specific customers?
Step 4: Evaluate and Compare Data
After you’ve evaluated a handful of accounts, compare the journeys. Are any patterns emerging? Are there distinct experiences for different customers, or is there one common journey?
Map your remaining accounts and consider if they fit into any of the patterns you’re starting to see. For our team, four distinct journeys emerged after evaluating 15 accounts.
Step 5: Develop an Action Plan
Now it’s time to translate your insights into actions. Do you have a better understanding of what customers go through to learn about your product and why they do or don’t choose your offering? Is your organization’s message consistent throughout the journey? Are there opportunities to leverage personalized content more effectively for the customer’s persona, buying stage, or specific need? What role does content play in long-term, successful customer relationships?
Consider how you’d like to present your findings. Who would benefit most from a better understanding of the customer journey? Are you ready to present recommendations? What input can you gather from sales, customer success, or marketing functions that would help your organization shape a better customer experience?
A great customer experience is a competitive advantage. A compelling journey is made of consistent and cohesive messages and delivers unique insights that are truly valuable to your customers.
Once your journey map is complete, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of where your messages can have a greater impact, and you’ll spark new ideas to improve the customer journey at every touchpoint.