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Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience - Adam Richardson. Following on the first article on defining customer experience, this second installment looks at the first essential step of improving the experience you deliver, which is mapping out your customer journey.

Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience - Adam Richardson

A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination. The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated — but necessary — such a map becomes. Sometimes customer journey maps are “cradle to grave,” looking at the entire arc of engagement. At other times, journey maps are used to look at very specific customer-company interactions.

By way of example, let’s look at a customer journey that doesn’t work well: home theater. “For HD and Blue Ray DVD HDMI audio I do not understand if any post processing is done on the 5.1 Lossless PCM channels from these players. The consumer decision journey - McKinsey Quarterly - Marketing & Sales - Strategy. If marketing has one goal, it’s to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions. That’s why consumer electronics companies make sure not only that customers see their televisions in stores but also that those televisions display vivid high-definition pictures.

It’s why, a decade ago, began offering targeted product recommendations to consumers already logged in and ready to buy. And it explains P&G’s decision, long ago, to produce radio and then TV programs to reach the audiences most likely to buy its products—hence, the term “soap opera.” Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence.

Interactive Exhibit 1. Aligning with the Consumer Journey. Download the PDF of this Idea in Practice.

Aligning with the Consumer Journey

In my December 2010 article "Branding in the Digital Age," I discussed how consumers today connect with brands in fundamentally new ways, often through media channels that are beyond manufacturers' and retailers' control. Traditional marketing strategies fall short in this new world. Marketers need to drop the funnel metaphor to describe consumer touch points and instead study the evolving and increasingly digital consumer decision journey (CDJ). The CDJ illustrates how consumers add and subtract brands from a group under consideration during an extended evaluation phase. And purchase is no longer the end of the relationship. The article sparked a lot of discussion with HBR readers, who were eager to apply the CDJ approach to their organizations.

Where do we start? The article discussed how a consumer electronics company used the approach to change its marketing planning process and successfully launch a new product line. Hbrg-main/resources/pdfs/extras/aligning-with-the-consumer-decision-journey.pdf.