What Is Buyer Journey Mapping?

costumer shopping online

In general, buyer journey mapping is a way to visualize and analyze a customer’s potential interactions and decision points. It’s done using an analytics tool that gathers customer data as they travel across channels, touchpoints, and systems to achieve a business goal.

The goals can vary. The customer might buy something, sign up for a newsletter, join a rewards program, or make a referral. It simply refers to whatever positive or negative action a customer or prospect takes. 

This technique is used by marketing and sales teams to create more accurate strategies and optimize the buyer’s journey. 

Buyer journey mapping shows what customers do, think, and feel along the way to an intended business goal. It also generates granular economic data across your funnels. These insights help build more effective campaigns, drive customer experience strategy, and inform real-time decision-making. 

There’s a B2C approach to buyer journey mapping, but also mapping for B2B companies. In contrast to the above-explained map, the B2B buyer journey map will likely show many different paths. It’s usually a complicated decision-making process when it comes to B2B. It’s common to have multiple stakeholders involved, and their roles vary depending on who they are. 

What Does Buyer Journey Mapping Show You?

Each journey toward a goal has several interaction points, steps, and decisions.

Each of these points can either lead the customer toward success or fail for a variety of reasons. It’s nearly impossible to understand how every factor in the buying process contributes to success or failure unless you have a way to map things out.

Journey mapping works by analyzing individual business goals and objectives. But this is always done within the context of optimizing the entire journey.

The journey can be physical, digital, or both depending on the business. It might happen over days or within a few minutes. And at any step, the customer can experience changes in friction, motivation, brand views, and interest levels. It’s usually challenging to understand buyer journeys since they tend to be frenetic, hard to trace, and difficult to attribute.

Buyer journey mapping converts this into a user-friendly visualization representing how customers respond to your brand as they travel through your revenue funnel. It should pinpoint trouble spots, provide information on what went wrong, and show you what’s working.

You gain clear insights on:

  • Customer motivations
  • Potential opportunities
  • Marketing efficiency
  • Customer levers
  • Optimal pathways
  • Loss generators

The core strength is the ability to detect customer attitudes, motivation, and emotional state precisely. It’s far more accurate than relying on insights gathered from market surveys or buying collated reports.

Visualize Insights Across the Buying Journey

The key to customer journey mapping is that it analyzes the customer over a much broader landscape than your website alone.

A visual map is always helpful, but the actual impact comes from generating deep, predictive intelligence at every customer touchpoint.

You need to gather data from all the systems, channels, and platforms a customer visits from their first touchpoint in an episode to the last. This requires tools capable of mapping, tracking, monitoring, organizing, and analyzing data.

Related: Rapid Chat: The Buyers Journey is Changing

Customer Journey Analytics Tools

You can go low-tech using maps, templates, and diagrams or choose a cutting-edge tool. Most people gravitate towards free resources, so let’s start there.

DIY Journey Mapping

DIY customer journey mapping is relatively straightforward. Most templates incorporate business goals, personas, customer needs, and touchpoints. This process is more effective if you brainstorm it out before getting started.

  1. What buying goal or objective is being mapped? Prioritize goals relevant to KPIs.
  2. Identify the customer personas. Since you don’t have a tool to generate customer insights, gather all the information the organization has.
  3. Map out the typical journey, pinpointing every possible interaction or decision point.
  4. Think of the customer’s objectives, needs, and wants in this journey.
  5. Consider their current and desired mental, psychological, and emotional states.

Now map this out across your funnel stages. Journey maps are flexible tools. You can design one to fit any marketing or sales intention taking a linear or psychological approach.

Here are a few you can try:

  • Standard Timeline: A simple buyer’s journey outlines the linear customer journey stages – awareness, consideration, buying, and post-sale service/loyalty marketing. It should incorporate all assets and interaction points along the way.
  • Detailed Chart: You can make a detailed chart in place of a timeline. This is best when there are multiple stakeholders and assets involved.
  • Current State or Emotional Map: This looks at your customer’s present activities, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and expectations when engaging with your business. It focuses on the customer’s emotional experience and should help resolve critical pain points.
  • Day in the Life: This looks at how your business fits into the customer’s daily life. Where in their day are they interacting with you, and why? This is great for using with jobs-to-be-done theories and spotting opportunities.
  • Future state: This predicts your customer’s future activities, thoughts, expectations, and state when interacting with the business. It attempts to gauge how your offer fits their needs and is best for planning campaigns.
  • Blueprint: this lays out the organizational areas involved with the customer. It includes any person, system, process, or policy interfacing with the customer. It should be used in addition to another timeline or state-based map.

Related: How is Buyer Behavior Changing In Today’s Market?

Using a Smart Buyer Journey Analysis Tool

DIY customer journey mapping relies on a mix of knowledge, experience, and guesswork. If you want to develop an accurate map, you need a smart application capable of tracking customers and delivering at least three things.

Journey analysis tools should be intelligent enough to diagnose journey issues, produce accurate conversion intelligence, and optimize revenue generation.

  1. To begin with, a buyer analysis tool should deliver precise funnel conversion rates at every stage, touchpoint, and decision, giving granular and big-picture statistics.
  2. Your buyer journey tool should diagnose issues then recommend precise actions for moving things along. Lead generation isn’t always smooth, easy, and successful. Leads usually get stuck or drop off for various reasons. This situation can happen at any point in the journey. Gartner recommends minimizing buyer friction by increasing situational awareness and shifting to a more customer-driven approach. The tool needs to be able to aggregate the data without the end-user taking any action. No Excel exports or dozens of pivot tables are required. This approach is outdated, and only about 2% of marketing leaders can execute with it or even have the time to perform in this manner.
  3. Finally, an intelligent tool should determine the optimal buyer’s journey for maximum revenue and faster conversions.

An intelligent analysis provider saves hours, weeks, or months of analysis and strategy work.

What’s Your Ideal Journey Analytics Tool?

So, are maps, templates, and diagrams good enough? It might be easy to get started, but here’s what you can’t do:

  • Automate the journey
  • Integrate data intelligence
  • Detect hidden funnel blind spots
  • Find opportunities across the sales process
  • Understand engagement interactions
  • Understand journey timelines
  • Optimize your personal time

Free buyer map templates and resources usually end up quite costly, especially if your competitor goes for an innovative, robust buyer journey mapping tool.

Customer Journey Analytics Use Cases

Customer journey mapping is all about understanding the customer then optimizing their journeys. The consultants at Bain & Company broke this down into three primary strategic use case categories.

These are:

  • Making structural changes: Making performance diagnostics and determining which journeys to invest in
  • Providing real-time support: Getting a live view of the customer, adjusting service based on feedback, and anticipating needs
  • Improving customer-centricity: Creating better customer experiences and enhancing personalization

Adobe detailed several technical use cases:

  • Get a contextual view of the customer
  • Make data, insights, and intelligence accessible across the organization
  • Collect quality data that can be used with machine learning, AI, and data science
  • Make data visual and interactable 
  • Collate data from different sources
  • Freely manipulate your data

Offerings like Adobe are enterprise-focused, but other leaders in the market help those in the mid-and emerging mid-market to become more competitive.

Specific journey analytic areas vary with each business, depending on what they sell, how they sell it, and who the customer is. But they usually fall within these categories.

Customer journey maps generated from data management tools are interactive, dynamic, multipurpose assets. They’re packed with usable information, making them invaluable for brand building, marketing, customer engagement, and sales.

What will this look like for you? You can diagnose issues, optimize for efficiency, create better customer experiences, and accelerate revenue-generating conversions.

Visualize Your Customer Journeys Today

Integrating buyer journey mapping and analytics can boost sales conversions and raise customer satisfaction levels. The easiest way to do this is by implementing a tool to process the data already being generated within your current tech stack. This used to be a nearly impossible task until the latest advances in AI and machine learning.

Sales and marketing teams can quickly implement customer analytics by using an intelligent, data-processing tool like Vertify’s RevOptics.

RevOptics is an intelligent modern BI platform that leverages data by freeing it from systems, cleaning it, and analyzing it. If you want to analyze your customer data and optimize the buying journey, a tool like Vertify is the easiest way to get it done.

Request a demo today and assess it for yourself.

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About Matt Klepac

CEO & CoFounder at Vertify