07 April 2020

Eating elephants. Insights from large journey mapping projects.

by Kate Johnstone

Over the years we have engaged in an number of journey mapping projects with our clients. Usually this is in the context of developing frameworks for B2B or B2B2C communication. These exercises can be both painful and hugely rewarding for a business. They create visibility for marketing teams, reveal gaps in the customer experience, improve efficiency and measureability and nuture empathy with your customer. But they are not always an easy process, they take time, and require the collaboration of key stakeholders across the business.

From experience, journey mapping is best tackled one bite at a time. Here are a few tips from what we’ve learnt about getting the best out of journey mapping:

1. Get your SMEs at the table (early)

The experts within your business are your greatest asset when it comes to journey mapping. We have found that these Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) should be engaged early in the project, so they feel responsibility and ownership of the outcome. This makes them more likely to champion the recommendations. They understand the pain-points, and will be more than willing to contribute these to the exercise.

2. Don’t be afraid if the process reveals more problems than solutions

Embrace the pain-points. This is an opportunity to create the best experience for your customer. It’s not a performance review. We’ve found some marketeers can be reluctant to reveal the inefficiencies, as it might reflect on their job, but this mentality won’t help the process. Documenting the gaps and opportunities creates evidence for change, which will ultimately make everyones job easier.

3. You don’t have to eat the whole elephant at once

One of the outcomes of the journey mapping process is an experience framework. This documents the touch-points and interactions for different scenarios. Depending on the complexity of the journey and the length of time a customer remains engaged with the business, this framework can include lots of marketing and sales collateral that will need to be built. Rather than trying to develop a years worth of marketing collateral at once, which would have budget and time implications, organise the roll-out into snackable chunks. For example begin with ‘sales tools’ then tackle ‘conversion’, then ‘retention’. This way you can create manageable projects that align with your resources.

4. Rapid prototyping will help you eat the elephant

Developing your touch-points in an iterative and agile way will help you maintain momentum on the project. Test the prototypes with the SMEs, BD teams and the customers, accept feedback and get it to market. Once in market there will always be further insight from the customers that will allow to you optimise the toolkit. Some touch-points will resonate with some customers and not others.

The journey mapping process is a valuable design thinking tool. But without the right people, a clear purpose and work breakdown, it can turn into an inedible beast.

Are you embarking on a journey project? We’d love to hear from you. 

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