7 Principles of Customer Journey Mapping for Product Marketing

Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) can be very different for every application. Each industry, company within that industry, department within that company, and even each individual project within that department could have a very different looking journey map.

That’s why I don’t recommend trying to retrofit someone else’s CJM template to your unique situation.

One of the most searched for phrases related to CJM is “Customer Journey Mapping Templates” but many who see the results of that search are deterred from trying CJM because the journey maps that show up in Google search results vary widely in format and they appear extremely complicated and irrelevant to their needs.

In this article, I would like to focus specifically on one application of CJM – Product Marketing. The 7 Fundamental Principles I’m about to share do not necessarily apply to other applications like Brand Management, Customer Lifecycle Management, Employee Engagement, Retail, or eCommerce applications but for Product Marketing campaigns in particular, these principles are fundamental to a successful CJM experience.

1. Sales is the Goal – This sounds like common sense but it is still worth stating. This is the most fundamental principle because even if we have a seamless customer journey mapped out flawlessly with engaging, native content that is highly shareable, if it doesn’t eventually lead to a sale, it will be in vain.

2. Engagement is the Means – Since customers are quick to dismiss anything that looks like an advertisement, we must find ways to have significant engagements with our target customer. That is the means by which we will secure the sale. Every successful engagement is a jab that will lead to the right hook.

3. Research is the Starting Point – It is far easier and more effective to join existing conversations than to try to start a new one. So the third foundational principle of CJM for Product Marketing is to research what conversations your target audience is already engaging with online. Don’t speculate – conduct a little research. Do some social listening. There are a lot of great tools that are cheap (or free) and are very easy to use. I discuss those in another article.

4. Native, Sharable Content is the Instrument – Once you know what your target audience is already talking about and engaging with, now it is time to build native, sharable content. Your research will have identified not only what your customers are talking about but where they are having those conversations. Use those platforms to intersect those conversations with native, sharable content.

5. Targeted Ads are the Fuel – It’s going to cost you a little money (sometimes very little – even as low as $5 or $50) but you’re going to need to pay to run some targeted ads so that those who are in the sweet spot for your product or service are able to see the content you’ve created.

6. Specific, Measurable, & Monitored Goals are the Guide – Before you run your ads, set specific, measurable goals for engagement. Your first CJM experiment will require a little more speculation about what success should look like but when you have finished your first Product Marketing campaign, you’ll know a lot more about what specific goals are achievable. Monitor the data in real time so you can know if you are hitting your specific goals. Don’t wait till the campaign is over. Monitor it often, sometimes daily or even hourly, to make sure you know how your campaign is performing.

7. Agility is the Key – the last foundational principle of CJM for Product Marketing is to be agile. Since you have a specific, measurable goal for your native content marketing assets and you are monitoring the results in real time, adapt as necessary to hit your goals. If a content marketing asset is underperforming, split test it with a different design, illustration, or copy. Test a different platform. Try putting more money behind the content. Try modifying the audience you are targeting.

Agility is certainly the key to a successful CJM Product Marketing campaign. Without it, the rest of these fundamental principles could all be in vain. The odds of nailing something perfectly the first time are very small but you can hit and exceed your goals if you are agile.

I hope these articles are helping build confidence in your ability to apply CJM to your unique situation. Please leave a comment to let me know if there is a particular aspect of CJM you would like me to cover next.

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