How I Started Customer Journey Mapping

map4In a previous post, I outlined 10 steps which work well for many CJM applications across different departments and within various industries.

I am eager to start unpacking those 10 steps in greater detail but first, I think it might help to share a personal story about one of my first experiences working with CJM.

A bullet point list of steps without the context of a real-life example can appear clinical, cold, and confusing. So let me back up and tell you about a memorable, early experience that I had with CJM. Hopefully this will help give a little life to the principles we’ve been talking about.

My first significant experience with Customer Journey Mapping was before I was even aware of the term. About 20 years ago, I was a pastor of a small church that wanted to grow and expand its impact in the community.

Being the analytical person that I am, I wanted to start by identifying the greatest areas of opportunity so we could prioritize and focus our efforts only on the things that would make a real difference.

Here’s a look into our thought process at that time. First, we considered whether the main obstacle to our growth was a lack of awareness in the community. Do enough people even know that our church is here? Maybe we should advertise, participate in more community activities, update our sign at the road, or build a better website.

But then I remembered something – we had visitors almost every week but most of them would only visit once or twice. It dawned on us that if we were to focus solely on increasing awareness without addressing the problem of our inability to turn a visitor into an attender, all our efforts to increase awareness would be in vain.

So we started to analyze what the visitor experience was like. It didn’t take long to see opportunities for vast improvement. Most of our church members had been there for generations. They lost their “fresh eyes” on what it was like to step into our church the first time.

Don’t get me wrong. They were kind and gracious people but they hadn’t put themselves in the shoes of a visitor and when we started to focus on that problem of turning visitors into attenders, we made a list of specific things we could improve immediately. Here are a few of the improvements made within weeks of starting our mission to increase our impact:

We soon saw improvement with our ability to turn visitors into attenders so we moved to the next area that could help us reach our goal of increasing our impact in the community. Now we were ready to increase awareness of our church. Here are some of the steps we took to help people find out that we existed:

I wish I could say that I helped this church continue to move from one area of opportunity to another until we accomplished our goal of expanding our impact on the community but analytical and strategic marketing skills aren’t necessarily core qualifications of a gifted pastor. It was clear that I was cut out for business and not called to lead a church.

It feels like a lifetime has passed since I was a pastor. Since then, I started a successful business that I ran for 12 years, entered the publishing industry, transitioned to the software industry, and have since returned to the publishing industry to lead a talented marketing team in an exciting and unique division – Bible Marketing for the world’s largest Bible Publisher and the world’s most read modern English Bible translation – the New International Version.

It’s interesting to reflect on the challenges I faced each time I interviewed for a different role or attempted to transition to a different industry. When I started in the publishing industry, my success as an entrepreneur in a B2C environment was minimized because this position would be B2B sales. Since I hadn’t done it before, I wasn’t sure how easily I could adapt.

But those strategic processes I used as a pastor had worked very well in the business I owned and I suspected that they would work in B2B sales in the publishing industry. They did and I was soon promoted to lead a group of 4 teams within the company.

By this time, I knew the official name for this method, had read up on CJM, and was becoming expert at applying it in a variety of applications. When I interviewed for my next position in the software industry, again my experiences were questioned because I hadn’t worked in the software industry before.

But I had confidence in CJM and knew it would work in the software industry as well as it had in the last 3 industries I had worked. Once again, CJM proved effective with the marketing group I led. We exceeded all our goals for YoY growth and started many new profitable lines of business.

CJM works. It is unparalleled in its ability to quickly, almost immediately, bring growth to the company and more enjoyable experiences for the customer. A true win-win for everyone. That is why I am writing these articles – I want to encourage you to consider how CJM can help you.

Now that you’ve heard my story, let’s go back to the 10 steps from the last article. Even though I didn’t know about them then, to some degree we applied each of them in that church.

I hope this personal story helps give some life to the CJM process.

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