I’ve posted a couple times about the use of “Customer Journey Mapping” to guide content strategy – or at least to devise a practical plan to decide what content to generate. I first wrote about this in the fall of 2014. Since then, I’ve seen a number of Content Marketing pundits jump on board with this concept. It’s getting to be put up or shut up time.
The premise here is that customers follow fairly regular paths toward discovering your product and buying it. They often get lost along the way, and the challenge for your marketing and sales teams is to help them find their way to your solution. Customer Experience experts describe predictable “Moments of Truth” when prospects need a specific kind of information from you. Each of those Moments represents a need to create and deploy a specific kind of content to help clear away roadblocks to a conversion opportunity.
Thus, by mapping out this “Customer Journey” for your prospects, you also get a compelling plan of attack for filling out your library of essential Content Marketing materials.
I’ve been sharing this idea for more than a year now, and generally getting a warm response. The experts in the Content Marketing field have gravitated toward this idea, and I’ve begun to see various tools and templates being offered to help corporate content strategists implement the concept.
Long story short: I’ve downloaded a number of these tools, hoping to find one that might be helpful to the sorts of people who hire me to write white papers and blog posts. I have been really unimpressed with what I’ve seen. So I made one, and I’d like you to have it.
Here it is. Click the big, ostentatious, red button to download Peter Dorfman’s Customer Journey Mapping Worksheet. A lot of Content Marketing consultants would force you to fill out a lead generation form to get a wicked cool gadget like this. But that’s not how I roll. (I hate gated content. Be honest…don’t you?)
I would, however, appreciate your feedback on it. And I’d love an opportunity to help you put it to work.
The big difference between this tool and the others I’ve seen is that mine is specifically intended to guide content creation and deployment. Because it isn’t enough to have defined Customer Personas and mapped out the stages in the sales cycle. If you’re even following along in this conversation, you probably know there’s more to Journey Mapping than that.
Once you know where the Moments of Truth are for each persona along the Journey, you can generate content that will be useful right then and there. What many Journey Mapping teams forget to ask, however, is how that content is going to reach the customer when he or she needs it. The decision on what content to create has to take into account which of your many Touch Points is in the best position to expose that content to the prospect. So it’s worth spending time up front listing those Touch Points and considering when and how they interact with the customer.
For each Persona, the tool invites you to consider:
- The unique Journey associated with that Persona (usually a different path for each customer type);
- Your company’s Messaging at each stage along that path;
- Which company Touch Points interact with the customer at each stage;
- The customer’s typical state of mind at each stage (which influences the tone of your communications at that point in the Journey);
- The Buying Authority of the person you are likely to be influencing at each point in the Journey;
- The Objections and Roadblocks to a purchase decision, or to your solution, and your optimal responses to each of these obstacles; and
- Stakeholders who must be won over, including those in a position to approve a deal and those in a position to oppose it.
Knowing all of these specifics, you’re in a good position to take an inventory of your marketing content, matching specific pieces to specific Moments of Truth. You also can identify obvious gaps in your arsenal of content, and schedule resources to generate new content to close those gaps. And by considering who the Touch Points are at each stage of the Journey, you can decide how best to format content and who to train on its most effective use.
As I say…I would love to help you implement this Content Strategy approach. If you like what you see here but want some additional guidance, just let me know. If you would like me to work with your team to develop its Content Plan, I’d be glad to discuss that too.
If this method helps you identify content you need to develop and you need help generating it…voila! You’ve stumbled across my ulterior motive for offering this tool. Let’s talk.