Marketers and fortune tellers have a lot in common. Stick with us for a second here. They both take bits of information about customers—who they are, what products they like, what content they’re consuming—to guide them on a journey looking into their own future.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but when marketers are in the lifecycle mapping process, there is an element of prediction based on a logical progression through events. Human nature is ever-changing, but it’s not so spontaneous that marketers can’t plan out lifecycle stages well in advance.
Predictions are not always fulfilled though. Sometimes, the customer makes a decision that goes against the prescribed lifecycle.
The Map vs. the Journey
The difference between the customer lifecycle map and the customer journey lies in the perspective. Customer lifecycle maps are set by marketing and sales teams to show the ideal path for customers to interact with the brand.
The customer journey, on the other hand, comes from the customer’s actions and interactions with the brand. Put another way, it’s how your brand and products fit into the customer’s life.
Understanding this important shift in perspective allows you to find the common ground to build the ideal customer experience.
“But how?!” you scream into the void.
Charting the Path to Personalization
By now, you are likely familiar with the Core 4 pillars of personalization:
- User Segmentation
- Lifecycle Mapping
- Workflow Building
- Dynamic Content
In September, we got you started on the path to personalization with the Personalization Playbook on User Segmentation. We also gave you a handy tool to test your personalization preparedness with our Personalization Maturity Model.
Now, we’re excited to take the next step with an in-depth look at the next pillar: Lifecycle Mapping.
Introducing Our Lifecycle Mapping Personalization Playbook
In our Personalization Playbook on Lifecycle Mapping, we set the stage by defining what exactly lifecycle mapping is and how you should begin approaching your lifecycle marketing strategies. From there, we highlight the four key steps you need to take to create the ideal customer journey for your brand.
Download the full playbook here, and keep reading for a sneak preview of what’s in store!
The Four Steps to Creating a Customer Journey
While marketers can certainly rely on tried-and-true customer research methods like personas or Jobs-to-Be-Done to create their customer map, another method you can use adapts Donald Miller’s framework from his best-selling book, Building a StoryBrand.
The framework contains four steps, which include:
- Define the character
- Search for the conflict
- Position your brand as the “guide with a plan”
- Call the customer to action
To make it easy for you to follow along, we’ll be using the persona of a 30-year-old female customer considering the purchase of a fitness subscription service from Fiit, an Iterable customer. Let’s call her Alli.
Step 1: Define the Customer
To start the process of building a customer journey map, determine who it is that you’re trying to reach.
While it’s tempting to focus on user segments like gender, lifecycle stage or the last time they visited your website, now is the time to build out an individual customer profile, using exercises like persona building or our four steps to building your brand’s perfect audience to guide you through the process.
Once you’ve determined who that individual customer is, then you can use it to build a story around their current wants and desires, as it relates to your brand’s products or services.
So in the case of Alli, our 30-year-old female customer, she has no issue with paying for a boutique gym membership, as she likes the variety of group workouts they offer. However, she’s been missing the routine of going to the gym and working out with others since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
What we described above is what author Donald Miller refers to as a story gap, which is an unanswered question or desire that a brand can fulfill for the individual customer. He states that story gaps are important because:
“When we don’t open a story gap in our customers’ minds, they have no motivation to engage us because there is no question that demands resolution. Defining something our customer wants and featuring it in [your brand’s] marketing materials will open a gap.”
Of course, what your individual customer desires may be different from our example, but regardless of the different wants and needs of your customers, the goal is to shrink the story gap for a more defined path forward.
This is just a sneak peek of what’s in the full playbook. Download to learn the other 3 steps you need to take to integrate the customer journey with your brand’s lifecycle map and see how Iterable customers have used these tactics to adapt to changing times.
Lifecycle Mapping Brought to Life
A customer’s journey does not always run the gamut from user sign up all the way through the end of their time with your brand. Countless mini journeys occur throughout a customer’s lifetime of interactions with your products and marketing.
It’s not as simple as moving from discovery and awareness to purchase. Sometimes users will start with the purchase! Customers find different ways to enter your lifecycle at various stages, so it’s important to have a strategy and mini journey set up for every possibility.
In this quick video, Iterable solutions consultant Katie Barends illustrates how to frame your thinking when mapping your lifecycle journey to account for these mini journeys and different entry points. Katie walks you through a framework to use when identifying these entry points and she demonstrates how to put this into action today with Iterable.
Lifecycle mapping is integral to building long-term relationships with customers. By accounting for the various ways in which customers can interact with your brand, you are establishing a more personalized experience that caters to their needs, wants and preferences.
Download the full playbook to learn how to build a customer journey that engages and retains your audience for life.