Journey Discovery: Why Description Trumps Prescription

Originally Published in Forbes

Written by Mark Smith


There isn’t much disagreement when it comes to the importance of mapping customer journeys. With more than four-fifths of companies reporting that they have undertaken some sort of mapping exercise, the practice is clearly an established element in the marketing playbook.

That being said, nearly half of these companies aren’t seeing a return on the time they invest in creating journey maps. With a journey map meant to serve as a jumping-off point for marketing and orchestration activities, missteps can have a domino effect, leading to flawed touch points across the entire customer experience.

The problems we often see when it comes to making the leap from journey mapping to journey orchestration arise from the fact that companies don’t truly map the customer journey. Instead, they design an optimal customer path, envisioning a frictionless journey that will smoothly shepherd customers along to conversion, sale or whatever goal the company has set as the optimal conclusion to a particular journey path.

Envisioning an optimal customer journey in this way isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows companies to think through the steps a typical customer might take and begin connecting the dots between those steps. In fact, this exercise may even improve outcomes and enhance the buying experience.


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