What Insights Should Your CX Journey Map Convey?

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CX Journey maps come in a variety of flavors, depending on the business problems you are solving for.  Some high level examples simply seek to define customer lifecycle and outline a few new campaigns. Others are more complex and are meant to be a template for marketing action.  In my experience with large health payers, hospital systems, automakers, banks and other industries, the most impactful CX maps provide the following “layers” of guidance, akin to a three-layer wedding cake:

1. Marketing Imperatives and Customer Needs Layer

Each stage of the marketing funnel / customer lifecycle requires a different approach meet different customer needs and deliver better results. On the business side, the marketing team has certain goals and KPIs they need to achieve, while customers/prospects have their own needs, motivations and differences that must be recognized and addressed. For example, in the consideration or shopping phases for medical services, patients may be motivated by new facilities, success rates in specific clinical areas, or proximity. These variables, which can be discerned through research or an effective data strategy, are important inputs can be impact connected experience design.

2. Experience Narrative / Process Layer

Now that we have our marching orders for the various marketing stages, informed by customer insights, we can focus on a detailed description of the customer journey. We will tackle the specifics another chapter, for now we can simply describe this as the set of channels, messages, communication cadences, inbound and outbound interactions and first, second and third party data collection. Think of this as drawing a technical diagram of the high level journey map described in the paragraph above to tell a more actionable story. This map charts the experience of the consumer as they gain awareness and eventually make a first purchase, to their experience as a customer, through to service, up sell, retention and loyalty. This can be a complex exercise, requiring technology, marketing, data, analytics, channel execution and measurement expertise. While this may sound daunting, the mapping exercise very effective and even fun when done in a collaborative fashion with your wider team of subject matter experts. Some maps feature high level vignettes with lots of graphics to convey the new segment treatments.  Others get more precise icons and flows depicting integration and channels .

3. Technical / Data Layer

Even the prettiest journey map won’t hold up without a solid grounding in the technology and data your have today or are planning to onboard in the near future. Here we define the basic building blocks of the customer profile, data from lead sources, digital “event stream” to gauge preferences, 2nd and 3rd party sources to augment the profile, 1st party data captured during the course of sales, service or digital interactions, and other sources that will help us to continually tailor our interactions with individuals. On the technology side, existing platforms should be specified and technology gaps should be addressed. For example, if audience management is an important element of the journey, the DMP and the proper orchestration and execution platforms should be flagged.


Each of these domains are critical to inputs into marketing strategy and eventual execution. The Marketing & Needs “layer” outlines the “marching orders” to the marketing team for a target segment at each funnel stage.  The Narrative layer provides the new omni-channel and integrated communication stream – or the specific ways we will ‘treat” this customer over time. Finally the Technical & Data layer provides the data insights and technology dependencies that will make these experiences real.