What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Content is consumed throughout the customer journey, and an understanding of how and where customers need personalized content is vital to making meaningful improvements to the customer experience.
For example, you can chose a mix of newly closed accounts, longtime customers, deals we ultimately did not win, and customers that are active promoters of our product.
Once your accounts are identified, select key personas within each account to analyze. This could include the buying group that engaged with sales or additional personas that demonstrate engagement but do not talk directly with the sales team. For our team, four distinct journeys emerged after evaluating 15 accounts.
“Is what I’m writing relevant to Wanda?” or “am I focusing on product features I like but that Stanley doesn’t care about?”.
A content map assigns different content types and topics to the stages in the buyer journey. The person who will be using your services is likely not the same person making the final purchasing decision or the person evaluating your product for compliance or compatibility with their current tech stack.
With the Persona Content Map, you’ll be able to visualize the gaps in your marketing content.
The content journey map is divided into the three “stages” of the buyer’s journey leading up to conversion: Problem Awareness, Solution Awareness, and Product Awareness. (There are obviously other phases of your buyers’ journey after conversion, such as onboarding and retention — and you are welcome to add them to your own map if you’d like. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve just included the three pre-conversion stages here.)
Each of the journey sections for the content map is the same, but you’ll find that different personas require
vastly different content messaging, formats, tones, and more along the way. What works for one type of
prospect in the awareness stage may not resonate for another. That’s why incorporating personas into your
content mapping process is absolutely essential.
You can use the Persona Content Map in two ways: to brainstorm completely new content from scratch on a
quarterly basis or to fill in with your current content and identify gaps.
You can choose a job title, a title and a name, or some other identifier. The key is to make each persona clear
and identifiable for anyone looking at your content map.
Marketing Manager Mandy
What does this persona want? (Hint: it’s not your product.) What are the big workplace goals that they want to
achieve either in their job or on behalf of the company? Are these goals short-term or long-term? What is
driving this persona to meet those goals?
Meeting OKRs; advancing in her role at the company. Wants to grow skillset to become a “T-shaped”
marketer so that she can take a more advanced role in marketing strategy and own specific campaigns
What elements of friction are making this persona’s job harder? What internal or external factors are causing
them stress and keeping them from reaching their goals?
Knows video is an essential part of marketing but uncomfortable using it; high-level understanding of
company’s tech product but feels overwhelmed when it comes to interviewing clients for case studies;
high volume of work doesn’t leave time for professional development
What is keeping this persona up at night? If the challenges win out over the goals, what do they think might be
the worst-case scenario?
Not reaching marketing goals, not acquiring skills needed to advance in career, will be stuck doing the
same thing forever
What is keeping this persona from doing something to change the status quo? Why might they think a solution
won’t work or would be too challenging to try?
New tools have a steep learning curve. Will a new tool like VideoJet actually save me time, be worth
the money and help me reach my OKRs? Also worried that other stakeholders won’t see the value and
Communication and Content Preferences
How does your persona prefer to consume content? Do they scroll for hours on social or do they like actionable
bullet points instead? Do they prefer PDF downloads over email attachments? Do they watch videos or listen
to podcasts? How does this persona’s ideal content come across in tone, formality, technical language,
Conversational/informal, appreciates creativity, feels overwhelmed so appreciates content that
empathizes and helps her do her job better. Needs content that is easily digestible and full of
high-value quick wins. Audio helps her multitask while executing on routine assignments.
Who else has a say in how your persona makes purchasing decisions? Who stands to be affected by their
decision? Who has purchasing power and what are the clearances (legal, security, etc.) that are needed before
Director of Marketing and C-suite have purchasing power, sales team at low-funnel conversion points,
development team for tech support/buy-in, customer support team for retention efforts.
Would business owner Bob open this email, click this tweet, download this offer, etc.? Content mapping is delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time. To map content successfully you need to know buyer personas, their lifecycle stages and how close that person is to making a purchase.
- In the awareness stage, a person has realized and expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity.
Your awareness stage content should target the top of the funnel (TOFU). People in this segment are just becoming aware that they have a problem. At this stage, don’t try to beat them over the head with product-focused content. Instead, think of how your content can help people become more informed about the problem in general, and you’ll (hopefully) find that they continue moving down your funnel as they search for solutions.
- In the consideration stage, a person has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity.
Your consideration stage content, in comparison, can more explicitly mention how your product or service could potentially solve a problem. Keep in mind, however, that at this point in the buying cycle, people are still evaluating their options. So while case studies and demo videos are fine, save your more sales-focused content (estimates, free trials, etc.) for the next stage.
- In the decision stage, a person has defined their solution strategy, method, or approach.
At the decision stage of the game, you can really lean into marketing your products or services. If someone has reached this stage, they’ve already identified a problem and a solution, and are now getting ready to pull the proverbial trigger.
By combining buyer personas with lifecycle stages, you can really hone in on specific segments of your audience and tailor content to resonate with each of those segments.
When it comes to purchasing decisions (BOFU conversions, especially for B2B and high-priced items), there are some personas out there who would rather speak to someone on their terms rather than fill out a form for a consultation. Understanding how they are most comfortable when it comes to making decisions can help you understand what points of conversion will be the most relevant and successful for that persona.
In terms of buyer personas, it’s easy to see that a Marketing Director will have different questions, information needs, and interests compared to a CEO. Both of these personas may be searching for your product or service, but they’ll be looking for different topics. By creating content that appeals to each audience, you can be more effective in attracting that specific audience.
One tip I’d suggest for anyone with pretty different personas would be to dedicate an entire section of your site to each audience. That way, when you pull in your audience, all the content is directed toward them. Example
Each brand has its own section of the website, its own blog content, and its own premium content (downloadable offers). It’s really helped us attract and convert visitors at a higher rate because all the content is more relevant to that persona.
In addition to mapping content to the buyer profile and buying stage, we regularly pull topics from the sales process. Then we offer the content in later sales calls. This helps us not only evaluate the relevancy of the content but also the interest of the buyer. We encourage clients to do the same.