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How to Create a Customer Journey Map in 4 Steps

By Alexandra Lavorato

A customer journey map can help you better understand and analyze your customer’s experience by outlining touchpoints and outcomes throughout the buyer journey. According to CMO magazine, organizations who track their buyer journeys experience a 50% increase in marketing ROI. In this blog, we will teach you how to create a customer journey map in just 4 easy steps. Ready to better understand your customer experience and increase your bottom line? Let’s get started.

Step #1: Create Your Buyer Personas

The first step in any customer journey mapping exercise is to define your buyer personas. HubSpot defines a buyer persona as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Creating your buyer personas helps you better understand who your customers and prospects are and what’s important to them.

Most organizations typically have 3-5 different buyer personas.

The buyer persona deliverable is a 1-2 page summary that can include the following details of this semi-fictional character:

  • A picture
  • Name
  • Job title
  • Company type
  • Career background
  • Demographic information like age, income, gender and where they live
  • Fears and pain points
  • Aspirations and needs
  • What their day-to-day life and interactions are like at the office

Don’t know where to start? Take your top 10-15 accounts and identify your main point of contact. Then define the characteristics above. Where you see overlap or similarities is where you start to identify your personas.

Well-funded marketers might chose to commission a survey or study in order to better understand their buyer personas. If this doesn’t apply to you, doing an analysis of your top accounts is a great low-budget option.

Step #2: Outline Your Buyer Stages

Now that you’ve created your buyer personas, it’s time to outline the stages your personas go through in the buyer journey. To help you get started, here are a few stages that are typically used to represent a customer’s forward progression in the buyer journey:

  • Awareness – The buyer realizes he or she has a problem.
  • Consideration – The buyer starts to research solutions to his or her problem.
  • Purchase – The buyer decides how he or she wants to solve their problem and is ready to purchase.
  • Post-purchase – The buyer decides whether he or she is happy with the purchase decision.
  • Loyalty or Re-Purchase - The buyer becomes an advocate of this particular solution to the problem, creating referral business or even re-purchasing the same product or solution or a new one from the same company.

While it’s great to use the stages above as a starting point, it’s important that you customize them to reflect your specific touch points, personas and sales cycle. Think of your stages as “buckets” or “umbrellas” that house your various touchpoints.

Step #3: Map Out Your Touchpoints

Whether they’re talking to a sales representative via live chat, looking at a product on your website, attending an in-person event, or opening an email newsletter, every time your customers interact with your brand is a touchpoint. Step #3 of how to make a customer journey map really starts when you try to get into the head of your personas and understand what their experience was like when they were engaging with those touchpoints. For example:

  • How did your customer get to the touchpoint?
  • Where did they go after they engaged with that touchpoint?
  • Did they move forward in the buyer journey and make a purchase?
  • If they didn’t purchase, then what prevented them from purchasing?
  • What barriers and motivators does the buyer have at each stage and/or touchpoint?

Asking these tough questions and mapping out the potential different scenarios will help you identify opportunities to improve your customer’s experience by better understanding their buying process.

For example, once you know the stage-level barriers, create content or a specific experience to overcome those perceptions and send to prospects when they arrive at each stage.

Step #4: Visualize Your Customer Journey Map

Once you’ve outlined your personas, buyer stages and touchpoints, the next step is to visualize your customer journey map. You can use a customer journey mapping software, excel, or even a white board. The way you chose to visualize your customer journey map is completely up to you.

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