Journey Maps

by Jen Williams

A guide to understanding the daily lives of your audience

You know how you reach for your phone 1,000 times a day, all day long, every day? Well, there’s a name for that: micro-moments. Because they are “micro”-sized, meaning consumers are only spending a short period of time in any one place, the key to winning these moments is to capture the consumer’s attention as quickly as possible. And in order to speak to your audience in a way that they’ll listen, you need to build a foundation of understanding of their daily lives and deep desires. You need to build a journey map.

A journey map is a close cousin of a persona. Similar to a persona, a journey map should be based on quantitative and qualitative audience research, and identify a target audience’s pains, needs, wants, fears and frustrations. Instead of leaving it at that, the journey map imagines all of the relevant moments in the target audience’s life along a defined period of time (e.g., a day in the life, or a path from awareness to customer loyalty).  With help from research, and ideally real representatives of the target audience in a room, it can look like this:

At redpepper, we often do this as a group exercise with a mix of audience, client and other expert perspectives in the room. The goal is to get as much detail about potential audience touchpoints as possible, along with what sort of mindset the audience would be in at that moment. It’s important to capture possible intent in these moments –  ask yourself is the audience in a moment where they are ready to know, go, do or buy? These intent types map directly back to types of micro-content.

Once you identify all of the potential moments of intent, it’s imperative to prioritize the moments that have the most potential to align with your business goals. Otherwise, you can quickly get mired in details. These prioritized moments give you a roadmap for content development with a very high likelihood for engagement. Ready to try? Here are a few tips for creating a journey map:

1. Hear from real audience voices. A journey map’s effectiveness is tied to the inputs that create it. Whenever possible, interview real people who represent your desired target audience and use their own words to build out the journey map.

2. Map out the audience’s reality, not what you wish they would do. Your target audience has a life, and it does not revolve around your brand. A journey map should be an expression of the audience’s experiences for a given period of time that are relevant to your brand, but not made by your brand. The goal is to understand your audience’s world, and in that understanding find opportunities for your brand to add value to their lives.  It isn’t about what you wish they would do. It’s about what you can do for them.

3. Where can your brand deliver unique value? Prioritize these moments. The purpose of a journey map is to identify possible touchpoints for the audience and your brand to connect. Just because touchpoints offer an opportunity to connect doesn’t mean they are all of equal value. Think through which touchpoints would allow your brand to provide unique value, especially if is an opportunity to deliver something your competitors can’t. Nail these moments first and foremost.

Ready to create some micro-content? Read about “know“, “go”, “do”, and “buy” micro-contents.

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