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Customer journey mapping and personas

Why data-driven personas and customer journey mapping should go hand in hand - for successful customer centricity.

What are Customer Journey and Customer Journey Mapping?

The customer journey traces the path a potential customer takes from the moment they learn about a product and become interested in it until they make a purchase. Ideally, the Customer Journey continues thereafter if the company can retain the customer in the long term.
On their customer journey, customers pass through various stations, so-called "touchpoints", where they come into contact with the company. These touchpoints can be online or offline: look, compare, get advice, buy, use/enjoy. At each touchpoint, the customer has an experience that shapes their perception of the company positively or negatively.

As with any real journey, a map also helps with the customer journey. Customer Journey Mapping helps companies to trace the journey of their customers, to see the "landscape" through their eyes. This "map", the Customer Journey Map, traces the customer's journey from initial interest to purchase and use of the product.
The customers who are "on the way" there do not get anything from the map. However, the customer journey map helps companies to see what happens at each touchpoint and where things go wrong, i.e. where the customer could break off his journey and switch to the competition or lose interest in the product altogether - and what the customer needs at each individual point of his customer journey - in terms of content, arguments, interaction. At these points, the company can then improve so that the customer takes away a positive experience and continues the journey.

Example of a Customer Journey Map

Anna Hofmann (55, single, architect, 1 adult son) is adventurous and cosmopolitan. She wants to experience something on holiday and decides to join a guided group tour to South America.
She lives in the countryside and therefore doesn't want to go to the nearest travel agency, but conveniently online, search, compare and book.

Your expectations:

  • The trip should be eventful, but safe and well organised. Comfort is important, after all she is no longer 20, but luxury does not have to be.
  • The website should be clear, the services and prices transparent.
  • Anna likes travel sites with lots of inspiring photos and concise but very informative texts.
  • Anna would like to have the option to contact a real person for advice and booking.

At any point in the Customer Journey, Anna can have a positive or a negative experience. If she has a negative experience, there is a risk that she will abandon her Customer Journey. Then the company not only loses a potential customer, but in the worst case Anna advises others against the company.

consider explore compare request/reserve travel
Sees an advertisement for a travel company and visits its website. Surf the site and filter by preferences: Climate, destination, type of trip (relaxation, adventure, culture), trip duration and budget. Reads customer comments about the travel company.
Looks at possible destinations and hotels on Instagram, including comments. Reads reviews of the hotels and destinations included in the favourite trips on Tripadvisor.
Also checks with the travel company's competitors for similar offers.
Talks to friends about the options.
Contacts the travel company by email and asks for a formal offer for the two most likely trips. Leads the journey through

Positive experience:
Wow, they sell exactly the kind of trips I've always wanted to do! Great pictures!


Negative experience:
Hm, but not what I had hoped for. A lot of blah blah, not much to see.

Positive experience:
Great, I can save different options in a favourites list and look at them in more detail later.


Negative experience:
The site is confusing, I don't find what I'm looking for or can't find it again later.

Positive experience:
I think my dream trip is there and even within my budget!


Negative experience:
I can't decide, all the trips on my shortlist have a catch. I will have to cut back.

Positive experience:
The contact person is friendly and responds quickly. The offer includes all relevant information and is within budget. The programme sounds interesting and the hotel looks good. I decide to go and make a reservation.


Negative experience:
The answer is a long time coming. The pricing is unclear and it is not 100% clear which services are included and which are optional. I have to ask and wait. I might try the competition.

Positive experience:
What a great experience! I will recommend it to my friends!



Moderate to negative experience:
The tours offered were done, but were not as great as they appeared in the promotional photos. The hotel could do with a general overhaul. At least the tour guide was nice and the weather was good.
I will probably book somewhere else next time.

The persona is the decisive factor

The best way to understand the customer journey of potential customers and transform it into a helpful customer journey map is to match it to a data-driven persona that personifies a desired customer.
Because: very few companies sell products only to a very sharply defined target group. Most companies sell their products to different customers. Accordingly, they have different expectations of their customer journey and follow a different path, which results in a different "map" - customer journey map. On the respective customer journey map, the marketing department and sales department can then see where they need to improve/change exactly what for Persona A, Persona B and Persona C: Persona A may be very busy and annoyed by phone calls, while Persona B prefers to be advised in a personal conversation.

It is important that the personas are data-based and not based on gut feelings or vague experiences. The more detailed the customer journey map and the more touchpoints it contains, the more data must be collected about the persona.

Based on the customer journey map, two matrices can be derived: One on the mix of topics, formats, approaches and one on how these fit the customer journey and the persona.

Topics, formats and addresses of different personas using the example of travel

  Persona 1: Anna Persona 2: XY Persona 3: YZ Persona 4: AB
Youtube x x
Facebook x
Instagram x x
LinkedIn x
XING x x
Blog x
Benefit 1 (Job Bike) x
Benefit 2 (Remote Work) x x x
... x
Theme 1 (Sustainability) x
Theme 2 (Appreciation) x x x
Search source job advertisement 1 (job exchanges) x x
Search source job advertisement 2 (ebay classifieds) x x
... x
Tonality 1 (Objective) x x
Tonality 2 (Flippy) x
Tonality 3 (emotional) x
Visual language 1 (likes to see himself and his peers) x
Visual language 2 (likes to see younger people) x x x
Content format 1 (video)
Content format 2 (social post: text + image)
Content format 3 (white paper)
Content format 4 (newsletter)
Advertising Touchpoint 1 (SEM)
Advertising touchpoint 2 (print ads)
Advertising touchpoint 3 (guest posts in blogs)


Personas in the customer journey using the example of travel

Persona 1 Consider Explore Compare Enquiries Travel
Youtube x x
Facebook x x
Instagram x x
LinkedIn x x
XING x x
Blog x
Newsletter x
E-mail contact (automated / personal) x x x
Job advertisements x x
Content format 1 (video) x x
Content format 2 (social post: text + image) x
Content format 3 (white paper) x

An example template of a customer journey map

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