#009: Customer Journey and Touchpoint Map
Understand your product distribution process to build the right product.
Whenever you discuss with somebody how to get from point A to point B in a city, country or even between continents, you look at a map.
If you have no map you draw one.
The customer journey is nothing else: It describes how a customer goes from a certain point A to a point B in the “product experience journey“.
It includes the elements of awareness, consideration, acquisition, monetization, engagement and loyalty.
To understand and refine your product distribution process, it is convenient to establish the corresponding “map” - the touchpoint map.
In the previous post, we discussed the importance of knowing who is using your product, why they are using it and how you are solving a user’s problem.
This kind of knowledge is equally important to the product team as well as the marketing team.
Clarity on the customer journey is the other critical topic where “product” and “marketing” also need to collaborate very closely together (read this post to learn why those areas are not separate entities).
Because if you don’t know how your product will be distributed, you risk that it won’t or cannot be distributed at all.
However, if you thought about the distribution you may include distribution features into the product, respectively, product building process.
you need to understand how each of your user personas is going to become a paying customer for your product.
Today, we look at how to design a customer journey through the mapping of user touchpoints.
The touchpoint map is a map that can have different “zoom levels“.
You naturally start at a high level of granularity.
As you have more insights on user behavior you may extend the map with more detailed aspects such as feedback loops, engagement or marketing elements.
the touchpoint map is a dynamic document.
While implementing your distribution tactics you’ll learn, adapt, change, iterate and evolve it.
Let’s go step by step while studying the customer journey for the following simplified product example (see header image):
A medical software product that creates virtual 3D models from anatomical CT or MRI scans.
Your different user personas are
clinicians (mostly radiologists but also occasionally young orthopedists or cranio-maxillo-facial surgeons), who are so busy that the only opportunity for them to discover new products is at medical trade fairs;
university hospital staff involved in a setup of clinical research, for example 3D printing facilities. Those people are frequently in touch with products from established vendors. If you have a partnership with those vendors you can get in touch with them;
scientists and researchers, who discover new products at research congresses or through the scientific literature;
students in a related field such as medicine or biomedical engineering. They can be made aware of your product through university staff with teaching duties such as professors or postdocs;
As depicted in the diagram below, each of those personas discovers your product in a completely different way.
Once they become aware of your product, you should ensure they move on in the conversion funnel towards “consideration“
In our example, you want to bring them to the company website, which consists of different subpages: a lead form, different landing pages, a student form, a blog.
As a PM, at this point you may have to think if later you can, for instance, at the product activation stage, track back where a user came from.
Therefore, you may have to implement a pixel or something similar into your product, to track that, for instance, somebody had originally scanned a QR code on a physical banner at a certain medical trade fair.
Or you may certainly also want to understand if a user was converted through online retargeting.
(Side note: don’t underestimate the effect of retargeting busy people through their mobile devices for B2B products to double down on awareness or boosting consideration !).
Lastly, part of the distribution tactics is SEO and content marketing and you want to “book” some specific keywords for SEA (search engine advertising).
Next, a prospect will download the product and hopefully activate it (e.g. with a license code).
Imagine, there is a “trial” period, when the software can be used for a reduced fee or even for free (e.g. for students) with limited features (for example only the non-medically certified version).
Thus, your goal here is to push for the next conversion step, which is monetization (= payment), then for a product upgrade and then for a recurring payment (= loyalty).
This high-level view is depicted in the diagram below.
But you can get much more granular: in the diagram we also added “referral“; a feature where students can refer the product to new students and then extend their free trial period as a reward.
You could also add video calls to the touchpoint map to indicate the moment you are planning to have calls with leads and prospects in the funnel.
The same goes for email or notification loops when approaching license renewal or pre-scheduled campaigns to promote upgrades based on specific usage of the product.
Many of these examples would require PMs to implement features, yet we were originally talking about distribution.
But suddenly, we are discussing usage and behavior. Now we are only one step away of UX, iterative product discovery and research.
And the product-marketing loop is complete.
As you can see, distribution is a key insight for a PM to know what to build and for whom and understand the context where the customer operates in.
a PM builds the product on behalf of the customer.
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