THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY – the one thing standing between you and an awesome marketing plan.

Just that little hurdle to overcome and then you’ll be a million times clearer on what activities to do, what copy to create and how to keep your customers coming back for more.

So why is creating a customer journey plan or map so difficult? Especially when you’ve taken all the advice available and even been out to interview customers too?!

Well, there’s a common challenge in customer journey mapping that isn’t always obvious and that often stops teams getting it done and getting it done right.

The good news is that when you fix this challenge, then you’ll have a much easier time of creating your customer journey map and getting on with the real task of executing.

So what’s the challenge?

Well it’s one I’ve seen come up time and again, especially when you have multiple teams collaborating on that all-important vision.

It’s the completely human tendency to revert to ‘me’!

In other words, get a bunch of marketing, sales and product people together and they easily forget about the customer and wind up talking about who is responsible for which bit of the journey, and what that means in terms of tools they do or don’t have, or KPI they are or aren’t hitting.

It’s completely understandable – the natural, human reaction is to try and solve problems, to jump to solutions as soon as the lightbulb goes off and you ‘get’ the customer issue or pain point.

And of course, when you think about the solution, then all you can see is a great big gaping hole of what your business isn’t doing right now.

Sound familiar?

Breath! Don’t let that panic set in.

The solution to customer journey mapping

Luckily, there’s an easy solution. It just requires a certain amount of discipline and usually someone to keep everyone else on track during the whole exercise.

The solution is to separate your true customer journey mapping from your internal roles and responsibilities planning.

In other words, plan different workshops or sessions for these, ideally on different days or even different weeks if you’ve got the time.

Leave some thinking time in between them, even try out some meditation before each session to get you and your team ‘in the zone’ of your customer or your organization!

Just one strong piece of advice:

Be sure to do the customer journey mapping first!

As that’s what’s important – your customer. This needs to drive the second part of the equation rather than the other way around.

Now to help settle some arguments – what exactly should you cover within each session? Where does the customer stuff end and the internal stuff begin?

Here’s a simple chart to help separate the goals for each session. It’s worth having this up on the wall where you’re running the session too so you can keep reminding yourself of what you are (and are not!) there to cover.

Customer Journey Map

Internal Processes, R&Rs and Tools

Externally focused Internally focused
Concentrates on customer behaviors, pain points and goals Concentrates on internal processes, roles and responsibilities, organizational challenges and business goals

Usually needs:

–       Customer research and interviews

–       Analytics

–       Data points on things like customer churn, retention rates, etc.

Usually needs:

–       Internal workshops

–       In-depth process mapping

–       Clear business goals and objectives

–       Data points against the current goals and objectives

Helps to:

–       Improve understanding about customers

–       Identify gaps in the customer experience, e.g. with onboarding or retention

–       Contribute towards better messaging across external comms

Helps to:

–       Clarify roles and responsibilities

–       Identify ownership of certain sales, marketing and product activities

–       Pinpoint gaps in the tech stack

–       Contribute towards budgeting


Customer journey mapping doesn’t have to difficult – if you make sure to separate the customer side from the internal one, then achieving that all-important, end-to-end vision is truly worth it in the end.


Not only that, but you can use the customer journey to both understand your customer better, and work out how to improve your internal processes. Which will ultimately help to increase your conversion rates and customer experience!


[Main photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash]