Marketing content shared with Michigan Business Network by:
Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD
The School of Hospitality Business
Broad College of Business
Michigan State University
Like many of you, our family’s TV screens are now stocked with online streaming sites. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and a host of others that are complimenting or replacing our cable service. I have always been fascinated by the user profile identities everyone uses for these sites. For instance, our grandkids carefully chose the family’s Disney+ characters to reflect what they see as our personalities. We have Edna and Jack-Jack from the Incredibles, Ariel from Under the Sea, Russel from Up, as well as Roger Rabbit, Darth Vader and the Mandalorian. Me? Well, I am represented by Rafiki from The Lion King. At first, I was not too sure about the grandchildren seeing me as a baboon, but Rafiki is really a mandrill, which is somewhat related to the baboon family but does have its own classification. Although a little eccentric, Rafiki is a “sage with a deep connection to magical and spiritual elements. With his Bakora staff always on his person, Rafiki uses his wisdom to guide those in need…” Whew! I feel better now.
As I opened the site and was looking at our user profiles, I started thinking about how Disney is the expert in personalizing the visitor’s experience and how customer journey mapping has always been critical in making sure this personalization is met at each consumer touch point. Here, something as simple as relating each user to a Disney character on its streaming app achieves that aim and reinforces the connection between consumer and brand.
If you have used customer journey mapping for your business, you know its value and it might be valuable to do it again, given these turbulent times. If you have never used it, run to your friendly search engine to discover how this process can help your organization strengthen the bond between you and the people who buy your products/services.
While there is a myriad of helpful sites available, simply put, customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual story of your customers' interactions with your brand. The operative word is visual because, as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words.
This exercise helps you step into your customers’ shoes and see your business from their perspective. It helps tell the story of their experiences with your brand across all touchpoints. Social media. Websites. In-store and online purchases. Customer service. And even billing. In
other words, journey mapping gives you the picture of every point of interaction that people have experiencing your brand, helping management gain insights into any pain points that need adjusting as well as finding nuggets of opportunities for enhancing customer experience. I guarantee that there are more touchpoints that you might initially guess. I have seen data indicating that visitors to a Disney theme park have about 20 touchpoints before even setting foot on the property, and once there, experience more than a hundred. That 100+ opportunities for Disney to WOW its guests. How many touchpoint opportunities do you have to WOW your customers? Journey mapping will help you find the obvious ones as well as those that may be hidden.
But one of the biggest reasons for any business to journey map its customer experience is personalization. It can identify opportunities to “create personalized experiences across all touchpoints for every individual, across all channels.” Here is where Disney shines. And it is where your business can shine. Take, for example, the case of a prominent east coast university. Like Disney, it realized that a student’s journey can begin at birth. So when it learns that an alum has a baby, it sends an “acceptance” certificate with the child’s name to the parents. Personalization goes beyond the conventional birthday card or discount during your birthday month. Those are expected; those are traditional; those are not WOWs.
Just as journey mapping has proven valuable to entire Disney organization, it can give you a deeper understanding of how to WOW your customers. And just as it “motivated the company to try harder at making every [touchpoint] a magical one,” journey mapping can help you make every customer touchpoint more magical.
Your Bottom Line will thank you!