One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.” 

― Lewis Carroll,  Alice in Wonderland 

Who needs a map?

Where exactly is journey mapping taking you and your brand? Closer to your customer? Or down the proverbial rabbit hole? 

Does the journey map strike off in new directions or merely trod a well-worn path that lacks much in the way of depth or nuance? 

Do your journey maps remain lodged in some presentation deck or gathering dust on the shelf or do they get translated into marketing action and optimized for even better results? 

Use it or lose it!

The answer to these questions depends not only on the data and methodologies you use to build those customer journey maps, but they also relate closely to the expectations that you bring to journey mapping and the marketing framework that you will ultimately use to attract and retain your target clients. 

In other words, journey maps must not only be constructed from the bottom-up with a close and detailed tracking of the customer’s path to purchase, but they should also be analyzed from the top-down, with the full awareness and anticipation that the marketer must cultivate throughout to engage the consumer with a broad range of marketing activities. 

The savvy marketer will undertake journey mapping with multiple objectives: 

  1. Extract deep and actionable insight into customer needs and desired solutions 
  1. Accelerate the journey to conversion and commitment, which often means purchase or a service engagement 
  1. Improve and optimize the experience for prospective and current customers that are distributed throughout various stages of the journey  
  1. To drive learning and responsiveness internally — throughout the firm — as systems, practices and the company-wide culture continuous adapt and transform in a market-centric way. We find that clients often use their maps to onboard new marketers who frequently change roles and assignments. 

Journey maps can transform your marketing.

At Brado, we have labeled this marketing paradigm Transformational Marketing (cf. Figure below) and conceptualize it as a virtuous cycle in which the bottom-up process we connect with “sense” and “feel” promotes the deep insight that must then align with purposeful and effective marketing to provide both a confident “launch” with the continuous refinement and optimization that we associate with “learn.” 

In constructing a journey map from the bottom-up, we rely upon a multi-dimensional view of the customer and using techniques that give us the best opportunities to sense and feel the competing motivations for behavior, the frictions and roadblocks that impede progress along the path to purchase, as well as the “moments of turn” that in turn make various touch points the crucial determinants for successful customer acquisition. 

We build it better…

In constructing our maps from the bottom-up, we place a premium on data derived from the customers in situ – situated in their natural habitat. Whenever possible this means in the process of searching or shopping or otherwise engaged in their various goal-directed “jobs-to-be-done.” 

We rely on multiple datasets and collection techniques that are typically unobtrusive and that cast a very wide net. The methods vary but they share a distinctive style and spirit that is Brado’s.  

  1. A good map is not only understood, it’s experienced. As part of our customer journey process, we offer – even insist – on hosting an immersive client experience to ensure all stakeholders “hear it,” “get it” and are excited to act on it now, regardless of function, level within the organization or business challenge. Our workshops are centered on building empathy for the consumer – prompting your team to walk in the shoes of the target through a series of thoughtfully-designed activities based on the journey insights – before aligning on strategic priorities for the brand. 
  1. Tension provides a trigger.  Our journey process is grounded in the relevant theories and practices of behavior change, with a focus on identifying tension points that can be leveraged as brand opportunities. We map these tensions as part of our analysis, ultimately providing a roadmap for your brand to influence the journey. 
  1. Our design inspires. We craft highly customized, creative journey deliverables that go beyond bullet-points to tell the story of their experience. The ensuing “insight content” helps your team believe in the journey so they are inspired into action. This, in turn, facilitates the socializing and sharing necessary for long lasting and wide reach.  
  1. We take a second look, interrogating the data. Maybe everyone lies. But we lie less to Google. While a major component of our journey work is primary research, we also look to search data, mining to validate and fill in the gaps. This ensures we have a complete picture of the tensions and questions from your target, with no stone left unturned. 

Our journey maps are built from the bottom up to provide you with unparalleled insight into your customers. But your strategic and tactical needs are equally important in providing the necessary top-down guidance to guarantee that your journey map will yields measurable value. 

…So that your customized journey map takes you where you need to go 

Our journey maps prove their worth as they get aligned with marketing action.  For example, our journey maps provide the insight needed to target the customer in her precise “readiness-to-buy” with the right message through the right media. Matching stages of the customer’s decision journey with major communication platforms is one of our guiding principles. A well-conceived and executed journey map should help marketing decision-makers determine the relative strength of different communications options across the journey and how to administer these for optimal effect. 

Marketers seeking to build stronger emotional ties such as trust will likely need to choose among a range of tactics such as PR, social media and mobile marketing. A journey map should illumine these communications choices and guide on-going efforts to optimize their impact. 

For example, Brado has found journey maps of considerable utility in understanding vaccine hesitancy. Depending upon the precise consumer characteristics and the situational realities along the journey, recommended activation strategies need to pivot or otherwise adjust. Resistance sustained and supported by attitudinal factors requires a much different marketing response than resistance explained by barriers connected with price or convenience. A good journey map will reveal these different bottlenecks and point to differential responses. 

Yeah, but we don’t need no stinkin’ maps.

We all know about the hopelessly lost driver who refuses to stop and ask for directions. Part of the remedy for those who deign to submit to the intricate guidance of journey maps is simply to make better maps. 

At Brado, we’ve been doing these maps for decades and we’ve learned a thing or two. In order to get our maps off the shelf and into the decision-maker’s line-of-sight, we observe these best-practices, which contribute to a journey map that gets passed around and reliably used: 

  1. Inspire with uncommon insight. Seek to tell the client something she may not know. 
  1. Provide a visual summary. Our journey maps are less likely to mimic a programmer’s flow chart and more likely to resemble a pirate’s map that leads to buried treasure.  
  1. Tell a story. The customer has a problem to solve, a job to be done, a nut to crack. This is, in our experience, a tale worth telling with a beginning, some dramatic tension and an ultimate payoff.  
  1. Make it easy to understand. As a wise man (Einstein, actually) once said: as simple as possible, but no simpler

Watch for these potholes!  

As the comics character, Pogo, once observed, “Having lost sight of our objectives, we redoubled our efforts.”

No journey mapping endeavor should lose sight of its larger purposes. This means keeping a clear eye on the ultimate destination: 

The customer journey map is a key tool that potentially helps us see the world from the customer’s point of view and provides us with the direction we need to ease and accelerate that journey. Nothing beats an accurate map to unite both journey and destination. 

Want to learn more about Brado? Contact us.

“The lens through which your healthcare system will be judged is mobile only,” announced Brado’s President of Digital Intelligence, A.J. Ghergich, at a recent meeting of healthcare leaders. It reflects the acceleration of Google’s announced plans to switch to mobile-first indexing on all websites, breaking at the end of this year from its past preference for desktop crawling. In this video, Ghergich offers a summary scorecard for healthcare’s mobile readiness. 

The future just slammed into us

Telehealth techniques and applications have been on the discussion agenda for many years. As technology has progressed, so, too, has the use of this tool.

We are now seeing telemedicine advanced by a wide range of practitioners and health systems. Telemedicine effectively reaches into underserved and hard-to-reach areas, sometimes bringing a level of expertise and innovation that otherwise would be impossible. But the set of techniques and technologies summarized under this notion of telemedicine now include such varied applications as virtual office visits, remote monitoring and even collaborative, robot-assisted surgery.

It is a sad truth that major health crises – especially those provoked by war, natural disaster and pandemics – invariably stimulate healthcare to take giant strides forward. COVID-19 will be no different. And leaders in healthcare will want to get ahead of this inevitable change that is forging our new reality.

Enter the term “telemedicine” or “telehealth” into Google Trends and you will see a dramatic, even exponential spike upward over the past few weeks.

Google Trends Telehealth and Telemedicine

At Brado, our data scientists are charting the dimensions of the current inquiry and advances made with regard to telemedicine. The interactive exhibit below gives you a sense of both the depth and breadth of questions now being asked of Dr. Google on this important topic.

This landscape of inquiry or “database of human intentions” on this topic and others is proving useful to our clients, not only in developing on-point content and relevant jobs-to-done frameworks, but also as a powerful stimulus for innovation and customer experience improvements.

This interactive wheel is clickable and helps to interpret the data and findings by grouping the questions into common themes.

Are we on the brink of a pandemic? Frankly, we don’t know and perhaps our opinions shouldn’t carry that much weight. After all, we’re marketers, not infectious disease experts. So we popped the pandemic question to what we deem a reliable source. As it turns out, the top result from Dr. Google was an opinion piece in which an infectious disease expert offered a closely reasoned opinion to the question “Is it a pandemic yet?”

“It’s now clear,” writes Michael T. Osterholm, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, “that the epidemic was never going to be contained.” 

We report this, not to heighten alarm, but rather to illustrate a larger point: Google has become, for many, a go-to source for health questions and, not coincidentally, to resolve deep-seated fears. Because Google answers are data-driven, they warrant our attention, inspection and closer consideration as market researchers. This applies to the coronavirus. What can we realistically expect at the present moment with circumstances rapidly changing?

We believe that many of our questions have answers and that those are to be found quickly. Here’s why…

Google searches a vast ocean of big digital data, weighs their significance and rank, and then reports them for the searcher to use. Or in this case, searchers and medical researchers. Reliance on Google to interpret symptoms has often allowed clever researchers to anticipate the outbreak of flu and other sicknesses, well in advance of the more traditional public health measures and monitors.

As market researchers who mine healthcare insights daily, Google and the analytics it generates offer an indispensable tool which, when combined with human inputs, can provide a window through which to gauge human thoughts and behaviors. We can move alongside the paths of patients and physicians. In our world then, Google is a stunningly important cultural artifact, an unparalleled database of human intentions. 

But with coronavirus? It could be far more impactful, predictive and…maybe even curative.

“What is coronavirus?” Is Just The Tip

We’ve found people, quite expectedly, are asking what coronavirus is or what causes it. Some ask about special or vulnerable populations (e.g. “What causes coronavirus in babies?”). Many are looking for a point of comparison or a better sense of what coronavirus is like: “Is coronavirus the flu?” or “Can coronavirus cause a cold?”

Some are seeking to learn how this new enemy intersects with what’s already known: “What about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) or SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)?”

Progressing, we see the question of “What is it?” has already led to “How will I know if I have it?”  With Covid-19 deaths starting to be reported in the US, the urgency is pitched. One rising query is “How long does Coronavirus live on surfaces?” This is giving rise to a chain reaction of related searches (and potential responses) or “hand sanitizer.” Not a surprisingly spike in the current climate (see below).

The Next And The New

The next wave of questions is breaking now in the digital domain. We’re seeing search rapidly moving through the funnel from consideration to action and pushing faster and faster to the new horizon: seeking reliable answers to remedy and relief. Questions like “How to recognize Coronavirus?” and “How to diagnose Coronavirus?” are on everybody’s radar, naturally, but we’re also starting to see “How to cure Coronavirus?”

As answers to these questions emerge, we’ll see Dr. Google’s algorithms finesse and hone patients’ and physicians’ questions daily. Consider this: In a matter of weeks, we could go from “What is coronavirus?” to “Does my local drug store carry the vaccine for Coronavirus?”

Is it too much to hope our collective urgent questions will hasten the desired answers? We’ll keep searching…

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