Customer Personas, Journeys & Experience Maps

Knowing your customers and their experience with your brand is essential to growing your business.

Let's say you sell doughnuts. You shout from the rooftops about why everyone should buy your doughnuts. However, not everyone likes doughnuts (Shocking, I know). That’s because different people value different things. Some customers value the atmosphere of your store more than the actual products offered. Others might come back to purchase again because they had a good interaction with your team the first time.

Using marketing tools like customer personas, journeys, and experience mapping can help you better understand your audience and determine what areas you can improve in order to better serve their needs.

Customer Personas: Who are your people?

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Whether it was for a costume party or a school play—you’ve probably pretended to be someone else at some point in your life. You took on a different character than your own and thought about how they would act.

In some ways, that’s what personas are like. They are profiles you create to represent the main segments of your customer base. While made-up, they are based on research and experience you have about your customers.

Each persona has a name and a face, so you can begin to understand the individual. Additionally, basic demographics (age, marital status, etc.) and psychographics (purchasing behaviors, hobbies, etc.) are included to paint the full picture. Having a set of personas to refer back to helps you determine how to best reach each segment with your message.

Customer Journey: What is the best-case scenario?

The next step is the customer journey. This should reflect the ideal outcome for each persona. Do they become loyal to your brand? Do they tell others to check out your service? Whatever the case is—keep each persona in mind. Think about what makes sense for that specific persona. Additionally, the customer journey outlines what a customer goes through during four buying phases.

These phases include:

Awareness: The customer becomes aware they have a need and that you are an option to consider fulfilling that need.

Consideration: The buyer evaluates different options and looks to different resources (websites, social media, peers, online research, etc.) to make a decision.

Participation/Purchase: The customer participates, purchases, and/or uses the product or service they have decided on.

Retention: The buyer decides whether or not to use the product or service again. They may engage with other aspects of your brand (social media, email, etc.) as well.

Customer Experience Map: How can we improve what customers experience?

experience sheet title page

Last, but not least—the customer experience. This is the raw and honest capture of what your customers are actually experiencing throughout the buying phases. It differs from the customer journey as it represents your customer base as a whole instead of being segment specific and defines the “what is” versus the “what if”.

The experience includes both enriched (positive) and poached (negative) points, along with supporting quotes from customers. Pulling from data, customer reviews, customer interviews, and knowledge about them is essential to getting an accurate picture. Once complete, you can identify areas to improve your customers experience with your brand.

The work is never done!

Each of these steps gives you a better idea of your audience, how to reach them, and what they experience. But remember, these are never actually done. You will need to revisit these time and time again as your brand is refined and grows.  

Want to understand WHO your customers are and WHAT they experience? Contact us today to see how we can help you with these exercises and more!


Katie's Bio
Katie Foust
Voice/Analytics SME

As our subject matter expert in brand voice and analytics, Katie has a foot in both the creative and strategic side of marketing. 

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