The Lost Art of Campaign Journey Mapping

Abstract composition of geometric lines and arrows
June 2023
Remember back in the day when we planned out trips using a road atlas? We’d flip through pages of maps to plan out our journey, the sights along the way and the necessary stopovers before reaching our final destination.
Mobile navigating map with location city streets.

Times have changed! We plug a destination into our smartphones and get the fastest route at any given moment, with gas stations, accidents and speed traps flagged along the way. But there can be a false sense of security in that. It’s a faster process, but we’re bound to miss some opportunities.

As marketers, we map similar trips. We define journeys that customers and prospects will take along the way to getting to know us better — the services and solutions we offer. As B2B marketers, we should keep a customer’s experience in mind as they travel along the campaign journey(s) we map.

Maybe we learned how to map customer engagement journeys as part of our business management or marketing ‘best practices’ sessions. Whether we mapped the journey in our minds or in a spreadsheet, we had a sense of the critical weigh points and forks in the road along the way.

We’re long past the learning phase of marketing. But there’s something powerful about going back to basics. At StudioNorth, we find that when we put that pen to paper and literally map out a campaign journey, something magical happens.

Seeing the whole picture

When thinking through a campaign, it can be easy to focus on each deliverable that will drive action or forward momentum. We need a white paper, so we’ll build a landing page. We’ll create a social ad driving traffic to the landing page. We’ll create an email retargeting interest.

That deliverable-driven system may feel like it works. You’re describing business problems, and you’re creating content. The campaign steps are moving traffic along, and it feels efficient. But that approach doesn’t keep the entire sales funnel and brand experience in mind for a customer, let alone an entire audience. With a deliverable-focused view, you just can’t see all the pieces. Instead, you’re driving a marketing strategy around problems and narrow solutions.

Enter the campaign journey map. It’s at once a bird’s-eye view and a turn-by-turn guide to achieve your campaign goals and deliver on your marketing strategy, with thoughtful insertion of your brand promise throughout. It’s a smart way to nurture customers along their journey.

At the Studio, we like to start by sketching out a wireframe of the campaign journey through the sales funnel, from awareness to purchase, and back through the loyalty loop. It’s an outline of our vision for a campaign, and it starts with the answers to core marketing questions:

  • Who do we want to reach?
  • How should we deliver this message?
  • What assets will we use?
  • What is our messaging cadence?
  • What can we change over time to keep engagement fresh and adapt with learnings?
  • How do we measure success?

By validating all of our goals and strategies early, we can set to work on the creative — and the opportunities to build unique customer experiences along the way. We map assets that nurture customers along the sales journey, whether they’re things we’ll create at the Studio, existing brand materials, or items a client may create or have on hand.

As we begin deploying the campaign, we fill in that wireframe with the creative and KPIs, building out a highly visual, richly detailed map of what our customers will experience.

With that, a campaign journey map is a one-page view of your strategy, sales funnel, timeline and creative assets, with KPIs and budget tracked along the way.

Example of a customer journey map.

A thorough campaign journey map aligns every piece of your campaign to your marketing strategy. At StudioNorth, we create these for clients of all sizes to streamline reviews, creative development, campaign deployment and even analytics.

Moving with agility and confidence

We know what you’re thinking: This sounds like a pointless exercise that’s just going to slow down the campaign. We know our customers, we know what they want and we gave up the campaign journey map for a reason.

Our experience has been quite the opposite — and our clients agree! From early on in a campaign, journey maps help us all get on the same page about what we’re trying to accomplish, who we’re trying to reach and how we’re going to do it.

Campaign maps have a ripple effect. The marketing team can share this comprehensive, visual campaign map with stakeholders outside the marketing team, from sales to leadership. Maps streamline the review and approval process, build consensus and help make the case for marketing spend, which is always a good thing.

With an agreed-upon strategy and plan in place from the start, we save time — and reduce costs.

Guided by analytics, driven by humans

For all the planning and consideration, well-designed campaign journey maps are never static. Yes, the plan is laid out early on, but every good campaign adapts and changes throughout its lifespan.

As a campaign is deployed, we’re checking our progress against the journey map, pivoting as needed. With robust analytics, we track the open rates and downloads of those core pieces of the nurture track and can add, skip or rearrange pieces of the journey to best serve customers where they are.

But if we only planned out one piece, one step or one month at a time? We’d be caught scrambling when one element of a campaign didn’t perform the way we expected.

With a map in hand, we have the opportunity to make smart, agile decisions with our strategy, customers and budgets in mind. And we keep the whole plan together — from the end goal to the memorable, motivating touchpoints along the way.

Sharing the journey

The lifetime of a given customer journey map can go far beyond a single campaign or activation. In the end, clients have a playbook for a campaign that outlines the strategy, tactics, creative and metrics for every step.

For B2B clients with larger marketing teams, maps have allowed them to take a plan back to their peers and counterparts to activate it or localize it.

For every client, that means any given campaign can be repurposed, reused and adapted quickly to fit a given audience. And, since maps are dynamic from the start, each piece is adaptable so that teams can chart their own course with specific best practices or alternatives.

For companies with multiple markets, there’s never just one map. But by providing best practices and numerous options, we equip each part of a team to do their jobs best.

Let’s go together

We love writing (and talking) about what we do at StudioNorth. But if there’s one takeaway from this blog, it’s that seeing the whole picture creates marketing magic. If you’re ready to see your campaign journey map, give us a shout. We’d love to get started.

Caroline DeVore
Caroline DeVore
Executive Director, Strategy
Once an engineer, always an engineer: Caroline loves to think through challenges and find creative solutions to win in competitive and emerging marketplaces.

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