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Mapping the customer journey is no job for amateurs. But most firms are trying it, or planning to, judging by Customer Journey Mapping, a study released Monday by Ascend2.

Of the brands surveyed, 26% have and are using defined customer journey maps, and 24% are building or testing them. Another 30% plan to create and use maps in the future, and 20% have no such plans.

And, of those active in mapping, 28% say they’re very successful at it, or best in class, and 59% say they are somewhat so.

Only 13% rate themselves as unsuccessful.

That’s not bad, considering the many challenges companies face in journey mapping:

  • Lack of time/staff/resources to execute — 48%
  • Lack of quality data — 35%
  • Lack of budget — 33%
  • Inability to measure customer experience — 32%
  • Lack of appropriate technology — 27%
  • Attribution of ROI — 21%
  • Decentralized data/data silos — 20%
  • Executive buy-in — 19%

Email is by far the most actionable touchpoint in the customer journey:

  • Email — 52%
  • In-person meetings — 40%
  • Social media engagement — 39%
  • Phone calls — 38%
  • Search/website — 35%
  • Reviews/sharing — 29%
  • Product demos — 23%
  • Live chat/chatbots — 20%

Of those polled, 50% regularly update their email campaigns, and 13% every one to two years. Another 24% update them on an as-needed basis. And 12% rarely if ever review them.

How do companies collect data for the journey mapping process? They use:

  • Customer feedback, surveys — 58%
  • Service/product usage analysis — 47%
  • Measurement of KPIs — 44%
  • Customer feedback interviews — 42%
  • Market research — 41%
  • Focus groups — 19%
  • Internal workshops — 18%

Meanwhile, the study notes that journey maps are often based on personas associated with the target audience. A large majority — 87% — have five or less defined journey maps. But 46% have between three and five, and 9% have between six and 10.

When it comes to organization, most firms seem to be taking a healthy cross-departmental approach.

For instance, 66% say their marketing departments are critically involved in the process.

Also very engaged are sales (53%), customer service (49%) and the executive/C-Suite (39%). In addition, 24% say their product departments are very involved.

Ascend2 and its Research Partners surveyed 273 marketers. Of these, 42% were B2B, 29% B2C and 29% were equally active in both.

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