Loading...

Realtime Boards: An Innovative Approach to Customer Journey Mapping

Realtime Boards: An Innovative Approach to Customer Journey Mapping

By Crystal Gee, Solutions Associate

We find more and more clients are interested in understanding their customers’ journey to purchase. But from experience, we also know that these studies can be massive and require extensive time and travel, both on our side and the client’s.

In our typical journey mapping interview, participants create a large map that represents their triggers, behaviors, emotions and influences in their decision pathway. All the complex individual journeys, from all the interviews, in all the locations, are then combined, digested and refined in an extensive ‘war room’ synthesis session with our own and client teams. This approach has been very successful in producing strong, actionable decision pathways that reveal opportunities for clients to influence their customers’ decision-making.

However, as believers in the importance of continuous innovation, our team explored platforms that would allow us to do much of the in-depth interviewing, journey mapping and partial synthesis virtually.

Landing on a platform called Realtime Board, we customized it for our own unique systems-focused Journey Mapping approach. This allows us to:

  1. Conduct online journey interviews with geographically dispersed and sometimes difficult-to-reach audiences,
  2. Use an overarching framework and set of journey icons consistent with our in-person work,
  3. Share a screen with the respondent, so they can populate a journey map as personally and in as much detail as they would in-person,
  4. Allow clients to observe the interviews from their own offices, adding probes as the respondent’s journey unfolds.

One interesting application of this approach to journey mapping was for an appliance client. Due to the virtual nature of the interview, we were able to interview people who were actually in the process of making a decision. Capturing them in real time yielded nuances in the decision process that are often forgotten in retrospect.

A final, important point: the Realtime Board makes it possible for us to do much of the pre- and post- synthesis work virtually, so the analysis process is more efficient and quickly identifies the patterns we need in order to understand the human story. This means we can spend more time in-person working on solutions.

We know our clients’ time and money are precious and we’re proud to be able to offer this option for Customer Journey research that allows them to capitalize on what we consider to be a stellar systems approach, while respecting both their time and budget.

Customer journey. Path to purchase. Ideal customer experience. Human-centric design. Design thinking. Systems thinking.

We hear these topics discussed more and more today in research, marketing, and innovation circles. At industry conferences, many research firms touted new “purchase-driven planning” solutions aimed at targeting advertising units based on proximity to making a purchase rather than just audience reach and frequency. And you can’t hit a conference these days without hearing about customer centricity.

The bottom line is we recognize the need to better understand how people (consumers, citizens, voters, stakeholders, etc.) make decisions that impact the business outcomes our clients seek. It’s going beyond the what they do and the why they do it, to stitch it all together via the dynamics of how they do it.

We believe the solution rests in mapping three levels of the decision-making process to uncover the role for the brand to play at every stage.
1. The values people are in pursuit of
2. The pathway that emerges as they take action
3. The systems in which their decisions are made.

Armed with this framework, marketers and innovators know how to resonate with people – they know what to say or do, when/where/how to do it, and what utility to provide.

We call this resonant differentiation. It means you stand out in what you offer the people most important to your success because your efforts amplify theirs – you connect in a way that facilitates progress toward the values they pursue. This means you can plan messaging to say the right things at the right time; you can plan customer experience against what matters in their daily life beyond your product and category; and you can create new products or services that really matter to people.

Our System and Journey Solutions practice delivers extensive programs to architect strategies for communications and innovation. Or, we apply the framework to simple assignments executed in a new way. We help clients view the world from the perspective of the people they seek to attract.

Download our two-pager to learn more.  Or connect with Maury Giles, our System+Journey Practice lead.