Customer Journey Mapping – needs & wants

I want chocolate cake, but I need an apple. I might also want an apple, but I probably don’t need chocolate cake! (Probably.)

What has this got to do with Customer Journey Mapping? If I can get your attention away from the picture of the lovely chocolate cake, I’ll answer that. As I discussed in my previous article “Customer Journey Management – Overcoming the silo problem” – content is what drives each step of the customer journey. If the content is to be successful in progressing your customer towards your goal and through the journey to the end, it has to address and deal with your customers’ needs.

On the surface that might seem simple enough, however here is the twist: your customers’ needs change as they move through a journey. Also, while your journey design/map may be linear, the way it is travelled may not be, so your approach must be flexible to allow the customer to take their own personal journey.

But firstly, let’s stand back and say what we mean by the journey – it should cover the entire end-to-end journey for the customer, not just discrete processes in service or loyalty. When you consider it from this point of view, saying that the needs change throughout the journey makes more sense:

For example, at the beginning of the journey I need a new car because my old car has broken down. I live on a farm, and I have two children and three dogs. When I start researching vehicles, my need is not necessarily as simple as wanting a 4×4 car; it is a vehicle that will enable me to drive through a muddy field, tow a trailer, take the dogs out and do the school run. As I start my research, I will be tempted by all the flashy shiny, shiny, (wants), but then I will have questions around my needs that I want answered and that is where you will lose me if you don’t understand my needs and address them with your content. If the content I consume is structured around these needs then I can find the car I need more easily making for a much better solution for me. If my needs are also tracked as I consume that content they can then be passed to the dealership and there will be a very happy salesman who knows exactly what I need before I get there!

(See also: Mapping the Buying Journey)

As we move towards the end of the journey, my needs for a vehicle that will enable me to drive through a muddy field, tow a trailer, take the dogs out and do the school run have been met and now I need good service and reliability and I want perks for being loyal. However, for the best customer experience throughout the journey you need to remember what my original needs were and make sure that you have met them and continue to meet them.

Can your content do all this? If not, you need a system that can help you embed needs into your content at the right point in the customers’ journey maps to move them forward.