How to Create a Mobile Customer Journey Map

Customer funnels are a technique Marketing and Product teams have relied on for years, but they have one big problem: Funnels are linear, and thanks to mobile, customer journeys are no longer so. Mobile offers consumers a unique way to experience brands, skipping ahead and looping back whenever it makes sense for them personally. Using a traditional funnel to understand and predict mobile customer behavior just doesn’t cut it anymore.

What does this change in direction mean for mobile teams? Enter the mobile customer journey map, a better way to understand how mobile consumers interact with your brand. Mobile customer journey maps provide data-backed insight to help you to improve your overall customer experience and product offering by illustrating the steps customers go through in order to engage with your company. Customer journey maps serve a similar purpose as a traditional sales funnel, but are much more flexible. This flexibility allows for individual customer journeys to be robustly built, which paves the way for hyper-personalized mobile experiences.

Below, we explore the benefits of leveraging a mobile customer journey map over (or in addition to) a traditional funnel, complete with step-by-step instructions to aid with your set up.

The Mobile Customer Lifecycle

You may ask yourself, “Do I really need to use a mobile customer journey map?” Short answer: Yes!

Here’s why: Marketing and Product teams are tasked with understanding shifts in customer behavior and emotion to assess needs. Measuring customer sentiment, or CSAT, is the focus for most large brands to understand customer happiness and where to shift their product roadmaps. But CSAT is a lagging indicator that won’t help you much in dealing with current pressures around connecting with your customers, or responding in real time to shifts in emotion (which, according to Gartner, is the best metric for improving customer experience).

Mobile customers engage in unique ways due to constraints and advantages within the channel (e.g. screen size, length of engagement, etc.). Regularly taking the pulse of your mobile customers’ emotion by gathering feedback, analyzing behavior, and acting on insights will help you provide a better overall customer experience.

There is a problem with traditional funnels when it comes to the mobile customer journey. Traditional funnels are linear, and customer journeys—especially over mobile—are anything but. Funnels show a perfect example of how a person may move through the stages of your sales and retention process, but leaves very little room for interpretation and parsing true customer behavior.

Take a side-by-side example of a traditional funnel vs. a mobile customer journey. The traditional funnel looks something like this:

Traditional customer funnel

In reality, mobile customer journeys tend to look more like this:

Mobile customer journey

As you can see, the traditional funnel does not allow for as much individual experience as the mobile customer journey map. Both exercises exist to help app publishers accomplish the same goal, but the mobile customer journey map can get you much closer to how people actually engage with and behave in your mobile product.

In addition to allowing for more flexibility in your mobile experience, mobile customer journey maps help drive three important cross-team initiatives:

  1. Help you build a better product. Customer journey maps exist to explore behavior within your mobile experience, which yields learnings around how you can improve. The more you know how people actually engage, the better you can understand what pieces of your experience hit the mark or need adjusting. Using your journey map insight, you can revisit your product roadmap to ensure priorities are in-line with customer feedback.
  2. Put the customer at the heart of your outreach. Using customer journey mapping, you can design an engagement strategy that puts your customers first. The more you know about how customers use your mobile product, the more one-to-one your messaging with them can be. Hyper-personalized messaging is the manifestation of how we incorporate everything we know about our customers’ loves, likes, and dislikes into their mobile experience.
  3. Ensure your Marketing team’s efforts are in the right place. Marketing’s efforts should be driven not only by the company’s product mission, but also by the customer. In order to provide the best mobile experience, it’s imperative to learn from your true customer journey—as complex or straightforward as it may be—in order to be sure you spend Marketing dollars in the right place.

Putting together a mobile customer journey map is worth the time and effort you put into it. The insight you’ll gain is priceless, and can help shape your product roadmap and marketing strategies to level-up your brand.

Learn Your Customers’ Mobile Journey

Now that we’ve covered the importance of a mobile customer journey map, it’s time to create your own. Below, we walk through each piece of the mobile customer journey map exercise so you can easily implement it with your team.

Before we start, here is what a typical customer journey map for a desktop web-based product looks like:

Mobile Customer Journey Map

What makes mobile different from other digital channels is the ability to impact customer behavior early in the selling process. Our mobile devices are incredibly personal—we carry them everywhere we go, and use them to connect and share with the people we’re closest with. The personal nature of mobile also extends to brands as customers continue to expect the level of respect and personalization from brands they engage with over mobile as they would with any other interaction. Our brains are conditioned to see mobile as a personal, emotional channel, and brands who create mobile experiences with this goal in mind are primed to stand out.

In a customer journey, introducing the mobile channel affects the “Discover” and “Compare” stages by allowing for personalized communication opportunities, like in-app messages, mobile surveys, intelligent prompts, and personalized notes. No other digital channel allows brands to connect in a one-to-one way like mobile.

Mobile Customer Journey Map: Discover and Compare

Let’s take the mobile customer journey and break it down piece by piece.


1. Identify Customer Behaviors


To start, you must identify general customer behaviors across your mobile experience.

Mobile Customer Journey Map: Behaviors

These behaviors might mirror the stages you see in your traditional funnel, or they may be totally different—it all depends on your product and customers. Set time aside for your Product and Marketing teams to dig deep in order to set your mobile behaviors as they serve as the base for the rest of your customer journey map.

If time allows, consider pulling a handful of new customers who have closed within the last month and trace each of their journeys back step-by-step to understand exactly how their experience went. By looking at real, individual customer journeys, you’ll learn more than any survey or research can tell you.

2. Understand Customer Goals

Customers generally want the same thing from your product offering, and each behavior in your mobile customer journey is usually driven by a common goal.

Mobile Customer Journey Map: Goals

Note that in the image above, the goals change depending on their matched behavior. In the beginning of the mobile customer journey, the goals are much broader than they are at the end.

Individual mobile customer goals may align with what you’ve used for your traditional marketing funnel, or they might be different. Neither is right nor wrong so long as you take the time to understand the real drive behind why customers take the actions they do within your mobile experience.

3. Identify Mobile Touchpoints

Touchpoints are engagement points for you to interact with your customers. Mobile apps’ longevity allows for a more personalized approach to determining which touchpoints to engage with customers at than any other channel, especially as in-person touchpoints have all but disappeared for the time being.

Mobile Customer Journey Map: Touchpoints

This stage will look very different from your traditional marketing funnel, and should take the most time in your customer journey map exercise. Start by putting together a master list of all of the marketing and sales activities your team uses to engage with mobile customers. From there, assign each activity with the customer behavior it’s meant to encourage. Your touchpoints may have more than one intended customer behavior depending on your mobile product, or they may have just one. Either way, list each touch point below the customer behavior it is intended to drive. Let your lists get as long as they need!

Pro tip: As you consider all of your touchpoints, use the time to evaluate them. You may leverage a strategy that does not align with any of your encouraged customer behaviors, which means it’s probably time to remove it from your process. Keep the concept of “cleaning house” in mind as an added bonus as you work through this phase in your map.

4. Gather Data and Make Changes

Once your mobile customer journey map is in place, it’s time to put it to work!

Start by looking at all the data you currently pull to understand how customers move through the stages of your funnel. From there, identify data gaps (there will definitely be gaps) between what you pull today and what you need to pull in order to understand movement across your new mobile customer journey map. Move as quickly as you can to set up recurring reports around the info you need in order to gather a starting point.

Remember, the data you can pull around mobile customers is endless—take advantage of it! You know what device they use, how long they’ve had your app, and you may even have demographic data if that’s associated with their login. This means you can ask your audience for the exact data you need in order to expand the customer profile data you already have. Gradually, you can ask them for more data and combine that with their behavior and actions they take in the app to create a comprehensive customer profile and improve your personalized marketing and sales strategies.

Now It’s Your Turn

You now have the tools to create your own customer journey map for your mobile product. No matter what stage in the sales process you’re at, this exercise will help you better understand your customers’ behaviors to help improve your product, personalize your marketing, and most of all, deliver customer love.

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