Journey Maps Exposed – Why Personalization Rules!

Are you still using a Journey Map to build the “perfect” experience to attract, convert and retain your customers? If so, stop… now!  Stop developing them, stop using them – They’re soooo 2015 (actually more like ’95), journey maps funk up your marketing.

Journey Maps Funk Up Your Marketing

Do You Want to build the BEST relationships possible with your customers and potential customers to maximize your opportunity?  *Hint – It’s all about Personalization:

***Long and Informative Post Alert****

I realize the above is a pretty bold statement, and many who read this will be pretty upset with me because journey maps are a staple still widely used in the marketing world, they are touted as ‘the’ answer to creating collateral that will speak to the widest audience group with the least amount of investment;

BEWARE-You have been fed a lie and I want to expose it to you as intelligent readers of Simplified Insights.

Rube Goldbert Journey Maps Conjurer

(*image disclaimer – I saw this picture and imagined that everyone who has ever planned a journey map must feel like this guy)


OK, so you’re a habitual journey mapper — now what?   Journeys have been a part of your job, your career progression, a pillar under how you’ve been so successful in the first place, and the last thing you want to do is take my advice that journey mapping funks up your marketing… Am I hitting a nerve yet?

Your probably thinking right now, “Are you nuts Nick? Do you know how much I/we put into building a crazy robust journey for our customers/clients?” And my answer is always “yes, I do”.   I’ve had the pleasure of being on a number of teams and building quite a few journey maps over the years…  But hang on, there’s more.

What I’ve found is that journey maps are usually incomplete, lack specificity and target much larger audiences than the marketing collateral can and should handle…

…don’t believe me? Ok…

… If you use a journey map, tell me in the comment section below how many groups of people your journey map targets… and then tell me that the content you create resonates with them all exceptionally well – I bet your content doesn’t; and isn’t it a shame you avoid content that could ignite a fire in one group yet completely offend another all because you’re targeting too wide an audience?



Default Behaviour      Behavior Default

But… Journey maps are still used because they have become the default when there is a lack of clarity, understanding, and ability to properly and accurately measure success and interactions across an infinitely wide range of touch-points.

So what does this mean for you if you still build and use journey maps?

It means you’re missing out on the majority of your opportunities because your messaging is likely too wide and bland… And you will lose traction to smaller, more focused competition because they add that little ‘je ne ces’t quoi?” to align more specifically with the groups you just to happen to be sending bland messaging to (BTW – If you are a smaller company, use this insight to chip away at a segment of your largest competitors business).



Whaaat?!?! Nick, you DON’T recommend building Journey Maps?

Before we dive in, I have to let you know that a journey map is not defined or bound to a specific methodology or way of viewing the problem, it’s not a catch-all one-stop-shop for creating and measuring your clients journeys, this is because there are many ways to slice the cake and create a journey, but luckily I’ll give you a little insight on the 3 major types of journey maps and why I’m not particularly fond of them.

While I don’t really recommend or endorse the traditional use of journey maps, if you do decide to create one, I hope you chose the right journey map for your needs because they all require significant investments of time and money, not to mention that they are already out of date before you even use them.

I’m not to saying journey maps are useless… I’m not saying that at all.

What I’m saying to Journey Mappers is the reason that I really dislike journey maps is they try to flatten a multi-dimensional journey into what essentially equates to a spreadsheet — ewww!  How gross is that?

Can we say life-support people?…

Q: Why are journeys still shown in a flat format?

A: Because there is no other ‘understood‘ alternative.

It’s like stepping on a beautiful ladybug into ladybug themed paper, but now its entrails (what keeps the ladybug alive) are all over your shoe [is there a better comparison?  Give me some better comparisons in the comments below]

I don’t know about you, but I try and stay as far away as I can from flat marketing, people, and companies in favour of those who have personality, experience and ‘dimension’, and I’m pretty sure you do too.

But lets pretend that your still okay with building a spreadsheet journey map that’s hanging on life-support, here are the three major categories of journey maps you’ll get to decide on:


1) The User Experience Journey Map

This type of journey map is concerned with the technical aspects of a journey much like you would be able to measure from Google Analytics; or in any online/offline scenario when presented with multiple options;  they choose or didn’t choose to perform an action, and that choice informs you of their interactions with you.

Think IFTTT.  By its very nature, the  User Experience Journey Map is boolean, they either did something or didn’t – a choice was made, and measuring it becomes fairly easy and highly logical, assuming you are measuring for something at all? … Think SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, paid advertising, A/B testing – you know, the tactical stuff.

Here’s a great illustration of what I mean:

User Experience Journey Map




See how all the steps are a logical flow?

The Goods

What I actually like about the User Experience Journey Map is its incredible way to be analyzed by sophisticated predictive modeling software and be able to spit out likelihoods of favourable events happening, assuming you set up tests in the first place.  Using predictive analysis can give you a substantially accurate read on if the content you are using in your journey map is working (but not why that content works)

The Not So Goods

What I have found to be the User Experience Journey Map’s downfall is that it’s geared towards a transactional snapshot that doesn’t really give insights into the lifecycle of your potential/actual customer, nor does it take the feelings and emotions of your users into account very easily, if at all.

WARNING — Nerdy Data Stuff:

The UX Journey Map generally isolates a small set of potential actions against a small set of pre-determined outcomes,  while interpretation of datasets is often not geared to give you insights on ‘what’ messaging or images should be used in your content, just that the existing content performed with a particular amount of success per a confidence interval when compared to other versions.

Nerdy Data stuff over with.


2) The Customer Experience Journey Map

As far as journey maps go, I like this one far better than the `User Experience Journey Map`, and that’s because it’s the ‘touchy-feely’ mid/high level strategy map that can actually inform the marketing/collateral you create.  Now, I’m not really a touchy-feely person, but knowing what to say, how to say it, and when, really helps your chances of success — and appeals to my logical side 🙂 

Here is a very simplified version of a CX Journey Map:

The Goods

Customer Experience Journey Map

What I like about the customer experience journey map is that it’s a great tool for mapping out all the potential touchpoints and even the flow that your `potential customer` is supposedTo/should go through.  Often times, as this gets more refined, you can layer transactional data to better predict how people will ‘react’ to your stimulus (ie. Your content).  But the primary goal of the customer experience map is to:

  1. Increase the perceived value/experience with the organization – build loyal customers
  2. Increase the capabilities around delivering that value/experience – lower costs and streamline processes
The Not So Goods

What I don’t like about Customer Experience Journey Maps is that they are often touted as ‘the solution’ to complex journeys yet provide very little in the way of actionable insights – what a let down  🙁

Statue Palm Face - What A Let Down

Once the Customer Experience Journey Map is completed, it’s really up to a lot of interpretation on how to develop the strategies and tactics to support it, then a measurement framework needs to be worked on that fits this CE Journey Map… rinse… repeat… iterate… hope for the best.

If I were to equate this to building a house, we’ve only dug a hole for the foundation to lay in because we know where the house is to sit…  we still need to lay the foundation and build the rest of the house – not to mention that this type of journey map has to assume that the environment you are operating in is very stable and not shifting much, or else it would be hard to measure success.


3) The Marketing/Sales Funnel Journey Map

Out of all three journey maps, I probably like this one the most, but that’s because it’s most dear to my heart and I’ve used it an awful lot!  But what is the Marketing/Sales funnel journey map all about?  It’s really the funnel used to see if your strategy is working, so if you were employing, say, the AIDA model in your measurement framework, each stage would act as a goalpost to see how successful your content and tactics are.

The Goods


What I really like about the Marketing/Sales Funnel Journey Map is that it’s logical, replicable, and highly measureable.  It forces the sales and marketing teams to work together while optimizing the customer journey through an active marketing ecosystem to maximize opportunities… WOW, that’s a mouthful (in layman – build more leads, maximize sales)

The Not So Goods

What I don’t really like about it is… well, there actually isn’t much I don’t like about it other than without a large amount of sophistication, it treats everyone as the same person.  I equate it to  leaky pipe that you have to keep constantly repairing with new content that is usually quite unfocused, bland and generalized (again, that’s without a significant investment – something I’ll get into in another post).





let’s say we agree with me, and I’m sure you do, that journey maps are on life-support until a better, more understandable system comes into play, then you’re going to love this!


(No, no, no… That’s just Journey Maps slowly dying) or (Death of Journey Maps) you choose 🙂

So check it out…

I’ve spent the better half of a decade coming up with something far better than a journey map, I call the ‘Tower Model’ (because it actually looks like a tower), feel free to call it the ‘Dureault Tower Model’ and immortalize me 😉 .  The basis of the Tower Model is that it’s flexible, modular and provides feedback to inform where your sales/marketing investments should be made – which means you don’t have to come up with an entire journey with crazy amounts of considerations for all your products and personas and situations up front.  Rather you replace/improve/optimize pieces of the Tower as works it for you – I call these pieces ‘MarketingCubes’

What’s interesting, if you’ve been following through all of this article is that the combination of all three journey maps mentioned above provide about 95% of what you’ll need to put this Universal Framework into play and completely leverages the 3 essential personalization dimensions – 1) Opportunity Stage (you’ll get that from the Sales/Marketing Funnel); 2) the Products of Interest (you’ll get that from the Customer Experience JM); and 3) the Persona/Behavioural Segments (you’ll also get that from the Customer Experience JM).  If you’re wondering what the User Experience Journey map helps you with, it’s the tactics you’ll want to employ within the Tower ecosystem – cool huh?

Go through this quick Prezi I put together to get a feel for it – let me know what you think (let me know what I can improve).


The Golden Goose of Personalization

This is it! This is the level of personalization that everyone is striving for and I’m about to help you get roots in.  Everyone in the marketing sphere talks about big data, artificial intelligence, and how it will ‘solve everything’, what this framework does is visually explain personalizing ‘the right content for the right person at the right time’.

Here’s your Golden Goose Eggs – let’s get crackin!

So assuming you’ve read my article on the 3 essential personalization dimensions, you now understand that once you embrace the Opportunity Stage, Products of Interest, and Persona/Segment as the primary dimensions to create marketing collateral from, you’ll be in a far better position to personalize your content, build better relationships, and nurture people right into your product or service with speed and grace…


…It gets better

By signing up for the Personalization Insights + Tips on the sidebar, I’ll send you a full-sized version of my ‘Tower Model’ inforgraphic…  NOT ENOUGH??? I’m also releasing my Super ‘kick-ass’ Personalization Marketing Framework that can help you implement the ‘tower model’ in your business.  For anyone who signs up at Simplified Insights before I release my framework, I’ll give you the framework for FREE (an $1897 value) when it comes out.

Get More Sales + Convert Faster
*(no cuts, no buts, no coconuts)

*Register Now – An ($1897 value)

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