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By Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia

Having spent some time working for a large software company I can tell you that customers love the idea of marketing automation. Especially the idea that you can “journey map” your customer experience and work out where the customers/prospects can be influenced in order to nudge them in your direction. Then you switch it on and the business floods in, right?


A huge amount of creative content so that all of the customer interaction points have the appropriate things available to tell the story in a coherent way. This may not sound like a huge amount of work because you already have 20 standard emails that you send, right?

Wrong again!

Getting lost on the journey map

Broadly speaking, journey mapping works by considering “personas” and where you need to engage them to help them on their path to choosing your company.

Persona 1 – Let’s call him Dave – is a 27-year-old male who likes Apple products, lives in the city and cycles to work every morning. He has a good job because he got a good degree and is working his way up in the company. He has high aspirations and loves to travel. He plays football on a Sunday morning. He is single…but has fallen in love with his girlfriend.

So, we consider what things Dave needs to read and on what platforms in order that he starts to like our products more than our competitors. But, because we don’t know everything about Dave’s behaviour we “split test’ each communication. We hope to understand whether he prefers one approach to another: colours, type of photos, time of delivery etc. After a period of time we know how to maximise the returns from the communications we send to our generic “Daves”.

But the journey mapping may have shown us that this “Dave” needs us to talk to him 12 times before he is ready to buy. And, those 12 touches are all going to be split tested. So, that’s 24 different pieces of collateral for that one persona. And there could be many many personas.

Keeping up with your personas

Davina the 32-year-old career girl, John the 38 year old stay at home dad, Josie the 19 year old university student and so on.

There could be hundreds if we were to micro-niche these people in order to optimise the response rate.

That’s hundreds…times…erm…24 pieces of collateral.

So who’s going to pay for this? Who’s going to write it all…and select the photography…and proof it…and approve it? Heavens, we know how difficult it is to get anything approved!

And all this because you wanted to make your life easier. Because you wanted to do less work and get more back.

Now think about GDPR, think about the fact that the data you hold on these personas needs to be encrypted and protected and opted in to!

All this because you wanted to give the impression of personalised communications

It reminds me of the famous story of when Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman were filming the thriller Marathon Man. Hoffman, famed for being a “method actor”, plays a character who hasn’t washed or slept for three days. So, in order to get in to the role he doesn’t sleep or wash for three days. On set Olivier was overheard saying to Hoffman, “my dear boy, you really should try acting…it’s a lot easier.”

My point being that if you want to make your prospects think that they are getting personalised communications, why not give them personalised communications. Why not give them…social!

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things:
Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

Picture credit: By Humanrobo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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