I was the marketing specialist for Portable Church Industries. They sell custom packages of AVL equipment, furnishings, and supplies to churches that rent space in buildings. Most of the clients move their equipment in and out of each Sunday. The company’s model is a consultative approach that continues even after installment.
The company needed to better understand who their customers were. They needed a revitalized, defined approach and written plan to reach more customers. They had only the skeleton of a marketing strategy. The CEO wanted to develop a customer journey map to update sales/marketing funnels. The journey map was a cornerstone to shaping marketing content and sales methods. And it could cultivate product enhancements and increase profit.
Users & Audience
The company sold custom products to North American protestant churches. Most leads were first-time purchasers. At times, returning customers needed extra or upgraded equipment. Their usual point of contact was a church pastor. Others were audio/visual managers or directors of other ministry areas.
Roles & Responsibilities
I worked with the CEO, Sales Director, two sales team members, and a product consultant. I complete phases of research and map development. This included interviewing these stakeholders to gather information, and performing a competitive analysis. I drafted the customer journey map, then received feedback from my colleagues. After some edits, I introduced other staff to a fit version.
Scope & Constraints
I kicked off the project by visiting the Troy, Michigan office in my first two months of employment. This allowed me to meet my team members and work alongside them for a full week. I learned about the various stages of product development and setup. After this initiation, the CEO and I determined our action items. We came up with a plan to track progress and hold each other accountable to the milestones.
I was new to the company at the time and a remote worker. Two of the greatest challenges were to get to know the product and to have team members acknowledge my voice and vision. Furthermore, I worked in another time zone. I set up Zoom or Slack calls and chats for ideation, and sent interview-style emails.
Process & What I Did
Research and analysis
I tapped into various resources to learn more about the customers. I wanted to know about their most common questions, complaints, and feedback.
The CEO wanted to use a reputable journey mapping method, called “Storybrand Marketing”.
I first analyzed the existing business, marketing, and sales strategies of the company. I used this information to identify gaps in KPI’s and frameworks for attraction and conversion. After this, I create the scope of the project based on these factors and presented it to the CEO.
The CEO and I defined the goals of developing a common persona’s path. We would use it to improve the experience of audiences visiting the website or contacting us. Sales or Consultation would better listen to leads’ and customers’ unique needs.
Next, I reviewed a recent sales survey. From this, I created a list of questions to ask the stakeholders.
I reviewed the company’s social media page and gathered feedback from posts and comments. These resources helped me begin deciphering the customers and structuring the customer journey.
I identified 3 common user personas from my research.
1. Early career pastor of new, low budget church: His mentality of wearing many hats, like a startup, makes him willing to do as much as he can to kick off the “church plant”.
2. An experienced pastor of a growing church: He has little knowledge or time to deal with the many decisions for renting a church space.
3. The professional audio visual (AVL) staff member: She has deep technical knowledge. She runs into limitations for integrating her expertise in the rental space.
Journey of persona #1
I wrote a list of common questions or feedback from my research into these personas. I wrote the journey for the primary persona, the early career pastor:
- Problem he’s facing: Renting a space but does not understand all the nuances of installing audio/visual equipment, chairs, tables, signage, toys and media for children, etc. each week. He doesn’t have enough time or energy to learn about every detail and no one else can provide support.
- His extrinsic motivation for overcoming the problem: He wants church services to run well and people to come back next Sunday.
- His intrinsic motivation for overcoming the problem: He want to feel that energized by being a good pastor. He thinks pastors often aren’t giving enough to people who look to them for guidance.
- What would solve the problem and achieve success. He needs a “teacher” who instructs and produces solutions to all the challenges. This will result in a thriving church.
The customer journey map became an adaptable reference for other uses. These included sales materials, partnership e-content, and social media campaigns. With CEO and Sales Manager feedback, I created a plan to incorporate the customer journey map into our marketing and sales strategies.
Outcomes & Lessons
I asked the CEO, founders, and team directors to refer to the customer journey map for specific projects. I modified it to inform a new blog article with a business partner. The map became the backbone of early plans for a website redesign.
I adapted the map to include language unique to these distinct marketing campaigns. Collaborators and I envisioned the recipient of the content, and shaped the story based on factors within the journey.
The CEO resigned a few months after we’d begun to embed the customer journey into our projects. The new CEO focused on other areas of the company. He didn’t show great interest in using the map for other business problems.
In conclusion, the new customer journey map was not weighted strongly enough by leadership. Or, perhaps it was not fully understood by those who would benefit from it for sales and product strategies.
If I had a chance to do it again, I would highlight the personas I’d developed unofficially, and provide use case examples for sales team members and consultants to help them identify and address the unique pain points, deep needs, and values of prospects and customers.