Understanding and Mapping Your Customer’s Journey

Understanding and Mapping Your Customer’s Journey

For both brands and properties in the sponsorship world, there are several customers at your doorstep. For the property, the actual sponsor is a “customer”—but so is the donor to your charity, patron of your theatre, season ticket holder to your sport organization, member of your association, or attendee of your festival, event, or conference. There are many masters to serve. The sponsor has several customers in the hierarchy as well. The property itself is a customer, the brand may also be a supplier, but also, if it is truly a partnership, there is a give and take relationship. The customers of the property are also the target customers of the brand—or why would the brand even be in such a partnership?

Knowing who your customer is (and it may be multiple groups of people) is critical, but it is just as critical to understand the journey they take to become your customer. At first, they are just prospects. They may not have donated or bought from your brand. They may never have attended your event or experience, used the sponsor’s product, or even been aware that it exists. It is important to understand the journey that your customer will take from prospect to customer. Remember—every touch point matters.

Here are four simple steps to help find the “pain points” a customer goes through on this journey with you.

  • Ensure that your goals align with the customers’. Do your marketing and communications reach them effectively and how will these messages (signage, sampling, authenticity) help your customer prospects reach their goals and get you closer to yours?
  • What are the prospect customers’ communication touchpoints? When do they typically connect with you? Is it online or by direct mail through a heartfelt story that engages their emotions? Or does your product (YMCA summer camp) fill a need they have (day care during the summer for their eight year old)? How are you messaging this to the prospect?
  • Find the moments that matter. Banks do a great job of tracking you online when you are looking at houses/mortgages and cars/car loans. When you have gone back 5-6 times to look at a Ford Escape and Ford has made you an offer online, so does the bank to let you know they can help with financing to make it happen. Know the right time (be it a positive situation that is emotional or a negative situation that you can solve) for interaction in that journey—whether it is asking them to be a member, purchase a festival ticket, or buy a gala table—or getting that sponsor on board!
  • Go through the customer journey yourself. We often have no idea what it is like to be on the other side of the table. When I did management training at both Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant and Red Lobster Restaurants, there were 16-week training programs that required me to work every position from dishwasher to line cook to busser to waiter to host. The concept was that it is really hard to manage someone well unless you have walked in their shoes—and it was true.

Understand your customers’ journey and be prepared to walk it with them.

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  1. Hola! Good advice. One thing I used to do was to make an on line donation to my current or prospective employer and tell no one about it just to see what my experience was. I have done this twice with prospective employers sort of as a “test” before hiring on. Results? One good, one not so good.

    • Dave,
      What a great process and “journey discovery”. Thanks for sharign and thanks for reading. I hope you are staying well.

      • Great point, Dave.
        Brent, great topic! Something that is often overlooked, yet seems so simple and obvious. Why is it so challenging to listen to customers and give them what they want? (within reason haha)

        • 🙂 So true Josh. Simple but seldom followed through on.


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