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Journey Mapping: Getting Started

Once it’s been determined that Journey Builder is the right tool for your marketing campaign, the next step is mapping the perfect journey and determining the data you’ll need to best engage your customers and experience results.

Mapping the Perfect Journey
The best way to start planning your journey is to simply grab a pencil and paper or a whiteboard and begin drawing it out. Consider questions such as, “How do we want our audience to get entered into the journey?” or “How many times do we want to message our audience?”

Entry Sources

There are multiple ways to enter your customers into a journey, but some of the most common ways are via the API, through a Salesforce event or based on a change to an existing audience. Since, unlike Automation Studio, individuals can enter journeys as individuals (rather than in batches), you can tailor your journey to be triggered based on a fairly unique entry event.


The bulk of your journey will consist of the activities that make it up. Activities can be messages, flow controls or exit points. Journeys can include multiple types of messages, including email, SMS, push or customer service calls. As for flow control activities, you’ll need to consider where you’ll want your customer to go through a decision or an engagement split, where a wait state should occur or whether a decision needs to be made about which path to go down. This is also where you can decide if you want to try A/B testing customers down different paths to test engagement rates on different message styles. Finally, you’ll want to think through your exit point and how someone exits the journey and whether their feedback will update a contact record.

Backing up your Journey with the Proper Data
Once your journey is mapped, the next step is determining what data you’ll need to back it up. For each point in the journey and piece of content, note the data required to back it up. If it isn’t already stored in or coming into Marketing Cloud, determine whether or not you can add it or if you need to modify your journey strategy.

Build & Deploy
After the planning steps are complete, your journey is ready to be built using the drag-and-drop functionality that exists in Marketing Cloud. Since you’ve already mapped it on paper, it should come together and look fairly similar to your sketch. Once all the components are in place, simply test your journey by shortening wait states and using a data extension that exists solely for testing purposes.

Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder is a user-friendly tool that drives heightened engagement and increased opportunities for customer retention. With the proper planning and testing, you have access to a way to reach your customers better than ever before. Connect with one of our team members to dive deeper on how journeys can help you better engage with your customers.