6 People To Interview Before You Create A Content Map

Here are six peo­ple you need to inter­view before you cre­ate a con­tent map which gen­er­ates the sto­ries that engage your per­sonas in their cus­tomer jour­ney.

Lisa Williams By Lisa Williams from Sustainable Digital Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Con­tent map­ping can help pro­vide struc­ture and direc­tion to the paid, owned, earned, CRM and oth­er mar­ket­ing teams that’s often miss­ing at the begin­ning of a project. Con­tent maps can help pro­vide the col­lab­o­ra­tion and inte­gra­tion points des­per­ate­ly need­ed inter­nal­ly that dri­ve a more uni­fied voice and expe­ri­ence to delight our cus­tomers.

Cus­tomer-cen­tric sto­ries, engage­ment, and even design should start with ques­tions. Yet we often go straight to strate­giz­ing, writ­ing, and cre­at­ing.

Here are six peo­ple you need to inter­view before you cre­ate a con­tent map which gen­er­ates the sto­ries that engage your per­sonas in their cus­tomer jour­ney.

Customer Service

No one in your orga­ni­za­tion is more attuned to your cus­tomers needs, desires, and prob­lems than your cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment. Inter­view a cus­tomer ser­vice lead or man­ag­er and ask ques­tions about top-lev­el prob­lems and needs:

  • What are the top 5 or 10 ques­tions you get asked every day?” This will depend in part on the com­plex­i­ty of your offer­ing.
  • What are the top 5 things we do as a brand that gets us the most com­pli­ments from our cus­tomers?”

Inter­view some­one in the call cen­ter. Cre­ate a set of ques­tions rel­e­vant to cus­tomer delight and how they might impact the goal of cus­tomer joy:

  • What would you change about the com­pa­ny if you were CEO for a day?”
  • What’s your biggest frus­tra­tion when deal­ing with cus­tomer issues?”


It’s good to get two per­spec­tives from the sales team: one from some­one who man­ages the team and one from some­one who han­dles sales direct­ly. For B2B this is enor­mous­ly impor­tant; it’s esti­mat­ed that more than 60 per­cent of the deci­sion to buy is made before a cus­tomer ever reach­es out to the sales orga­ni­za­tion. Hav­ing great answers to cus­tomer ques­tions and prob­lems before the sales con­tact is made is a big impe­tus for cre­at­ing a con­tent map.

Com­mu­ni­ty man­agers and social media teams are, ulti­mate­ly, sales­peo­ple. They’re the voice of the brand. Intel does a remark­able job of allow­ing its social media team and all employ­ees to engage with cus­tomers to under­stand their biggest prob­lems. Ask them:

  • What are 5 ques­tions your poten­tial cus­tomers ask most often?”
  • What resource do you wish the mar­ket­ing team would cre­ate to help you train your sales­peo­ple?”


Study the com­pe­ti­tion, learn about their strengths and weak­ness­es. You could even go so far as to find a past employ­ee and get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the com­pe­ti­tion’s biggest advan­tage and biggest pain point. Ask the ques­tions:

  • What does our com­pe­ti­tion do bet­ter than we do?”
  • Where is our com­pe­ti­tion weak?”
  • Why do we lose cus­tomers to our com­pe­ti­tion?”

Best Customers

This is the real­ly fun part. Get on the phone with your best cus­tomers and let them cre­ate the con­tent poten­tial cus­tomers need. Ask cus­tomers:

  • Tell me about a time you used our product/service and how that helped you.”
  • Why did you choose us?”
  • As a cus­tomer, what’s one thing we could do for you that we don’t cur­rent­ly do?”


Reviews on Google, Yelp, Bizrate, and oth­er ser­vices are becom­ing a very impor­tant part of a brand’s sto­ry online. When com­pa­nies ask how to get rid of bad reviews, the smartest answer is always, “quit doing the thing that incites the bad reviews.”

Short of being per­fect, though, we can often dis­arm a dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomer by under­stand­ing and help­ing resolve the prob­lem pub­licly. Sure, it’s nat­ur­al for bad reviews to be mixed in with the good, even with an excep­tion­al­ly cus­tomer-cen­tric orga­ni­za­tion. The goal is to see the bad review as an oppor­tu­ni­ty rather than a chal­lenge to over­come.

Choose crit­ics from both review sites and cus­tomer ser­vice and ask them:

  • What could we have done bet­ter to help solve your prob­lem?”

Just own­ing that there is a prob­lem can be enor­mous­ly dis­arm­ing. It’s hard to be angry when your frus­tra­tion is met with patience and a true desire to make things right.

Crit­ics reviews, whether shared online or with your cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment, are an enor­mous con­tent oppor­tu­ni­ty to bet­ter under­stand the cus­tomer jour­ney and impact it pos­i­tive­ly. Ignor­ing crit­ics dur­ing the con­tent map­ping process means you’re only see­ing part of the pic­ture.

Business Intelligence/Analytics

Lever­ag­ing ana­lyt­ics to improve the cus­tomer jour­ney requires we don’t just share data, but that we share the sto­ries the data cre­ates. We can eas­i­ly become over­whelmed because there’s so much data and so much you can poten­tial­ly do.

In the face of hav­ing the data to learn every­thing, we often fear it’s a fail­ure to just learn some­thing. There are rarely absolutes.

Asked to choose four cus­tomer frus­tra­tions in the sales fun­nel, four dif­fer­ent ana­lysts will like­ly have dif­fer­ent answers. That’s OK. Just ask your busi­ness intel­li­gence teams to share their method­olo­gies, show their think­ing, and reveal their find­ings.

We often come to ana­lysts with huge expec­ta­tions and lit­tle guid­ance, leav­ing them to scram­ble to share a dash­board with a lot of data but no good sto­ries or action­able insights. Great mar­keters know that con­sis­tent improve­ment over time beats paral­y­sis by analy­sis every time.

Set out to learn and improve some­thing. Rather than ask­ing for just the data, ask for the take­aways. Ask your ana­lysts:

  • If you could fix two or three prob­lems in the fun­nel, what would you fix?”
  • If you could test two or three things to improve cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, what would you test?”
  • If you could spend more mon­ey in a par­tic­u­lar chan­nel, what chan­nel would you choose?”


When you pre­pare your con­tent map ques­tions, know that you’ll be most suc­cess­ful when you take the approach of “what’s in it for them?” rather than “what’s in it for me?” If our goal is to spend time dis­cov­er­ing what’s best for our cus­tomers and how to delight them, does­n’t it make sense to delight your teams as well?

  • Share with the sales team that the con­tent map you’re devel­op­ing for the cus­tomer jour­ney will pro­vide them with resources to share with poten­tial cus­tomers.
  • Share with your cus­tomers how valu­able they are as brand advo­cates and how their answers will help you pro­vide them a bet­ter product/service.
  • Share with your cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment how impor­tant they are to the cus­tomer life­cy­cle and brand suc­cess.
  • Even share with your crit­ics how their hon­est appraisal of your weak­ness­es helps you pro­vide a bet­ter expe­ri­ence and maybe even win them back.

As you’re gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion, log ques­tions and answers into a spread­sheet. Pat­terns will begin to emerge that help us define the sto­ries we need to share dur­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney.

You don’t have to use these 16 ques­tions. It’s just impor­tant to ask lead­ing ques­tions that get you to real, hon­est answers. Once you’ve com­plet­ed this exer­cise, you’ll have informed feed­back to begin your con­tent map­ping exer­cise from the peo­ple who mat­ter the most.

Let your next cam­paign or mar­ket­ing project begin, not with con­tent devel­op­ment, not with chan­nel selec­tion, not with a paid cam­paign, but with lis­ten­ing. It could be your sim­plest and smartest strat­e­gy yet.

Lisa Williams

Written by Lisa Williams

President, Sustainable Digital Marketing

Lisa Williams is the President of Sustainable Digital Marketing. She is a 19-year veteran of online marketing and has been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Boston Globe and The Oregonian. She recently authored her first book, "When Everybody Clicks: Sustainable Digital Marketing". Lisa is on the SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland Oregon) Advisory Board. She speaks at regional, national and international conferences on the topics of digital strategy, marketing integration, team development and leadership. She is available for training and consulting.

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