A Sticky Debate… Journey Mapping with Post-It Notes. Yes or No?

There are a lot of ways to create customer journey maps, so how do you know which method is best?  It can be confusing, we know!  Some formats and tools may work better for you than others – it all depends on how you plan to use and share your journey map and its findings.

Post-It Notes can be a good way to start a customer journey map. Check out the perks and pitfalls of this mapping method to determine if it will work for you. Image Source: DesigningCx

At Touchpoint Dashboard, we often get asked to explain the differences between various journey mapping methods.  In fact, a few weeks ago, we outlined the differences between various software programs.  Today, as our post title suggests, we’re going to highlight some of the perks and pitfalls of mapping with Post-It Notes.

Before we do, though, I want to note that there is no right or wrong way to map, as long as you incorporate the necessary ingredients, engage a cross-functional team and use an outside-in  approach. (See our white paper, “Cooking Up a Winning Customer Journey Map” for details on necessary map ingredients.)

That said, let’s explore the Perks & Pitfalls of Post-It Note Mapping:

Post-It Perks

Post-It Pitfalls

A simple mapping method.  Requires minimal resources, including:– Sticky notes in many different colors– A large wall, white board or butcher paper– Markers and stickers  Not a lasting map format or one that’s easily updated…– Sticky notes lose their stick after time and after being re-arranged on the map (and you’ll likely do a lot of re-arranging)– Depending on the complexity of your journey, you may need more space than you have wall or white board.– How are you going to update your map? Can you keep you wall of sticky notes/white board up forever?
Typically done in a workshop setting.  To be most effective, it must involve people/teams from all areas of your organization.– Breaks down organization silos– Helps departments better understand the holistic customer experience.– Gives back office teams insight into how their processes support front office activities and the impact on customers.
  • It’s not always easy to get teams together, especially when they work in different locations, cities or countries!
  • If key people miss the workshop, how do you share the map with them? It’s not easy to share a white board or a wall! (You need to re-input all the map data/design into software to share).
  • Travel and budget considerations with in-person workshops
Fast way to document touchpoints and capture thoughts/ideas/feedback from workshop participants.– Use different colored post-it notes to represent lifecycle stages, touchpoints, channels, resources, etc. and arrange them on the whiteboard in the order your customer would go through in their particular journey 
  • In order to make this map lasting and share it with the organization, you will need to input everything into software to make it lasting and editable. This can be time consuming, and not all software-created maps are easy to design and edit.
  • Provides a nice picture of the customer journey in its current state.
  •  Helps teams visualize how customers interact with their brand and touchpoints.
  •  Points out areas in the journey where customers are pleased and where they experience pain.
  • Provides only a snapshot in time. Just like your business, your customer journey is always changing with the addition of your new channels and touchpoints.
  • Lacks deep insight into the customer experience – this map format doesn’t provide enough room to include specific details about pain points and best practices – you need to refer to supporting documents and other Voice of the Customer data to get the full picture.
  • There’s a lot of flipping back and forth between documents.


Touchpoint Dashboard Vs. Post-It Notes

The Post-It Note mapping method can be great way to start a map, especially when used in a workshop setting.  However, as you can see, there aKerryBodinere many limitations to it.  Touchpoint Dashboard can be used in conjunction with Post-It Note mapping method.  It can provide the necessary durable, sharable, secure and editable map format that the Post-It Note method lacks.

If you want to learn more about Post-It Note mapping, check out this Moz White Board Friday video.  It’s a nice resource for new mappers.  The video outlines how easy it is to create a journey map of a customer’s shoe buying experience.  Keep in mind, for time sake, the map isn’t fully developed in the video, but it provides direction on how it could be).

To help you see the differences between a Post-It Note map and a Touchpoint Dashboard map, we mapped the same basic shoe-buying experience that is featured in the Moz video.  (Click on the map image below to view it in full-size demo mode. )  We also outlined the differences in the table below.



Post-It Notes

Touchpoint Dashboard

Automation & Collaboration
  • Collaborative if done in an in-person workshop setting. Difficult for participants to contribute if they are not present at the workshop.
  • Budget and time considerations: Workshops can be difficult to arrange and can be expensive (travel expenses, etc.)
  • Not automated or secure – would need to manually input everything into software
  • A user-friendly, web-based platform.
  • Securely log-in anytime from anywhere.
  • Enables multiple users to simultaneously contribute to the map design, view it being built, make comments, and/or access the findings and results.
  • Can be used in a workshop to save the step of having to re-enter map data. However, this all depends on how fast ideas are being surfaced and how easily participants can view the screen.


Ease-of-Use & Efficiency
  • Very simple and requires minimal resources
  • Very fast way to capture ideas/touchpoints/feedback
  • Will need to re-enter everything into software in order to share, update and save the map.
  • A Post-It Note map is not easy to update – post-its lose their stick and there is a limited amount of space
  •  No design experience necessary. Templates are available, or start a new design.
  • Entering touchpoint and customer data is easy, and a map is auto-generated for you. As you gather new data and enter it into the system, the map automatically updates to reflect your changes. 
  • Eliminates the need to re-enter your data in a lasting and shareable map format.


Data Capture and Analysis
  • Fast way to capture data.
  • The map is a one-dimensional and linear and customer journey are not.
  • There just isn’t room on the map canvas for specific details, so it lacks important details. You need other documents to provide the “evidence.”
  • It’s easy to enter your data.
  • The map is 3-dimensional. You can attach files and images, so your map tells a story about each touchpoint displayed on your map.  It provides a clear picture of where customers experience pain, when it occurs, who is most impacted and how it affects your bottom line. 
  • Simply click on a touchpoint to open it and see supporting evidence and direct customer feedback about a specific experience.
  • No more flipping back and forth between your map and your supporting documents.
Data & Map Sharing
  • How do you share a whiteboard or wall?
  • If you’re not part of the team that built the map, it may not be easy to understand.
  • Touchpoint Dashboard was designed as a collaborative tool; it makes map & data sharing easy.
  • Once your map is created, the system delivers customized views of information for different stakeholders (executives, managers, associates). Whether you want a high-level, executive report or something that outlines the nitty-gritty details, Touchpoint Dashboard’s unique “dashboard views” and reports provide the information that’s most relevant to your audience in an easy-to-share format.
Customer Journey Measurement &Management
  • Lacks details due to the linear nature of the map
  •  Pulling actionable data out of these maps is not an easy task
  • Touchpoint Dashboard brings your map and customer journey to life in a 3-D format.
  • Tell a story about each touchpoint and can help you assess which touchpoints are costing you most in terms of loyalty, retention and profitability.
  • Generate insightful reports that you can export and save as csv files. You can then import the file into your project management system.  Use this intelligence to create a prioritized action plan for transforming your business and delivering the ultimate customer experience.

We hope this information helps you determine the mapping method that will work best for your organization.  If you’d like to learn more about Touchpoint Dashboard, try it for free for 15 days.  Register now.