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Email Marketing | Analytics

Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp

Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp is a convenient new tool that helps visualize communication with the audience. Mailchimp develops faster than the others because developers constantly improve its interface, add new functions, and recompile pricing structures. The platform changes so quickly that it became the reason for a funny situation in the email community. A marketing expert wanted to do two imports into the subscriber list. He did the first one and everything went well. When he started doing the second one a few moments later, he noticed that the import interface and the process itself had already changed. It made him so puzzled, that he could not complete the second import from first attempt.

All of these changes left Mailchimp behind its competitors with regard to the convenience of making automated sequences of emails. To get back on track, the developers added the Customer Journey Map. Let's take a look at what it is and how the new tool changes the work of the platform.

What was so inconvenient about the automations in Mailchimp?

Automations in Mailchimp have always had a linear structure. Visually, all the emails stood one under the other and it was not always convenient.
For example, after the first email, we send the second one with a promo code for those who have opened the first email. For the ones who haven't, we send a different email. Each email has a setting "x days/hours since the previous email," which is necessary to set the sending time. As emails in Mailchimp visually go one under another, it is difficult to say what to consider the previous email: the latest email the user got or just the latest email in the chain? This could only be checked in practice and was not very convenient. When more complicated mechanics were created, the user faced even more problems with the logistics of sending emails.

Customer Journey Map system is more flexible and clear for the user. On one hand, it is supposed to give more opportunities for automation, on the other hand, it should be more transparent. Many ESPs have similar maps, now Mailchimp has them as well.

How to start working with Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp

New automation can be created either through the Create option or through the Automations option. In the latest option you can't create classical email-chains, only Customer Journey Maps. Now it is the most preferable way to create automations and classical email-chains will probably be completely removed after a while. As for now, they can be created in the tab Create → Email → Automated.
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New automations can be found at Automation → Customer Journey, but not in the Campaigns tab where they used to be. There, a new or old automation can be created through the Create button in the top right corner.
Aside from that, the logic of interactions with the automations remained the same. In the general menu they can be:
  • launched,
  • stopped,
  • edited,
  • copied,
  • deleted.

Creating and setting a Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp

Press Create and set a name for the automation.
First of all, we should choose the Entry Point — the main trigger which will launch the automation. It can be:
  • the subscriber gets into the list;
  • the subscriber gets a tag;
  • the subscriber`s additional field is changed;
  • special date;
  • purchase.
All in all Mailchimp offers six categories of variants with about five items in each. Because new functions are in beta stage, many options are not yet available. They will be added as the service develops.
It is difficult to say how long this will take. On one hand, we have an example of Unisender which has also launched the Customer Journey Map with limited functions on its service. However, the functions were added really slowly, so it took literally years. Even now, some of the functions promised at the release stage are still unavailable. On the other hand, Mailchimp is the platform which adds and implements new features faster than others. If they will stick to the same approach here, then it's quite possible that in two years they will not only implement the promised functions, but will also change Customer Journey Map for something else.

Audience acitivity

Let's go through all of the entry points offered by the platform.

Tag added

The subscriber gets a particular tag. Tags are often used to highlight subscribers within one list. For example, ordinary subscribers and customers. As soon as a person buys something, he or she gets a tag and can be sent personalised automated emails.

Sign up

A person has subscribed for the list. With the help of this entry point a welcome chain can be created.

Audience field changes

We send emails if a person has the additional field meaning changed. There is quite a number of scenarios where this entry point can be used. The number is limited only by the ideas of the marketing expert. The subscriber may get a certain number of points, to fill in the questionnaire, to do some action on the website, etc.

Joins audience group

We send emails if a person enters a group inside the subscription list.

Leaves audience group

Opposite to the previous point. We send emails if a person leaves a group.

Date & Special Events

Sign-up date

The chain is launched in relation to the subscription date. You can congratulate people on being with you for some particular period of time, for instance half a year or a year.


We congratulate a subscriber on his or her birthday. It is important that we can not only send an email on the birthday date, but also build emails relative to this date. For example, we can give a present beforehand to enable a person to treat themselves and choose a present for the important date.

Specific date

Any special date.

Recurring date

Potentially this is a very interesting thing: it is easier to congratulate a subscriber with an important date which is repeated annually. It can be, for instance, a professional holiday. We had a similar task when we worked with "Live!" charity foundation. Some years ago, when Mailchimp did not have many functions, Birthday field was used for this. An important date was put there and the chain was built in relevance to it. Now, as we can see, there are two fields for it: with the recurring and the specific date.

E-commerce activity

This automation works if you have an integration with your online-store. At present, only one item is available here, so most of the options are better implemented through the the old automation.

Buy any product

You can express gratitude for the subscription or cross-sales if it is appropriate.

Abandoned Carts

It is probably the most popular chain for e-commerce. In Mailchimp everything is very complicated with abandoned carts. If you are satisfied with a block editor, you can send abandoned cards directly through Mailchimp. However, if you want to use HTML, then Mandrill — the add-on for MC — must be used. That is why it's interesting if the new automation will make it possible to use not only a block editor but also HTML with the opportunity to add dynamic content with products.

Buys a specific product

An automated email chain works only for the users who bought a specific product.

Doesn't buy a product

Automation for those who haven't bought anything. The main goal is to motivate a person for the purchase.

Buys from a product category

Bought a product from a particular category. It is possible to mark the basic categories in your store and to develop chains for them.

Time since last purchase

The chain which is supposed to get the user back to make a purchase if he or she hasn't bought anything for a long time.

Marketing Activity

This automation is what MC has always lacked. As it is now possible on a good level, it will really push the platform forward as far as segmentation and automated chains go.
It is worth to be mentioned, that there is a need for the option to choose which part of mailing the user interacted with. From that, we will get pretty flexible segmentation and more opportunities in the platform. To see which special link the subscriber clicked on in the mailing - this is what most of self-send platforms lack and what often restricts the user. When this function is implemented, it will become much easier to re-subscribe users and to single them out into segments after the questionnaires.

Api & Integrations

Emails on API-request are, as a rule, trigger emails which can also be realized through Mandrill.

We got acquainted with the entry points offered by Mailchimp. However, it is much more important to have an opportunity to combine these conditions during email chain making, and not only at the beginning. Let's have a look at how it is done here.

Each automation may have several Starting Points which launch an automation.
It is possible to add additional conditions to starting points to segment the users.
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Development of an automated email chain

When we choose a chain for activation after a person has subscribed for a list, we can also add the contacts we import. This function was available in old automations as well.
The block on the left has conditions and actions which can be added to the chain:

If / Else

This is the condition which is checked before sending an email.

We make conditions for the segment and can choose two types of communication: for the ones who meet the conditions and for those who don't.


Waiting for some action from a subscriber. For instance, purchase or adding a tag. As of now, not many options are available, but in the future this function is promised to be broadened. For instance, the possibility to choose people according to the following criteria will be added:

  • bought a specific product;
  • bought nothing;
  • birthday;
  • X days since the last purchase;
  • received and opened a particular email.


Here the delay before the following action is set.
After that the email can be sent or some other actions towards the user can be performed.

Send email

Sending an automated email.

Add or remove tags

Adding or removing tags to the subscribers. This is very convenient if you want to segment the subscribers according to their actions in the automated chain.

In the bottom left corner there is a Journey settings tab. Here you can set a name of the automation and additional conditions. For instance, the automation may be activated each time the user goes through the entry point.

How Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp can develop

Customer Journey Map in Mailchimp gives a user more opportunities. For now, most of the functions are not yet implemented and the further development of the service depends on how quickly Mailchimp specialists will be able to do it. There is an example of ESP adding the same functions but pulling back the final release for a long time. It could be years before we see the implementation of everything promised in the Customer Journey Map. On the other hand, Mailchimp develops very quickly and adds new updates which will allow them not to repeat mistakes of their colleagues from other platforms.
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