What is UJaaP?

How it all started

When I joined LANDR in August 2018, one of my first missions was to map out all the communications and campaigns that were being sent to our users.

We were the third or fourth iteration of the Customer Success team and nobody knew the current patchwork in-and-out. There were dozens of campaigns with unclear rules and targets, and even more unclear logic.

It took me almost a full week to review all messages one by one. I checked their copy, their triggers, their timeline, their performances… and mapped it all out with AirTable to allow my team and other stakeholders to understand what was going on.

After that, the first project was to rebuild all that from scratch to make sure it was making sense and not overlapping. At that time, our Head of Customer Success’s vision was to have a handful of campaigns for each major part of our funnel. We’d have one massive Onboarding campaign, one Product Discovery campaign, a Cross-Sell one, an Upsell one, and so forth.

This was mostly meant to avoid any overlap between the messages and campaigns and seemed the best way to clean things up and have a simpler workflow while dealing with the limitations of Intercom that we were using at that time.

And all of that made sense at that time. The tree view of messages following a top-down logic seemed like the best way to approach it based on the tools at our disposal and our Head’s vision. Truth be told, this seems to be shared by other orgs as it was pitched as a good practice by a couple of speakers at Customer Success Summit 2019.

Nevertheless, it felt at that time that we could be using another approach. It took multiple months to formulate that idea and shape it into what we call today User Journey as a Product.

The problems faced by almost all customer teams

Whether it is Success, Growth, Experience or whatchacallit, we’ve seen countless reports of the customer teams facing the same issues again and again.

The messaging campaigns are defined by the stage of the funnel the users are in or by business goals, rather than the user journey. This doesn’t fool anyone anymore and despite everyone’s best efforts it feels less and less human.

The campaigns are made based on the tools and platforms used by the team, rather than the reality of the users. This feels like an original sin as teams are compromising their visions and goals from the get go to fit to their tool of choice.

This in turn generates subsequent problems to tackle: the relevance and timeliness of the messages is often subpar, the amount of messages sent or to internally handle quickly becomes overwhelming for everyone, the onboarding almost never sets the foundation for further onboardings in the user journey.

The consequences are dire

It’s almost crazy but these models don’t benefit anyone. The users are annoyed, the customer teams are overwhelmed and feel they’re doing something wrong, the results of the campaigns are far from optimal, and ultimately the brand or product is ignored by its users.

But this opens a lot of opportunities

When you reconsider the approach and the “everybody-does-that” mindset, and when you accept the problems and their consequences, you sow the seeds for having a virtuous circle.

Indeed, by rethinking the approach and goals, you open up the door to improve your user experience, which will in turn improve your engagement and retention, which will improve your user experience, and so on.

You also free yourself from the constraints of your messaging tool, whatever it is, and craft a meaningful and platform-agnostic strategy.

And this is how the User Journey as a Product framework was born in the midst of a transition of a content delivery platform and the migration of campaigns built to address a 2.4M userbase.

The UJaaP Manifesto

This framework is meant to be flexible, scalable, and meaningful. While opinionated, it’s based on what should be the gold standard for user journeys: the right message at the right time in the right place.

The output shouldn’t be defining the mission. The ultimate mission of a Customer Success or Growth Team is not about just sending zillions of emails but to improve their users’ journey and use of their product(s).

A user should never feel like a message was meaningless. The customer team should be able to identify meaningful touchpoints in the user journeys, based on data or experiments, and trigger micro-campaigns to accompany them.

User journeys are living and breathing products. This is not a “set if and forget it” mindset but one inspired by iterative agile product development. Scope changes as either new features (such as new channels or new campaigns) or improvements (fine tuning campaigns, testing, fixing issues or poor performances); and combine them in sprints.

The benefits of the UJaaP framework

This framework brings a lot of benefits that can be seen very quickly after implementation:

  • By improving the timeliness and relevance of your campaigns, you’ll improve their performances.
  • You increase your velocity so you can ship more campaigns, faster.
  • You go beyond your messaging platform limitations and refuse to be bound by them.
  • You have a better understanding of your performance and the impact it has on your users and on product use.

Core Principles of User Journey as a Product

Although this framework is meant to be flexible, scalable, and meaningful, it is pretty opinionated when it comes to its core principles.

The right message

Have you ever received an email from a service or product you’re using that felt irrelevant to you? Did that make you somehow feel like you were just another cow to milk?

What is the right message? The right message is the one that answers three important questions:

  • why am I getting this?
  • what’s in it for me?
  • how can I get it?

The right time

The right time is often tied to product/service/feature use and activity; rather than a wild guess about what would be the optimal time.

You should leverage behavioral data or events to trigger your micro-campaigns

The right place

The right place is always where it’s most relevant and natural for your user. It might sound obvious but sending an email while an user is using your app/product/service might do more harm than good as it takes them away from what they were doing.

Combined together, a lot of leaks like that can negatively impact your user experience and engagement.


Being data-driven means a lot of things. It’s about letting your ego go, accepting failures like success, adopting an iterative mindset, and leveraging that data to shape and inform your decisions.

Ouput ≠ Mission

In a world of KPIs, OKRs, and other acronyms it’s easy to lose your focus. Creating messages is the output, not the mission.

Your focus should be on improving your users’ journeys. The Micro-Campaigns that you will build are just your output.

Living products

User journeys are living and breathing products. This is not a “set if and forget it” mindset but one inspired by iterative agile product development. Scope changes as either new features (such as new channels or new campaigns) or improvements (fine tuning campaigns, testing, fixing issues or poor performances); and combine them in sprints.

Micro Campaigns

The development of visual builders and complex campaign management system eventually made obvious issues with such tools. More often than not, the easiness with which you can build a complex map of message makes you forget the end-user experience. You end up with a cool looking web of messages and conditions which ends up being a hell to maintain and they don’t always make sense for a user. Nobody wins, nobody’s happy.

Why “micro”?

Based on the observation above, UJaaP was designed to prohibit such constructs. Following the Core Principles previously edicted, the campaigns can only take a certain shape and size. A short succession of touchpoints with a clear and focused goal.

Symptoms of failure

You can quickly identify if it’s not a micro campaign if you have the following symptoms.

You have more than 5 touchpoints

While it might makes sense in your campaign builder, the reality is that there will be a zillion stimuli inbetween each of your touchpoints.

As a user, how can I keep track and sense of that? It’s too big of an ask.

There’s no way that a single goal can’t be communicated in less than 5 messages. If you think otherwise, then the next points will probably enlighten you and change your mind.

You’re trying to get your users to accomplish multiple goals

People are busy. They have priorities outside of your product.

If you respect this, you can’t ask them to accomplish more than one simple thing at once.

As a user, I don’t have time to figure out what’s in it for me? if I have to take 3 actions.

You should be able to show me immediate value with one single action.

Not only will this improve conversion funnels, but it will show mindfulness towards your users.

You’re basing your campaign on touchpoints rather than defined goal

By far this has been the biggest mistake I’ve seen in my career. I can’t even count the number of times people have built their campaigns around X number of emails rather than a goal.

A classic example is a time-limited sale campaign. How often are those designed as

" we’ll do an announcement, then a reminder, then a last chance with a bigger discount "

without even taking into account the benefit for the end-user or any form of goal beyond make cash™

How can this perform when there’s no clear goal or value provided?

Signs of success

You identified a goal and benefit from the start

If you know where you’re going and what’s in it for the user, then everything will trickle-down from here.

You’ll know what to offer, to whom, and why they should care.

Your touchpoints are designed to trigger at the right time and right place

You’re not just mindlessly sending an email every X hour, but you’re building an experience or a journey for your user to embark on at a time and place that will either make sense or be convenient for them.

The scope is defined in terms of entry, content, and exit

Armed with these, you know exactly when people should get in, what they’ll receive and why, and how they will exit the campaign (either by reaching a goal or going through all the steps).

How to implement User Journey as a Product?

Rebuild your journey mapping

It’s often easier to start from scratch than to readapt what you already have. You also free yourself from any bias or tunnel vision that might be residual from the way you used to approach the engagement campaigns.

By now you must be thinking “You’re crazy. It’s going to take ages. I don’t have time to redo everything”.

Yet, this is how you’ll be able to fully leverage everything we described so far.

It’s definitely not a single-day project; but it’s not a 12 months one either.

Get the right tools

I personally dabbled with my fair share of tools and platforms. And nothing comes close of the power and flexibility of Customer.io. If we chatted about marketing automation in the last year or so, I probably annoyed you with my praises for this product.

My preferred features are Liquid which allows personalization and conditional formatting beyond what most of the competition can do, the scalability and reliability of the product, the ability to create and update user properties directly in a campaign.

I don’t get any referral fee, equity, or anything out of this–I just genuinely love this tool.

When it comes to mapping campaigns, if you don’t have a whiteboard at hand, I would suggest taking a look at Miro (formerly RealTimeBoard).

Iterate and improve

It goes without saying that this is a continuous cycle. The same way product and development moved from big milestone releases and nothing in between, customer engagement should also grow past shipping monolithic campaign and into an iterative cycle.

Relentlessly test content, channels, timelines, and ultimately find what yield the best performance for you.


Transactional Email
One-to-one emails that contain information that completes a transaction or process the recipient has started with you.
Conversational Email
One-to-one emails that contain information designed to nudge the recipient into taking an action with a concrete benefit for them.
Promotional Email
One-to-many emails sent about a promotion or an offer
Also known as inwebs, popups, layovers, modals, hellobars, inbrowsers... Message displayed on the website of your product during its use by a user.
Event or set of condition that justifies the sending of a message.
Message sent on a channel to interact with the user.
User Journey(s)
Ensemble of paths a user can take with your product. Range from micro (for instance using a feature) to macro (for instance the lifetime use of your product)