One of the great challenges of creating a Hero-ClassTM customer experience is that often the first step in the customer experience occurs before your customer ever begins transacting business with you.
Sometimes, this first step is beyond your control, for instance, word of mouth. What someone tells a new customer about you — whether it be positive or negative — is the beginning of that customer’s experience with your brand.
Just as often though, the first experience a potential customer has with your company is through exposure to your marketing. And that step is within your control.
Obviously, marketing has its own objectives — to drive new customers, to establish awareness, etc. Yet, once a marketing strategy is under consideration, an additional layer of analysis is deserved, one that analyzes the way an ad or campaign fits into a holistic view of the customer experience.
While this type of analysis has the potential to lead to an infinite number of causalities and results, three basic questions should help focus the discussion on the most important aspects of viewing marketing through the lens of the customer experience:
The 2nd and 3rd questions above might have been useful in the launch of the Segway.
The Segway is perhaps the poster child for an over-hyped product that did not deliver. The expectations created were that the Segway would be a revolution in how people moved from place to place.
The Segway was revolutionary, in that it was different, but it was not a revolution because it caused more problems for individuals (rain, storage, municipal restrictions, etc.) than it solved. The Segway set extremely high expectations as a product that it did not deliver on.
Worse, the Segway was so over-hyped that it set expectations of large changes in the way whole populations would commute. It would deliver benefits to society, not just individuals. Too slow for roadways and too fast for sidewalks, the Segway quickly found itself unable to deliver on any of the macro social benefits that were promised.
Segway is still around — but as a niche product for tourism and security/law enforcement.
(PS. They are really fun to drive if you have the chance.)
Will viewing marketing through the lens of customer experience dramatically change the way you market? Probably not. However, understanding that your marketing has ramifications past getting customers in the door and extending to what they experience once they get in that door can inform a broader discussion of how your marketing has an impact later in the sale.
That understanding can help shape ads and campaigns so that they not only catch attention and inspire action but also create the foundation for a great customer experience that results in positive word of mouth and customer retention. It can help not just make a sale but lay a foundation for long term customer loyalty.
However, if you’re in a large company, good luck selling the marketing department on that.
Have you ever had a customer experience that differed from the expectations set by the organization’s marketing? How can you get marketing departments to consider the impact of programs on the customer experience when none of their success metrics are tied to it?
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