We all know what a customer experience (CX) is, too many it is the holy grail of marketing metrics, yet I think as important as the CX may be, overall the results of greater importance is the view, the big picture of the brand experience (Bxp),
Am I splitting words not really? Are the terms interchangeable? The same, or are they something very different? As with many things in life and marketing the view, your point of view depends on your position on the hill.
A few online definitions include the following “Customer experience (CX) is the product or products of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship”.
Forrester Research defines customer experience as: "How customers perceive their interactions with your company." Forrester Research defines customer experience as: "How customers perceive their interactions with your company."
While a number of online definitions for a brand experience includes: “A brand's action perceived by a person. Every interaction between an individual and a tangible or intangible brand artifact can be seen as a brand experience”.
Are they the same or different?
To me the former definition sounds strategic, while the latter sounds operational. As with any plan or program the key to deployment is the tactical and that is what we are missing here and hence the title of this article.
I think a joining of these definitions needs to occur and a tactical definition needs to be developed. Since the CX and Bxp are as viewed by me results of the tactical interaction that is based on the operational effectiveness of the marketing strategy and the direction provided by the corporate strategy of the brand – a more tactical meaning must be developed, I cannot understand how any one can portray a customer experience or brand experience as such with including the media, the tools that are the heart and soul of a marketing effort!
Every interaction or the chronological order or sequence in which the dialogue and engagement begins is critical in achieving the end result, the strategic plan assists in the this phase;
• The operational segment brings the strategic aspect of the plan into plan;
• Contact with the consumer or customers and allows, opens the door to gain closeness with the final goals of the band,
• it is the tactical elements that “gain” the end result; a sale, interaction or action, which is in part based on a successful reaction (interaction) to the messaging and touch points provided by the brand.
When does the CX/Bxp begin?
Long before an CX or Bxp can take place some “hook”, a relevant hook needs to be messaged between targeted demographics or the individual and the brand, so a big part of the Why to me is the when and what is the base of the experience you expect the customer to have while at the brand and when and how you start that experience.
Inset: “All parts of your organization and ecosystem need to be connected and aligned with the optimization of customer experience(s) as the drivers of revenue” Customer Experience: The Guide To Customer Success
There are at least three tiers contained with the action of B2C (and B2B) purchasing the pretail, the retail and post sale, there are more stages that need to be considered, there must be at the brand level a pretail to the pretail, a planning stage that starts to examine the message, content, context, and as stated earlier the tools, media used, value of that media and the deals offered that now in our very personalized experiential world must be as seamless, direct, responsive, personal and experiential as possible. Did I say that each stage must be carefully measured as well?
As a marketer I would prefer the Bxp vs. the CX for a variety of reason, the first and perhaps foremost is the method in which I define the order of the customer interaction with the brand. The interaction means I have the foundation of an experience, and that to me important, once the dialogue has begun, the engagement stage can be developed and that results into a positive brand experience, linked to a satisfied customer, Splitting words, definitions? Maybe but subtle differences are a critical aspect to understand.
Splitting words, definitions? Maybe but subtle differences are a critical aspect to develop, understand and are in many instances are why a marketing effort succeeds or fails.
Inset: “According to a new Microsoft study, marketers are de-prioritizing digital campaign metrics in favor of business focused metrics . . . “CMO Council: Marketers Looking To Measure Customer Experience Based On Business Outcomes, Not Campaign Metrics.
I recommend to my clients that the brand or customer experience begins when the messaging is being developed and in todays active world of big data, personalization of the message, content and context will significantly impact your customers experience and the over all brand experience.
Is the digital customer experience valid as a customer experience?
You have heard it over and over, Customer experience is critical, it is the only thing, and it is the future, all most likely true. I say most likely true since the advertising/marketing/promotion segments are undergoing such massive changes that I am not longer sure if anything we are thinking of today (except what I wrote of course) will have a valid use, be valid in the future. Disruption is just actually beginning and will accelerate at a fated rate as the economy tumbles.
Whether you develop a digital or integrated or legacy program the “experiences” you and that of your customer/client “feel” or are touched by is critical. It seems that digital tools, digital media alone may be counter to the needs of the customer experience, but support the brand experience due primarily to the impact on marketing spend or budgets. Digital tools, standalone seem from the reams of data and studies I view are loosing some of their power, slowing down. All media eventually looses impact, slows after time, the key is to keep the combination, the convergence, the value of the media, the integration of ALL media, channels and tools linked to the common goal, the CX or Bxp or perhaps the newly defined term that combines the two?
Inset: “. . . reduced satisfaction was something few companies manage - cumulative experiences across multiple touch points and in multiple channels over time”? Harvard Business Review: The Truth About Customer Experience:
When does the Customer Experience (CE)/ Brand experience (Bxp) begin and end?
Where does your CE begin, at what touch point do you consider or measure the CE starting line? Does it begin at the product query, a visit to your website, a visit to a bricks and mortar location, an interaction with your personalized sales staff? Where and when?
My experience indicates that the CX/Bxp begins long before the contact, the touch point is activated, and I suggest that the CX/Bxp begins long before the client even enters your brand personalized engagement zone.
The perfect touch point begins when you are developing the message, the content, the context that will define, illustrate your brand, the products and services offered and act as the entry point, an entry point that also servers as a route map to not only a sales, customer engagement, satisfaction, experience but also serves as the base for the much needed analytics, metrics that are a integral part of your marketing effort.
Inset: “Ampersand Mobile has revealed almost half of consumers surveyed have been given a poor mobile experience by brands, with one in three either being irritated or moving elsewhere as a result”. MarketingTech: Brand errors on mobile: How to learn from the millennial experience.
I think your messaging, content, context offers a triad of potential but to me more importantly the touch point is the starting line, it begins with an understanding of who your customer/clients are? Yes you still will need to measure all the clicks, post, shares, views and visits, but why not think of targeting your CX/Bxp based on the tools available to the modern marketer, more importantly to the targeted market you have selected. Media value and use changes based on the generational view of the media or tool, your customer/brand experience need to change as well.
Inset: “Millennial customers are clearly an enormous commercial force to be reckoned with . . . Forbes/Entrepreneurs: 2016 Is The Year Of The Millennial Customer: Is your Customer Experience Ready?
If you clearly define the CX/Bxp expectations based on the demographics of your segmented markets, defined your marketing plan based on an in-depth understanding of those demographics, their needs, the media they find of value, the seamless, responsiveness of your action based tools you will build a business on a strong and some what immune to negative economic conditions.
From where you sit on the hill, what do you think?