In today’s data-driven market, it’s imperative that agencies begin digging in and asking questions beyond the creative objectives, getting to the root of the business, consumer and macro trends influencing their clients. Experience-first marketing, or CX strategy, is driving business success for brands the world’s biggest brands.
Forrester Research, Inc., defines CX strategy this way: “There is a direct and powerful relationship between customer experience (CX) and revenue. But delivering high-value, personalized experience across human and digital touchpoints is no easy task. It typically requires significant changes in focus, investments and operations.”
Today’s most successful brands, and their agencies, are making this shift. They want to know more than what their clients’ and their customers’ pain points are—they want to get personal enough to define, improve and perfect their experience with the brand.
Where do ambassadors for this type of change begin? Most agencies would probably agree that uncovering insights about a brand’s customers is a basic starting point to launching effective campaigns. The question is: How do they uncover the REALLY good stuff?
Step 1: Get the right people in the room.
You can’t just create a CX strategy in a vacuum, away from the client teams who work with the brand on a daily basis, and say, “Here’s the new vision for the company. Now, go follow it!” You have to have a team at the brand headquarters that’s invested in the idea, and understands its meaning and how they can work together with their agency to make it happen.
Consider forming a strategy development team that includes one member from every department from the client side—leaders with a positive outlook for the future and strong belief in perfecting the customer experience are perfect candidates.
Step 2: Get (more than) acquainted with the consumer.
It’s best to kick this process off with several research methods, including surveying customers and social media listening. For B2B, it’s a little bit different. You might have to put surveys on the client’s website, or pick up the phone and directly ask their customers what they’re experiencing. Organizations that have call monitoring also allow strategists to listen in on and analyze what customers are saying when they’re interacting with the brand, whether it’s a good or bad experience.
Step 3: Build a customer/buyer persona.
HubSpot Blogger Sam Kusinitz defines a buyer persona as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” He adds, “When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”
When creating a persona, strategists dive into discovering who the brand’s customers truly are, how the brand should talk to them and what the customers want and need. This persona lays the foundation for a solid customer experience strategy that provides the best possible experience to the right audience.
Step 4: Draw a map.
The next part of the CX mission is determining what consumers’ purchasing experience currently looks like. This is done by creating a customer journey map. For example, if a customer decides she wants a pair of shoes, she wants to be informed on what to buy and where to buy it. She may go online and inquire about them, and then she actually purchases the product. Afterwards, she might not be satisfied with the product—so what happens next? Was there another bad experience along the way? Listing out those interactions, or touch points, on a journey map gets to the heart of any customer experience snags.
Step 5: Anticipate roadblocks.
The thing about real-life customer journeys, however, is that they rarely follow a single, linear path. There are many bumps and distractions along the way from wanting to purchase something to walking away with the product in hand. On the way to a customer’s favorite burger joint, for example, they might see or hear an advertisement and decide to go for a sub sandwich instead. All of the strategists’ research helps brands to be better informed on where these crossroads might occur, and to help clients plan for them accordingly.
Curious? Contact us today to learn more about our CX capabilities and what our experts can do for you.
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