Customer Experience is the New Battleground

‘The All New ‘i’ experience on ‘e’ world’

Throughout the year 2014, Nike+ recorded every mile that its users ran, every second they trained, and every fuel point they earned. Fast forward, Nike partnered with McBess, an acclaimed French illustrator – director, to create more than 1500 hand-crafted animation clips, from the Nike+ movement data. This populated a custom cloud server to extract more than 125 million frames for creating personalised, one minute animated videos for over 100,000 Nike+ users. Each of this video summarised the user’s activity over the past 12 months, and was timed accurately to be sent out in the New Year (2015) to ensure that not only the members hit the ground, but also excel their 2014 achievements.

These personalised your year with nike videos accomplished the sole objective for which they were created. Their impact can be aptly encapsulated in three words.

Surprised. Inspired. Motivated.

The Nike+ members went virtual en masse to voice their opinions, and simultaneously pledge to accomplish the goals as shown in their personalised video clip.

The online and print media were also equally thrown off their seats at the mega success of Nike+ campaign. Which, of course, in turn worked in favour of Nike because it generated huge positive PR vibes! Not to forget the 100,000 brand advocates.

What would you call this type of phenomenal marketing?

Welcome to an era of crafting an experience for every customer individually at scale; an era called Experience Marketing! Powered by Technology!

Experience Marketing: The Next Big Change

Is it truly possible to offer a tailor made experience to every single customer, across all touch points of interaction? Or can the brand go beyond the personalized experience? The experience marketing is leading the brands and the marketers to an iceberg of discovering their customers in all its micro details, thereby unfolding a new opportunity ahead.

Let us see what is driving the experience marketing wave.

Big Data

Leading this new marketing change is the Big Daddy called BIG DATA. Every single second a multitude of information is on a deluge. Your customer is revealing more of him than ever before, brands just need to exploit and explore, connecting the dots across their digital footprints.

Channel Proliferation

Newer platforms of interaction offer better propagation of the message. Alternatively, these platforms also provide you with data to generate valuable insights, thereby giving you 360 degree understanding of customers. Channel proliferation is creating a cross platform identity, to enable informed, two – way, direct and measurable customer interactions with the brand.

Technology Consolidation

Big data and channel proliferation together, have made the need for technology consolidation denser. In order to cross perform and leverage the insights in a better way, from every channel for use across any channel for the better good of all; the technology has to be strengthened and combined as a universal force.

The resulting combustion from these three driving forces is experience marketing, which is broadly a mix of two trending approaches in marketing.

  • To cover the depth of individual customer needs and wants, likes and dislikes for stronger and meaningful interaction.
  • To sweep the length and breadth of the market with easy connectivity and stake market reach with a customer delight experience to capture his interest with the brand.

Simply put, experience marketing is integrating your brand with a customer’s meta story, to offer what he needs, when he needs, where he needs and in a way he needs, continually to exceed his expectations each and every time both in the real and virtual world.

Managing Expectations

Experience marketing ultimately and practically culminates into managing expectations of the customers. The experience of the customer is the difference between what actually happened and what was expected.

To bridge this gap, the brands need to be ready to expect the unexpected and develop a proactive, futuristic approach to handle the dynamic landscape of changing customer expectations. This can be explained with a simple equation.

Know your customer expectations well to manage his expectations = Sustain

Deliver better and effective services that exceed their expectations = Progress

“The customers of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive, they will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalise the experience. Immediate resolution will be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs,”  states theWalkers Insight, Customers 2020 report.

However, the pace of change that has made digital omnipresent and all encompassing too fast in our lives may seem to render the customer’s pattern of interaction random and chaotic now; thus defining two essential prerequisites for a changing paradigm like experience marketing.

  1. A comprehensive and consolidated, real time personality of an individual across all his online and offline interaction.
  2. A powerful and potent technology platform to unravel this personality with defined analytics, for prediction, automation and delivery across channels to ensure right interactions occurs at the right time in the right channels with the right customer.

“We need to stop thinking about digital marketing and think more about marketing in a digital world.” Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing Unilever

The digital world is now an integrated and a normal course of phenomena in the lives of people worldwide. They use the internet to enhance their real world experience – be it for workingout or shopping; be it for their daily needs to seeking life partners. The boundaries between the online and offline world have blurred; only to seek more personal value and individualised unique experience across channels. Digital marketing now seems to be a limiting option, as far as providing a unique personalisation to the customers is concerned. Customers don’t want to be perceived at people who can be ‘”marketed at”. Rather, they are now looking for products and solutions, which can add a personal value and make them feel connected to the brand, across all channels.

Brands need to engage consumers at every step of their decision journey. Being “always on” everywhere is the new norm.

With a plethora of tools now available in the market to create that magical whole one view of a customer, achieving relevance on a per channel per interaction basis in itself a relevant goal. Technology is giving marketers the tools that they need to do more and do it more effectively, irrespective of the fact that they source this capability in-house or hire an agency to manage it. That includes buying media programmatically, optimising creative, placement, and audience,  re-targeting likely customers, and measuring the results in near-real time.

Like Nike, instead of connecting with a million people at once, brands need to connect with one person at a time and do it a million times.

  • Capture every single interaction and gather data to understand individual customers and help shape their experiences.
  • Automate and deliver integrated, relevant experiences 365 days, 24/7 across any channel.
  • Help to analyze, predict and measure the results both in business and customer value.

Customers are shifting to a virtual experiential world. It’s about time that the marketers and brands, too shift their gears from digital marketing to experience marketing. It’s about time to join a revolution that promises audience delight, customer loyalty and revenues. It’s about time to scale up your expectations with the unexpected. The technology is ready and enabled to make the customers a focal point, and drive the brand value and differentiation.

Tarun Mitra

Founder & Creative Strategist @practicenext interested in Building Brands with Digital DNA, Design, Fashion & Beer. Founder/Ex-CEO @LurnQ, Ex-VP @aptechltd

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