Marketing: New architects of the customer experience?

customer experience

There seems to be a theme emerging on {grow} over the last few months and it is this: How can be effective marketers and have any influence over what has become a very strange and complex The customer journey (my friend Krista LaRiviere of gShift called this the “dark funnel“).

As much as we might long for the days when we created a strategy to drive traffic and convert to sales, this linear and measurable path is becoming increasing elusive. The customer journey is more tangled than the power cords in my computer bag. And that is pretty tangled.

I have been thinking a lot about this. Is there even such a thing as a defined customer journey any more? If we ever figure it out, it’s probably going to just shift again.

Over the last few months, many awesome people have called me and invited me to speak at a corporate event or conference. And each time, I ask them, “How did you find me?” Every single one of them had a different answer. Like I said … the customer journey is TANGLED!

A new vision of the customer experience

I don’t usually use this space to promote individuals, companies or products but I would be remiss as your friend and as an educator if I didn’t point out a wonderful new book by Brian Solis: X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.This is a unique book packed with unusual and thought-provoking perspectives on “the tangle.”

I’m not getting paid for this view, I simply believe this is a book that can help people and start them thinking in some new ways … which is the impact it had on me. Years in the making, “X” is an intellectual and visual triumph … and I’m not easily impressed : )

I was so inspired by this book that I invited Brian Solis on my live-streaming show Social Media Office Hours to dive into some of these vital topics.

“The magic today is the experience is that people have and the experience people share,” he said. “It surprises me how many companies don’t think about that and actively try to architect what those experiences should be.”

Isn’t that a fascinating idea — proactively laying the ground for customer touch points, as multi-dimensional and shifting as they might be.

Businesses still expect people to come to them. That’s not the way the world works any more. How does marketing adjust to this reality?

I recorded my interview with Brian and you’ll be amazed at how much ground we cover in 30 minutes. Here are a few of the topics we cover:

  • What are the basics of the customer experience today?
  • How do we apply Marketing 101 to the new customer journey?
  • Is it practical to even try to map a customer journey today? Is it to complicated to understand?
  • What role does social media play in this journey? Is it still relevant?
  • How is the customer journey radically different today compared to just a few years ago?
  • Why the customer journey is a ‘bolted on and duct-taped” path that does not meet the needs of digital natives.
  • The one fact that leads Brian to believe the customer journey is ripe for disruption.
  • Case studies on companies who are creating optimized customer journeys.

Join us on this jam-packed video interview, won’t you?

If you can’t view the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube: Brian Solis on marketing and the customer experience.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Tamara Leaver with my words added.

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  • There’s a lot of truth in this, but I don’t think it’s anything new. We’ve often said that the brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what your customer says it is – and that concept is wrapped in what the customer experience is. I tell my audiences that you don’t need consistency in just your marketing – because everything that you do is marketing.

  • I think the thing that is new here is the fragmentation of the customer experience. It used to be somewhat linear because the communication options were somewhat linear. I think the new idea here is attempting to engineer touch points. In some cases I don’t even know if that is possible. : ) Thanks for the comment sir.

  • I had two experiences in the past month that couldn’t have been more different. Company A had horrible customer service that negated the great marketing that made me a customer in the first place. The other amazed me so much I had to tell people how great and unexpected the brand was. Is there a reason that customer experience could be so different in two companies with the same basic product? How to ensure that the customer experience at each touch point translates in execution?

  • That is THE question, isn’t it?

  • That is THE question, isn’t it?

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  • philm@zuggand.com

    Great write up Mark. At my firm, we also believe customer journeys have become extremely complex to manage. Brands need to simplify their interactions and standardize how they interact with their customers. Give them less touchpoints and give them one place to go to interact with the brand. And let the customer control their experience. They want to be empowered, not managed.

  • philm@zuggand.com

    Great write up Mark. At my firm, we also believe customer journeys have become extremely complex to manage. Brands need to simplify their interactions and standardize how they interact with their customers. Give them less touchpoints and give them one place to go to interact with the brand. And let the customer control their experience. They want to be empowered, not managed.

  • Pingback: Marketing: Architects of the customer experience? | HE Marketing()

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  • magnipath

    It’s interesting that you refer to “the customer journey” as a singular journey that serves as a pattern for all customers. That rarely exists. Instead, each journey is unique based on the customer. This is why the customer journey is so vital to personalized marketing.

  • magnipath

    It’s interesting that you refer to “the customer journey” as a singular journey that serves as a pattern for all customers. That rarely exists. Instead, each journey is unique based on the customer. This is why the customer journey is so vital to personalized marketing.

  • Pingback: Measuring Customer Experience | Benjrees()

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