We’re told that life as we know it has changed. Let’s pause and read between the lines. The truth is that change was waiting to happen. Recent events have simply accelerated the pace. It’s still too early to predict where the lasting consequences of our lived experience will land. As we plan for recovery, behavioural data suggests that our needs haven’t changed much. What has changed is how we expect to meet those needs. It’s these expectations – defined by the sum of all brand experiences – that marketers should actively address.
When expectations rise, loyalty may fall
According to Accenture, 77 per cent of consumers – especially a brand’s highest spenders – admitted they now withdraw loyalty faster than they did three years ago. Closing the gap between a customer’s expectations and the reality of their experience makes customer experience design (CXD) a key brand-management priority.
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Use marketing and customer experience to enhance brand relevance
As the lines blur between marketing and CX, brands need to unify experiences across channels. This reinforces relevance and value to close expectation gaps.
Prioritize the new principles of growth
According to research from Kantar Retail, people are increasingly buying because of a brand’s relevance to their needs in the moment, not because of their loyalty to it. Customer attraction, personalization and a focus on customer experience are the new principles of growth.
Marry marketing with customer experience to satisfy customers
If CX is the sum of all interactions with a brand, at every touchpoint consider how marketing can help close off functional and emotional expectation gaps. Pick channels that allow you to deliver memorable experiences, increase personalization or authentically improve time spent with brands. Be cautious about overly focusing on optimization. When designing a customer experience, it can reduce impact, turning brand to bland. Focus on CX to create new value and increase interaction. Whether B2C or B2B, customers share the same humanity, and deserve great experiences that get their attention and increase recall.
Seek inspiration from brands that are satisfying customers
We’ve been inspired by these brands who are meeting customer expectations head on:
- Google Cloud reached the most unreachable top executives and told them about the power of Google Cloud for Business. Sending hyper-personalized biographies proved that investing in audience expectations is crucial to effective marketing.
- KMSZ is a German organization collecting bone marrow samples. It quickly understood how lollipops could become a life-saving experience when mailed to influencers — inspiring young people to donate stem cells.
- The non-profit behind Sesame Street created a workshop that didn’t let parents down. It was created to help parents comfort children and manage anxiety during lockdown. Plus, Elmo’s dad explained racism and Black Lives Matter in this informational video.
Use customizable direct mail to merge marketing and customer experience
Direct mail sits at the intersection of marketing, customer experience and shopping – giving it a unique and customizable role throughout the customer journey. It matches key CX (return on experience) metrics by being memorable, emotionally engaging and promoting time spent. Consider using direct mail to turn your brand, product or service into an at-home experience, extend social content into a physical channel, fill in gaps in customer service or increase your brand’s shopability. If your brand stages events and practises Experiential Marketing (XM), direct mail is especially relevant now. Use it to enhance or supplement your events by integrating physical interaction with digital.
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