How Not To Be Irrelevant When Markets Are Experiences
Today’s customers seek authentic experiences and this fact is deeply rooted in how the economy is evolving. The original economy was agrarian, and people sold commodities they harvested or raised. Thousands of years later, the industrial age arrived. Using commodities as raw materials, people manufactured goods for sale. Then in recent years, manufactured goods became commoditized, giving birth to the now extinct “consumer”, making price supreme.
To compete, businesses began to customize their offerings, and this created the service economy. Customizing a good automatically turned it into a service because it was done just for a particular person. But as the marketplace has flooded with services distinguished mainly by price, services, too, became commoditized.
So now organizations are individualizing services, producing a new form of “economic value”: experiences.
Entertainment parks, theme restaurants, boutique hotels and wine tasting are ready examples. In a customer-driven experience economy, authenticity becomes the key purchasing criterion.
How do you “render authenticity” as a company, retrieving the tribal dimension of the relationship which accompanied us for thousands of years? Shakespeare provided the answer in Hamlet. The character Polonius says, “And this above all: To thine own self be true.”
Authentic brands have a strong sense of their identity and heritage. They respect their history, staying true to their brand archetype.
A more affluent society and technology
The Internet allows customers to compare business offerings quickly without human interaction.
People can buy and sell goods and services on their smartphone, bypassing any middleman. If the Internet is hastening the demise of the service economy, then businesses must replace the service economy with a higher order business delivery system. That system – the customer experience economy – is based on continuously engaging customers in unique, memorable moments-of-truth.
So here are three practical tips on how to stay relevant when markets have become experiences:
Manage the process. First design, create and manage digital customer experiences and/or content associated with those experiences starting from buyer personas design, customer journey mapping and content authoring tools, with a special focus on inbound marketing.
Engage customers, but also business partners, and employees. Choose a technology provider able to support the customer interactions themselves, transforming content based on proximity, device and contextual factors, where consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status, etc.. Think mobile-first, and enable your customers to earn currencies of change thanks to gamification: personalized rewards, incentives and discounts that help them increase wellness, strength, acquire new skills, knowledge, etc. Support commercial transactions: e-commerce and hybrid commerce; and social interactions on all screens: smartphone, tablet, computer, smart TV.
Measure the reaction to the experience and learn. Leverage analytics to extract insights from data that reveals what users do within a touchpoint and how they react to what they experience. A/B and multivariate testing tools help to try variations of a design on specific audience segments before rolling them out to a larger group. And integrate this feedback into into customer engagement practices, such as automatic contextualization, with personalized best offers.
In customer-centric markets, you need a guide to rewrite your strategy and engage with empowered customers. If you want to provide a strategic advantage to your organization download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.