The Digital Customer Experience Blog

Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

Take These 5 Steps And Reinvent Your Customer Journey Map

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The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

With the wisdom of this Chinese saying, let's start 'our journey' to discover how the 'customer journey' has changed in the last five years, pushed by the evolution of mobile technology, and what this means for your Brand.

The rise of the born-digital generations of customers (Millennials and post-Millennials) makes your traditional customer journey map obsolete. Every single map that you have used in the last decades is now useless. How can you recover?

In the digital ecosystem, everything changes at such an impressive pace that you risk losing sight if you do not get a new compass, a unique perspective to engage and monetize customers. The disruption brought in by the smartphone is unprecedented and requires drastic measures.

First things first, we need to clarify the difference between traditional customer journeys and the digital customer journey. We can simplify and streamline the two processes:

Traditional Customer Journey

Think of it as a (mostly) linear sequence going from the Awareness to the Consideration and then Purchase:

  • This funnel unravels across few touch points, well-known and presided by marketers;
  • The customer has a limited set of alternatives;
  • The communication is usually top-down and lead by the Brand;
  • Customer's choices are influenced by the 4 Ps of marketing, by routine and the trusted opinions of my closed circle of friends and relatives.

Digital Customer Journey

A neverending journey, not necessarily starting from the Attention/Awareness or ending with the Loyalty:

  • This funnel unravels across an increasing number of touch points, both in physical and digital worlds.
  • The customer has tons of alternatives;
  • The communication is always two-way;
  • Customer's choices are rarely influenced by advertising, price or routine. The circle of trust includes the online communities: social networks, e-commerce reviews, forums and blogs.

The evolution of technology reshapes the essence of the journey and this, in return, defines the pillars of your marketing strategy. In our ecosystem you should never underestimate:

  1. The arise of young customers - the picky millennials and the elusive GenerationZ.
  2. The growth of connected technologies - trackers, wearables, beacons, the Internet of Things.
  3. The dawn of Micro Moments - real-time mobile interactions, driven by specific intents.

The digital customers are accustomed to living surrounded by connected devices that melt the offline and online worlds. They build their identity by interacting with their virtual and pshysical communities, and do not recognize any other way of experiencing (life, emotions, and relationships).

In our markets, made flat by the globalization, your customers refuse to be considered as part of an indistinct mass. Each customer wants to be treated as an individual. This rejection of the massification requires that you invest your marketing efforts on the personalization and relevance of contents and experiences.

Today, there is a question to answer: Why should people buy from you when they can choose from a potentially infinite set of alternatives? You are not simply battling against your neighbors; you are fighting against thousands of suppliers from all over the world. Even a great, unique product might be not enough to win.

What then? The customer experience becomes the real key to differentiate your Brand, and the creation of a new customer journey map the ground to deliver personalized experiences. You need an innovative approach to the mapping of an unstructured journey, or your clients will still be strangers, inanimate figures you do not know anything about.

Luckily, you can still rely on a few basic requirements that have not changed ever since the idea of ‘customer journey map’ was considered for the first time. While the contents and the framework evolves with technology, you will always have to start your planning from these foundational elements:

Buyer Personas + Customers + Emotions + Research + Touch Points + Objectives + Measurement

On the one hand, marketers need to reach the customers when they stand in the early stages of the journey; unfortunately, that is the most obscure moment. The Brands usually know very little about customers' emotional profiles, and the traditional research methodologies does not provide useful data that show what clients were doing and thinking before - let's say - they entered your website or store.

That is exactly why you need a revamped version of the journey mapping. Starting with the following prerequisites.

RETHINK THE JOURNEY

Of course, behind a new mapping there is a new journey. Every single social and technological trend leads to the inevitable reinvention of the customer journey. There is no value in a map that ignores the different sources of interaction brought out by the mobile disruption.

The innovation extends the relationship between companies and people, to embrace the added value for both Brands and customers. Stay eyes wide open and willing to test and learn new means of engagement and fidelization; only then you will earn customer's loyalty and trust.

ENGAGE THE CUSTOMER

The foundational element of the journey is the traveller, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many marketers still design their journey map starting from the company and the products instead of the customers.

Since the whole point here is to improve the relationship between your clients and your business, the only way you can build a map that actually works is to bring the customer's perspective into the process. Describe not the experience that you want to provide (or you think you are providing) but the experience that people expect (and you are actually providing).

UNVEIL THE EMOTIONS

The key is to understand how people take decisions and choose what to buy and how to buy. In a world where the smartphone has become the first screen and the attention span is lower than ever, not all customers are alike, and not all journeys should be considered equal.

People embark on very different journeys, driven by peculiar behaviors and personality traits. Each journey has different touch points that can be influenced by unexpected causes and intents. Individual needs, emotions and expectations lead to very personal behaviors. If you do not study these patterns (i.e. Psychographic profiling), you will not be able to reach the contextualization required to appeal each person.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Mobile technology reshapes the journey, influencing both the space and time of the interaction. The smartphone reboots the entire experience of communicating, searching for information, and connecting with people and brands. According to Nielsen, half of customers believe that mobile is the most important resource in the purchase decision-making.

Mobile platforms already account for more than 60% of total time spent on digital media. Your strategy should think mobile and act local, combining location and behavior to deliver meaningful contents, wherever your customers are. Connect the dots to get a holistic view of the ecosystem.

UNLOCK THE (SMALL) DATA

While it is still hard to understand what customers think and do in the early stages of their journey, companies can now take advantage of something they did not have before. Something that shuffles the cards on the table: small data.

Connected technologies create a large quantity of information about the customer's path; you only have to find the way to unlock the power hidden into this information. The key is to match the different sources and step from Big to Small data. Always remember that the real value not the information itself but what you do with this knowledge.

"Activating customer journeys to capture value requires journeys to be treated like products that need to be actively managed, measured, and nurtured. How well companies are able to do that will dictate how successful they are in making customer journeys a competitive advantage." (McKinsey)

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Connected Health – Technology Shapes The Future of Healthcare

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What do Google Apple and Amazon have in common? They are all betting on the business of the connected health. This new model for healthcare has a tremendous promise and is attracting millions of dollars in investments all over the world.

There is an ambitious goal at stake: the ability to exploit the potential of technology to provide a better service, improve the experience of the patients, and reduce the costs of quality healthcare.

The idea of connecting the new technologies and devices into a unified health platform has its roots in the telemedicine. However, it has gained new momentum in the last few years, with the advancements in connectivity and the spread of mobile devices, lead by the smartphone.

Connected health is a sociotechnical model for healthcare management and deliveryby using technology to provide health care services remotely (...) It uses technology - often leveraging readily available consumer technologies - to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor's office.” (Wikipedia)

The new generations of smartphones, filled with sensors that can gather all sorts of data, have changed the personal behaviors of millions of people, fostering a new - more conscious - approach to health (i.e., the need to track all our daily activities and wear trackers).

From a business perspective, the increased mobile penetration has lowered the costs required to enter the market and has opened untapped opportunities for those willing to invest in the new frontier of healthcare. A few innovative startups paved the way, followed closely by the tech giants.

A huge push arrived in 2014 when Apple launched HealthKit, a dynamic platform designed to track and share with authorized stakeholders and apps a vast range of health and fitness data across multiple devices. A platform paired with the popular Health app included in the latest versions of iOS.

The most promising feature of HealthKit is the possibility to automate the recording of medical data from different sources and to interact with the electronic records systems of the hospitals or medical offices. In this way, the patient’s data would be always accurate and automatically included in personal reports.

In spite of all the startups already working on similar projects, Apple’s health platform has claimed most of the attention, and it is not the only one coming from top companies that have expanded their usual field of action.

Microsoft has created an enterprise Health Framework based on Azure; Google is making significant investments in health, wellness, and life sciences with Google Fit, G Suite for Healthcare, but also spin-offs like Calico and Verily.

Last but not least, Amazon is also looking to tap into this market, with a dedicated top secret lab dubbed 1492. The involvement of such names should not be surprising; we are talking about a market that is expected to reach a value of 50 billion dollars globally by 2020 (they will become 105.33 by 2022).

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What seemed a sci-fi dream only twenty years ago, today has become a desirable - and more than achievable - perspective. We are surrounded by technologies which have potential healthcare applications.

Some are still nascent (i.e., nanobots in our blood), but many others are already playing a critical role in our lives (i.e., wearables, home kits like Amazon Echo), or entering clinical settings faster than you might imagine (i.e., the Internet of Things and the virtual reality).

It is evident that the core of the connected health is made of technology, but we are not talking about just tools and devices here. This topic is relevant also from a philosophical, ethical and business point of view.

The new health paradigm implies (and requires) a structural evolution in the organization of public and private healthcare service providers, and will bring to the disruption of the medical experience (in terms of behaviors, relationships, and interactions).

All in all, we are facing yet another revolution of the medical customer experience. This model, in fact, is built around the person: a patient that is conscious, empowered, and more engaged than ever. Connectivity enables genuine patient focus in the most efficient way possible.

We have all become active health players instead of passive receivers of medical cares, the very same logic that inspired Pegaso Fit For Future, the European project aimed at promoting a sustainable change towards healthy lifestyles for teenagers, leveraging technology with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.

This brand new health ecosystem consolidates information from many different spheres of a person’s existence to give a complete picture that includes genetic, medical, lifestyle, and even sentiment data (the Psychographics influence what we do and how we do it).

This holistic view puts the patient at the center of the healthcare system, disrupting:

  • How medical centers operate (Internet of Things, remote assistance and surgery).
  • How patients control their health (quantified self, home domotics, health apps).
  • How doctors and patients relate (Big and Small data, virtual reality, medical chatbots).

In the next years, and in times of cost cutting measures in the public sector, these trends will have an enormous impact on the quality and timeliness of the treatments.

Yes, there are still substantial obstacles to overcome - regulatory control, data privacy, ethical doubts, adoption practices - but if we win the skepticism and solve the challenges, the future of healthcare will be brighter, and our life longer and healthier.

Photos by Biel Morro and Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

What Are The Top Priorities When You Invest In Experience Strategy?

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Customer experience is one of the most used keywords to define what is happening to business in recent years. Today, the DCX is clearly a priority, but you need to understand how to invest in it to prevent it has not a real impact on your strategy.

What are the top priorities when you start investing in the creation of the best possible experience? Tricky question, especially if your objective is to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. One hint? Start with improving the relationship.

Over the last two years, we have repeatedly referred to a series of statistics by Gartner, still valid today: 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, that will eventually overtake price and product as the primary pillar of differentiation between Brands.

By 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Where should you start? One thing is sure: doing things the way you have always done them or relying on old marketing practices will not solve a completely new set of problems.

From the very first day Internet entered our houses and smartphone took its place in our hands, the experience has become “the experiences”. Digital technologies multiply the points of contact between a brand and a customer and disrupt the concepts of space and time when it comes to the buying process.

The DCX is the result of all interactions a customer has with your organization and its products or services over a specific period of time. The entirety of these different experiences defines the overall relationship, in terms of intensity, relevance, and duration.

When it comes to planning new investments, the focus is usually on the inside: policies, restrictions, roles, and everything that could put the sticks between the wheels. This is important to highlight some key relationships (i.e. with investors, employees, partners).

We know, however, that - in order to be successful - a marketing strategy must start with the customers, their journeys, and touchpoints. The ability to step into your customer's shoes and adopt a holistic approach to the experience strategy is essential to overcome the limitations of siloed departments.

Yet despite all the customer-centric statements and the alleged obsession for customers, few companies actually have a long-term vision that aligns the planning and management of the experience with a business strategy that connects the various departments into a coherent unity.

In a recent report, Altimeter unveiled this discrepancy between what the Brands think they are doing and what is ultimately perceived by the customer:

Experience is thus not about unicorns, rainbows, or soft fuzzy ideas. Instead, it is about a shared value proposition with customers that aligns to your business. (..) Experience is the mechanism through which your business strategy and brand value proposition are activated with customers.

A successful and relevant experience can happen only “when customer experience strategy focuses on and is measured by the strength and nature of the customer relationship. (...) In the end, you can only satisfy people if you deliver what it is that they want, at the time they want it, understanding what is relevant to them at that particular time and place.

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In digital markets, the most precious resource is time. The smartphone enables new behaviors and unlocks access to a persistent source of information. “That little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It is helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It is helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)

Anything can happen anytime, anywhere, and the Micro Moments have become the new battleground. Be There - Be Useful - Be Quick: this is the karma for the new era of customer relationships. If you do not show up, you lose. If you do not deliver contents relevant to the context, you lose. If you are slow and reject the changes, you are wasting resources.

So, now that you are all set and ready to invest in the future of your business, what are the areas you should focus on? We see a few priorities that define the quality of your next generation experience strategy.

CONTEXTUALIZATION

Customer experience defines the success of your organization. To build relationships that are relevant and drive sales, you must understand customers and connect with them on a personal basis. Understanding is the first step of the new marketing funnel, the ground where you build engagement and ongoing customer loyalty.

Today, there is no content without context. And the context implies not only the location or the devices used but also - and especially - the behavioral and emotional peculiarities of each customer. The psychographic profile will tell you everything you need to know to tailor experiences to the emotional preferences of your customers.

PREDICTION

To develop a strategy you always start by understanding where you and your customers already are. Digital technologies generate an enormous amount of data that you can use to extract relevant insights about your Brand and how you preside the touch points of the customer journey.

The Big Data, however, can be overwhelming. They are often too abstract and unrelated to the context. The relations in data are more important than the data itself, so you should adopt a ‘Small Data’ approach and leverage on technologies (i.e. machine learning) to predict the evolution of markets and the results of your investments.

AUTOMATION

The demand for faster responses generates the need for automation. The spread of smart connected machines makes it possible to automate every aspect of your organization, from the internal and productive processes to the relationship with stakeholders, employees, and customers.

The Internet of Things, fueled by the advancements in the Artificial Intelligence, creates a network of smart objects that can communicate without the human intervention. The future of manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and retail lies in the automation, and so does customer support (just think about chatbots, conversational interfaces, and the New Voice of Customer).

Now it is your turn. What are your top priorities? What are the pillars of your customer experience strategy?

Photos byTodd Diemer and Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

3 Areas You Should Invest In To Improve Mobile Experiences

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Today, we do not go online. We live online. Even when we do not use the smartphone, it lies there in our pocket, ready to get into action. This simple fact implies the radical change of our behaviors, as human beings and customers.

The customer experience is always also a mobile experience. One would be led to believe that such a revolution has influenced the way businesses operate, yet most of the times it is not so.

Many companies, in fact, still lack the vision needed to embark on the journey of the digital transformation properly. All too often mobile is seen as an afterthought rather than the cornerstone of the customer experience.

This approach is common to those organizations that are accustomed to conducting the “business as usual” and not for the future, to quote Brian Solis. They walk through the fog without landmarks on the horizon.

When you choose not to evolve, you think you can still market your products and Brand the way you used to. The truth is they cannot survive for long if they keep thinking and acting this way. Something disruptive happened along the way. The mobile disruption happened.

The traditional business patterns inevitably lead to a disconnected and inconsistent experience across the customer journey. You will end up showing different identities online and offline, making the relationship with your Brand a nightmare for customers.

What happens on your digital properties should have the same level of priority with respect to what happens elsewhere (namely, in your physical store). And yet, the mobile experience is still too overlooked.

In a recent data collection report published on Think With Google, a few stats brilliantly sum up this contradiction:

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A negative experience on mobile can alienate the customer preference. What does it mean for your business? First of all, that the entire process of customer experience management should have a common direction, whether it is digital, smartphone, point of sale, social media.

It is less important for a shopper to be present in-store than for the store to be present wherever and whenever a shopper needs them.” (Google)

Google is right at the center of this mobile revolution. Everything started with the definition of the Micro Moments, driven by a specific intent, that can shape the decisions and preferences of customers.

The evidence that the most relevant Micro Moments today happen on mobile devices has then brought Google to change its core business, the search engine, in three steps:

  • The mobile-friendly algorithm, that has caused panic and forced thousands of companies to run for cover and adapt their presence online in the name of a smooth mobile experience.
  • The AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages), that have started the process of separating the desktop and mobile experiences, inducing marketers to invest - time and money - in properly formatted mobile contents.
  • The mobile search index, the inevitable consequence of the new philosophy. The Internet is definitively divided into two separated experiences, with the mobile index destined to become the primary reference for Brands and customers.

Now you know that you have to embrace the winds of change, but where and how? According to Google, there are three areas you should invest in to improve mobile experiences.

HELP ME FASTER

Today, the scarcest resource is not money, it is time. The attention span of your customer is quite low, and your competitors are ready to fill any opportunity you leave unattended.

Thanks to the smartphone, we can take informed decisions faster than ever, and so customers shift their thinking from “Who does it best?” to “Who does it best, now?”.

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Your speed is essential at any stage of the customer journey.

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KNOW ME BETTER

You will never be able to engage customers and earn their trust and loyalty if you do not understand them in the first place. Knowledge is power, and you have all the data you need to accomplish this hard task.

Understanding your customers means not only mapping their journey and behaviors. It means also using the small data to define their peculiar emotional and psychological traits (Psychographics).

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WOW ME EVERYWHERE

Customers expect a consistent experience every time they interact with your Brand. Consistency is one of the key pillars of the customer engagement and becomes even more critical in times of mobile disruption.

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If you see the word ‘experience’ come out very often it is because the difference in the digital markets is not a matter of quality or price. You are no longer competing with other companies in your industry. You are competing with the best experiences your customer has ever had.

Photo by Adrian Sava on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

5 Books Every Digital Marketer Should Read This Summer

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Once you stop learning, you start dying.” This famous quote by Albert Einstein is still relevant to understand a major truth of the digital era: the only thing that is constant is change, and so you should never stop learning if you want to stay relevant.

Of course, this applies both to companies and individuals. Inspiration is all around us and it will empower you to gain competitive advantage, if you can get out of the comfort zone. What better way to improve than by reading a smart book?

The American political journalist P.J. O’Rourke once said that you should “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” What’s not to love about this sentence? Learning is such a critical process that we have chosen it as one of the steps in The DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a guide that’ll help you build an amazing customer experience.

The problem with reading, today, is that we are all caught in a fast-paced world with a short attention span. Too many things happen around us, so many sources to check and so little time to do it. We are quite lucky, though, because someone else has done the hard work for us. Authors that have tackled the challenge to help digital leaders to keep up with the evolution of marketing and technology.

The more provoking is the book you read, the more you will be forced out of your comfort zone. Once you question your beliefs and layered knowledge, then you are ready to move forward. It is not just theory: In the era of the digital transformation you can’t hack your growth if you still rely on the old-fashioned way to do things.

You need innovative approaches to old questions. How can I grow my business? How can I overcome the challenges of the digital transformation? How can I engage and monetize my digital customers? How can I convert random customers into loyal brand advocates?

If you are looking for an answer to these - and many more - business problems, you might find useful insights through the pages of these five books every digital marketer should read.

EVERYBODY LIES, BY SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ

Part technology research part psychological study, this book offers an illuminating look at what the Internet can tell us about who we really are. Everyday we create a vast amounts of information with our web searches, and all thiese data reveal truths about ourselves and our world that we did not even imagine.

What percentage of white voters did not vote for Barack Obama because he is black? Do violent films affect the crime rate? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives? The answers to these - and many more - questions are hidden behind what we type on Google in the safety of our room.

HARNESSING OUR DIGITAL FUTURE, BY ANDREW MCAFEE

Co-written with Erik Brynjolfsson, "Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future" is one of the most exciting books of 2017 so far. This is a must-read analysis of the effects of the digital disruption, a guide for the digital leaders, marketers and CEOs who truly want to understand the power of exponential.

To survive the big wave of digital shifts, in fact, "we must rethink the integration of minds and machines, of products and platforms, and of the core and the crowd. In all three cases, the balance now favors the second element of the pair, with massive implications for how we run our companies and live our lives."

PRE-SUASION, BY ROBERT CIALDINI

Robert Cialdini is the renowned author of Influence, a bestseller dated 1984. At the end of 2016 we have finally seen the long-awaited sequel, titled Pre-Suasion. This book is destined to become even more relevant than Influence because it comes out in a era when marketing and psychology are more intertwined than ever.

What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using a rigorous scientific approach, Cialdini "shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered."

HOOKED, BY NIR EYAL

We always emphasize the importance of a well planned, meaningful customer experience on the road to business success. But there is a plain fact that none can ignore: If people don't like the product you sell, your strategy is more than likely doomed. So, how can you develop and market a product or service that customers will love?

Nir Eyal tries to find an answer in his book "Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products". Want to be the next sensation? Try with the Hook Model, "a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior."

ORIGINALS, BY ADAM GRANT

"Originals - How Non-Conformists Move The World" is yet another brilliant take on how we can generate new ideas, improving the world in the process. Sharing powerful and surprising business stories, Adam Grant offers groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

The book "
explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent."

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

If you need more food for thought during your Summer vacations, you can also download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

“Persona-lize” Your Strategy To Change the Face of Customer Centricity

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Recently, we have talked about Gamification as an unconventional way to engage customers and increase loyalty, in a world where the two go hand-in-hand and are intimately related.

Now we take a step back to move forward, shifting the focus from the engagement to the understanding. Even before thinking about ‘how’ to drive customer loyalty, in fact, you need to figure out ‘who’ your loyal customers are.

Behavioral science has done a lot of work to provide marketers with valuable insights. The aim is to put customers in a buying mood, by pushing the right buttons, finding the right needs to tap and shaping them with the right words.

As an effect, you will be able to drive customers’ preferences and other virtuous behaviors, including positive word-of-mouth, loyalty, and so on. These goals are of primary concern to all marketers, regardless of the industry or the competitive arena.

If word choices reveal - consciously or unconsciously - our state of mind, so the shared language reveals shared meanings, and shows a certain view of the world which continues to strengthen over time.

In the same way, marketing language says a lot about the relevant culture, mindset, and attitude amongst professionals, and the more we think about it, the more we get skeptical about the long-term effectiveness of this approach.

We can sum it up in two questions. The first one is of a purely linguistic nature.

Who Takes Center Stage?

Reach the target audience, shape customers’ needs, drive preferences and choices, stimulate customers to buy. All these expressions have something in common, beyond being overused: the brand takes action, not the customer.

We talk a lot about customer-centricity and the shift from passive to empowered customers, but the reality is that more is said (and “story-told”) than done.

Our language reveals what implicit stereotypes and beliefs are still embedded in our brains, including such of companies and brands actively shaping customers’ attitudes and thus driving desired behavior - but does this not represent a step back from the very concept of customer empowerment?

One of the most important - and most sensitive - issues for brands is customer loyalty. When it comes to loyalty, we use to say that loyal customers are typically those more satisfied, engaged, and delighted.

That is absolutely true, but we are again taking in account solely the perspective of the Brand, and so considering an oversimplified and incomplete version of the reality, the one that better explains marketers’ goals rather than those of the customers.

And here comes the second question:

What about individual differences?

This approach takes into account customers as if they were a single monolithic entity, to be treated in the same way. Of course, as human beings, we are not totally separable: we share common basic human needs, motives and cognitive patterns that determine our spontaneous behavior in response to certain stimuli.

Individual differences, however, play a crucial role in determining people’s preferences and choices, whether it comes to personal life, professional decisions, or purchase behaviors.

Sometimes consciously, sometimes not, our dispositional motives continually shape and drive the experiences that we have, including our buying experiences. So, why should these factors not be considered in your marketing and communication strategy?

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There is clear evidence that tailored messages are considerably more effective than one-size-fits-all campaigns, and that the effectiveness of tailoring increases with greater customization and adaptation to the unique features of the recipient.

For example, as suggested by Higgins in 2000, you should frame your message to match the recipient’s personal goals by focusing either on promoting gains (e.g., “Product X makes teeth stronger”) or on preventing losses (e.g., “Product X prevents cavities”).

Moreover, many other researchers have shown that messages that are consistent with an individual’s motivational orientation are processed more fluently and evaluated more positively than inconsistent ones.

The effects of what we can call the “message/person congruence” have been examined in correlation to differnt psychological characteristics, including the Big Five Factors, by changing the framing of a message to target specific motives, such as desires for excitement and social rewards, connection with family and community, efficiency and goal pursuit, safety and security, creativity and intellectual stimulation (i.e. see Personalized Persuasion).

For years, retailers have been using a variety of personal information, such as purchase and the website journey history, to tailor their online offers to individual customers. But an emerging literature in the field of Marketing Psychology says that personality traits are no less important.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own”, Henry Ford said.

One of the first rules of persuasion is: Know your audience. In a world of companies and Brands striving for relevance, understanding your audience’s point of view is a strong element of differentiation. Understanding every single customer’s point of view? That would be the turning point!

First of all, customers are individuals, and every individual is unique - the way we think, behave, and act, we all do it differently. As the way we communicate to others reflects our mindset, even the way we respond to (and are attracted by) different communication styles changes significantly, depending on our personality. We are more likely to interact, listen, share, believe and be persuaded by communication styles tailored on our peculiarities.

To cut it short, understating customers’ ability to shape the world around them proactively gets into conflict with the very idea of customer-centricity. More, overlooking customers’ individual characteristics undermines the concept of personalization, turning it into a ‘buzzword’ without any substance.

Taken together, these two ‘gaps’ offer huge opportunities for those who are willing to overcome the ‘Business As Usual’ (to quote Brian Solis) and define a real turning point in the world of customer experience. What would you do if you were able to “persona-lize” your marketing strategy?

Cover Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

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The Digital Customer Experience Blog

This site, published by Neosperience, overviews the advancements of digital customer experience in marketing, technology and society. Neosperience Cloud is the technology platform to create engaging experiences for your customers that drive ongoing loyalty to your brand, and faster paths to purchase. It is the choice of the best companies in the world, Winner of the most prestigious global awards across many industries: Automotive, Communications, Media and Services, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution, Fashion, Luxury and Beauty, Financial Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Government and Infrastructure, Travel and Transportation.

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