In the recent years, it has become quite clear that all successful marketing strategies aim to please the customers. Their voices are the ones that shape the market, establish brands, and directly influence sales, so it seems logical that marketing efforts should work towards improving their experience.
So, what does a CX-focused plan consist of? How do you ensure optimal customer experience through marketing? Why is CX actually the future of digital marketing? Those are all questions we will try to answer in this article. Let’s get going.
What is CX?
OK, the answer to this first, basic question may seem a bit obvious: CX stands for customer experience. However, what does that actually entail?
CX vs. UX
KPMG website defines customer experience in relation to another often used term – user experience. Namely, user experience (UX) describes all of the interactions that a user has with a specific product.
On the other hand, CX represents the entirety of user’s interactions with a brand and not just the product. They illustrate the point with a man who uses an app to book a flight. While his experience with the app (UX) may go without any problems, he might not be fully satisfied with the service in general (CX) if his flight is late or the security queue is unbearably long.
In terms of digital marketing, this means that a user might appreciate the quality of the product itself, while not being so keen on some of the company’s advertising practices, for example.
Parts of CX
So, what does CX consist of? Phil Stephens, the vice president of Signal company states that customer experience is really a combination of direct and indirect contacts that a user has with the company. Despite what you might think, both of these elements are equally important and can affect the way a company is perceived by its audience.
- Direct contact – This is, of course, something that a user finds out firsthand about the company. This can be his interaction with the product, his feeling about the marketing techniques, satisfaction with the brand, etc.
- Indirect contact – Now, indirect contact includes everything a customer hears from other people. At a first glance, this seems like a rather irrelevant part of CX, but the reality is much different. We live in an age where everyone is connected at all times. Social media websites allow us to share our experiences with each other, so companies can easily earn bad reputation if they are not careful.
Emotional Element of CX
Emotions play a huge part in customer experience. It all comes down to how customers feel about the company, its products, and services. Digital marketing that is focused on CX really attempts to trigger emotions that would connect with the brand organically. Some of the most prominent digital marketing agencies use customer analytics to analyze customer behavior and find the right emotional motivators to “exploit”.
Harvard Business Review points out 10 of the most effective high-impact motivators that you can use in your own marketing ventures to make a connection. While you may see the full list on their website, we’re going to list just a couple of them we consider to be most important.
- “A desire to stand out from the crowd” – Everyone wants to believe that they’re special and a good marketing campaign appears to speak to every customer individually. The big question is – how do you create something that speaks to everyone and yet feels intimate and individual? Nostalgic marketing is a good example of that. Customers are collectively reminded of the “good old days” and they all remember personal things from their past.
- “A feeling of belonging to a group or community” – Although we’re all unique (like snowflakes, right?) we still want to find a place where we belong. That is why many companies use membership cards with special discounts, for example. The idea is that you’ll feel a connection both with the brand and other customers, creating a special community.
- “A desire to find oneself” – Life is all about finding and improving yourself in every way possible. A marketing ad that offers you a way to facilitate this journey of self-exploration will, no doubt, trigger positive emotions in you and make you feel a connection with the brand.
CX Tips for the Future
Nowadays, using any invasive marketing techniques simply isn’t a good practice. Thanks to the abundance of information on the internet, the customers have become a lot more cautious, critical, and difficult to please. Because of that, the best way to promote your business right now is to appeal to your customers’ emotions and improve their experience.
Chances are that this customer-centric trend will continue in the future, so here are a couple of tips that might help you establish a better CX in the future.
When it comes to ads, one of the biggest problems for a number of companies is ad-blocking. IAB Tech Lab decided to address this costly problem by tackling the source of the problem – the quality of the ads. In order to avoid having their ads blocked, businesses should follow some user-friendly guidelines, including the LEAN principle. This acronym stands for the following:
- Light – meaning that the ads should be limited in size for better performance and customer experience.
- Encrypted – using https/SSL compliant ads that guarantee customer security.
- AdChoices Supported – basically guaranteeing the privacy of the user’s data.
- Non-Invasive – meaning that the ads shouldn’t disrupt the user’s experience in any way.
Machine learning is becoming more and more popular mainly because it can improve customer experience by a lot. A lot of websites use chatbots nowadays to make the experience seem more personal. In the future, these bots will, no doubt, improve and further facilitate interactions. This is extremely important for creating a positive and productive online community.
Besides that, machine learning can help in a number of other ways. For example, it is quite clear that right now content plays an essential role in digital marketing. In order to make sure it’s as effective as possible, you should research the market and find out whether your content is finding the right audience. Machine learning can help uncover new trends and focus your content so that it achieves maximum results.
While making all these changes and thinking about the grand scheme of things, it’s crucial that you don’t forget about the little things – those details that can make or break any deal. Microinteractions, tiny animations that smooth out transitions and offer interesting feedback to the user, improve customer experience immensely. Remember, though, that the best details are often the one that comes naturally and that users don’t even notice consciously.
Treat Your Customers With the Respect They Deserve
We live in a customer-centric marketing world right now and it’s unlikely that this will change anytime soon. Investing in great customer experience from the very start is a sound strategy that will, no doubt, pay off in the future. It seems quite inspiring that most of the new digital trends actually promote better treatment of people and demand more quality content on the web. Either way, we’re on the right path towards regaining our humanity.