Consumers today believe they deserve a unique, invested experience, right now. And if you can’t provide it or align with their core values, they will quickly find it somewhere else.
Driven by ongoing digital disruption, hyper-adoption of new technologies, the role of social media, instantaneous customer service expectations and the blurring of the physical and digital worlds, “digital marketing” has taken on a completely new context and level of complexity.
The Digital Experience (DCX) is how customers perceive their interactions with a brand’s digital properties, content and utilities. It focuses on experiences (both rational and emotional) and data as the core catalysts to engage consumers and amplify brand advocacy.
There is content, aimed at building emotional connections through value, relevancy and engagement. And then there is commerce, aimed at driving consumers on a path to purchase, with key rational actions and motivators.
Every brand touch point must convey the brand’s core value for the customer as well as the brand’s beliefs, building alignment through not only messaging, but moments that will be memorable to them.
How does a brand connect with consumers in a hyperconnected world where brand loyalty is fleeting? Through a comprehensive Digital Customer Experience.
A valuable, actionable DCX must:
- Be Consistent: Brands that deliver conflicting messages about their products, services or values have no hope for swaying purchase intent or creating loyal customers. This applies to not just digital marketing but every channel that touches the consumer from your employees to their mailbox.
- Evoke Emotion: When consumers remember a positive brand experience they speak of it in emotional terms, how it made them feel and how it fits within their lives. When they recall negative experiences they speak about in terms of function (price, how the product works etc.). This means that evoking emotion and positive brand experience go hand in hand.
- Deliver Actionable Value: A good DCX must provide something that serves me, something I didn’t know, right away in trade for my time, engagement and personal information. Action in this new world means involvement and interaction, where each interaction provides insight to be leveraged by the next interaction, and so on.
- Focus on Relevancy: Timely, localized, relevant and personally meaningful based on my interests, interactions and my other relationships (personal or as a brand). Resonant, memorable, and attuned to my likelihood to act based on time and device — am I in lean back and dream mode, or lean forward and act mode.
- Be Efficient: Content must be built for my digital appetite. This means knowing the time of day at which I am consuming it, where I typically travel, the devices I switch between and my time to consume content. Unified and interconnected across my digital devices, platforms, and even in-person channels (e.g. messages provided by in-store greeters).
Too often, brands are stuck in “inside-out” thinking: “How can we get the customer to think/feel/do what we want them to think/feel/do?” This approach will rarely result in the type of long-term engaging (and profitable) relationship that the brand actually seeks. A valuable, actionable DCX needs to take an “outside-in” approach, or put more simply: customer-centricity.
In order to bring a DCX to life, there are a few critical deliverables:
- Determine “Signature Moments”: These are the moments that matter most: what a person remembers — and shares — about their experience. It can be the removal of pain points, the reduction of friction across the consumer journey are simply an unexpected moment that surprises and delights the customer.
- Decision Points Map: Aiding the customer at these key moments of choice can elevate the experience. Facilitate important decisions and guide at points of stress — limiting the number of choices, and provide confidence and confirmation that they are indeed making the right choice.
- Omnichannel Pathing Through the Journey: Determining how consumers take different paths through their larger consumer journey, across a variety of channels, helps to identify how we link discrete services, content and tools to one another to focus on improving both the micro- and macro-experience.
- Points of Friction: Focusing on the moments of transition between channels and experiences, using context and data to ensure seamless experiences allowing consumers to continue their journey no matter where (or when) they are.
- Enrichment Attributes: These are the behaviors that consumers regularly take as they move through any relationship with a brand, offering further opportunities to enhance that relationship beyond the purchase: supporting social interactions, providing entertainment, enhancing productivity, etc.
A cohesive DCX is ultimately a reflection of overall brand health and awareness, from staying top of mind in the frame of consumer intent and consideration, to deeper indicators like “does the brand reflect my values,” “am I consistently brand loyal,” and “am I a vocal advocate,” while maintaining focus on driving those actions toward purchase and advocacy.
Jeff Anulewicz is Executive Director, Strategy at MXM, part of Accenture Interactive. Helping brands make sense of a constantly changing digital marketplace, his in-depth understanding of the convergence of marketing, media, technology and consumer data has earned him a reputation as an innovative digital expert and lead consumer engagement strategist. Over his 20-year career, Anulewicz has worked to ensure innovative ideas exceed expectations, while leading teams to combine emerging technology, creativity and data to drive real business results.
With category expertise that spans loyalty, automotive, CPG, e-Commerce (merchandising, CRO), consumer electronics, financial services, pharma, entertainment and experiential (events, retail), Anulewicz has had the pleasure to work with such prestigious Fortune 500 brands as FCA, General Motors, Ford, Coca-Cola, J&J, P&G, Kraft, Kellogg’s, SeaWorld, AT&T, Taubman and Oracle, among many others.