Forty years ago, customer experience was a simple matter. You walked into a store, where the owner likely knew your name, your parents and your entire family history. You may have placed an order, but the most likely option was simply to find an item close to what you were looking for, make your purchase, chat and leave. Today’s customer experiences are vastly different, and digital marketers are looking to leverage the same type of personalization you could expect in yesteryear in today’s online experiences with their brands. How large of a role should customer experience play in your digital marketing strategy?
What is Customer Experience?
Every single touchpoint with an organization comes together to build a comprehensive user experience. Here’s some examples:
- A friend recommends a new shampoo on social media, so you buy it at your local grocery store, where you happen to have a frequent shopper’s card. Several weeks later, you receive a discount coupon for that brand of shampoo (or a competitor!) in the mail, along with coupons for other items you buy on a regular basis.
- You start price-checking a specific drill on your phone on the Home Depot website and decide to purchase it in the store. However, when you enter the hardware store an associate is rude so you leave without making a purchase.
- You see a review of some cute shoes via a Google search, and order those shoes from Zappos online (now owned by Amazon). The shoes are delivered in two business days for free. They don’t fit, so you return them in the pre-addressed package for a full refund.
Each of these snapshots shows you how the customer journey today crosses physical and digital touchpoints to build your thoughts and feelings about a brand. Even after several positive interactions, one negative feeling can sour a customer on making purchases of or from that brand in the future. Alternatively, a great experience can be a reason for customers to go out of their way to craft a positive review of your brand or service to share with the world. The transparency of today’s customer experiences makes managing this interplay a critical piece of your digital marketing strategy.
Organizations of all sizes are looking to the internet and online sales for differentiation of their brand from the myriad competitors in the marketplace, but is your web presence helping or hurting your sales? Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly or that don’t load quickly enough cause exceptionally high bounce rates, when users hop on and hop directly off your website without clicking through a few links or taking any action on the page. Marketers see these metrics using free tools such as Google Analytics and look to their colleagues in technology to determine how to improve the overall customer experience. However, the IT team is not always the best place to find marketing-minded individuals, so what’s a smart marketer to do?
Digital Marketing Strategy
MarTech, or marketing technology and operations, has become a standalone department in many organizations. Bridging the gap between marketing and technology, these tech-minded marketers are able to cast a vision of a viable customer journey and define it in such a way that technology can provide execution. This highly-strategic role is one that many smaller organizations outsource to trusted partners, as the unique skillset is not found within many businesses. Digital marketing professionals fully understand the tools and techniques available to craft a cohesive customer experience that crosses multiple web properties and ultimately drives more sales.