When I think about Experience Marketing it’s hard to break through all of the complacent and mundane marketing – the ads, memes, and posts that leave me wanting more.
The first experience that comes to mind is a trip my fiancé and I took to Antigua back in September 2011.
We stayed at Sugar Ridge, and I was so excited about the trip that I tweeted them.
And they were so excited (or so they made it seem) that they tweeted me back!
When we got to our decadent room, complete with fluffy bed, ginormous bathroom, and a patio with our own private plunge pool – as if that wasn’t enough – there was a bottle of champagne waiting with a note that said, “Thanks for the tweet!”
THAT was an experience.
And the experience continued throughout our trip.
It also continued online, where they followed me and FOLLOWED UP with me about my trip.
Back then, I wasn’t a blip on the Twitter radar; I probably only had a few hundred followers.
Yet Sugar Ridge went out of their way to give me an experience.
And I’m guessing since I tweeted them they gave me enough influencer “credit” to make sure I’d be tweeting about the rest of my trip, too.
So I ask you:
How are you taking advantage (listening and replying) to your brand mentions?
How are you giving “credit” to the peeps mentioning you (influencers or not)?
And taking it off social, how are you delivering an experience worth tweeting about? Worth sharing? Worth taking the time to leave some sort of peer-to-peer recommendation?
What is Experience Marketing?
Let’s first break it down to Experience and then Marketing.
When we talk about Experience we’re talking about customer experience (CX) or user experience (UX).
You may have seen those acronyms around the social sphere and wondered what they meant.
Customer Experience (CX), according to Wikipedia:
“is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.”
User Experience (UX), according to Wikipedia:
“involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User Experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. User Experience may be considered subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to the system. User Experience is dynamic as it is constantly modified over time due to changing usage circumstances and changes to individual systems as well as the wider usage context in which they can be found.”
Did you happen to see psychographics sneak up on you in that last definition — the behaviors, attitudes and emotions about your products or services?
We don’t tout them for the warm and fuzzies. They have a lot to do with marketing, and Experience Marketing in particular. [More on emotional marketing and psychographics here]
Let’s continue with one more definition to bring it home, and then we’ll delve deeper into the subject.
Customer Experience Management (CEM), in my own words:
The process companies use to survey brand/customer interactions, closely track these interactions through traditional channels — such as purchases or referrals — and social channels, and adding these insights to their CRM or social CRM.
If we add marketing to any of the above terms, we get a little more context into what we’re striving for.
Marketing should be all about the customer experience. Marketing, therefore, should be experience marketing!
Fitting Experience Marketing Into The Customer Lifecycle
We’ve talked about how content fuels your sales pipeline throughout the Customer Lifecycle, now let’s talk about how to incorporate Experience Marketing.
As a reminder, the three phases in the lifecycle are 1) Awareness, 2) Consideration, and 3) Decision.
- Think WHERE. Where are you giving experiences offline and online. How can you incorporate good experiences into those physical or digital touch points.
- Think HOW. How can you great feelings or an experience with your content? Remember both words and visuals can invoke feelings.
- Think CONVERSATION (not campaign). Strategic conversations – online or in person – can help you better understand your customer’s experience from start to finish. Align questions with market research, CX/UX, and ask questions that align with your goals for a particular product or service.
*In my Sugar Ridge example, you can see that they were where I was (Twitter), they made me feel welcome and excited about my trip by tweeting me back, and then continued the conversation by a tweet or two about me coming.
- ENHANCE. As you start to understand more about your where, how and conversation hits and misses, use those insights to create actionable data. Create buyer personas, make a list of FAQs, get ideas for personalization, etc.
- NUTURE. Continue to nurture your relationships by taking them offline or online. Continue the conversation on the channels that best produce dialogue and feedback for your brand.
*In my Sugar Ridge example above, Sugar Ridge probably did a little research, saw this was my 1st trip, or that I was in social media (even though at the time I wasn’t what I’d consider an “influencer”), and continued to nuture our relationship with the champage and the note (even the note would have accomplished this!).
- DATA. Use the data you’ve collected and create profiles in your CRM or Social CRM. Looking at the buyer’s lifecycle, who did they talk to, where did they come from, what channels are they most frequently reaching out through? Recognize patterns with other buyers.
- ONGOING. Use the above data and information not only to continue the relationship, but also to make predictions on “what’s next.” Anticipate the experience your consumer needs and then present it to them!
*In my Sugar Ridge example above, the resort reached out again on Twitter after our stay to see how our trip was. They included details to show they KNEW US (probably by collecting data), and attempted to grow the relationship.
Getting Started In 8 Steps
I know this is not a 100-level post.
But that doesn’t mean YOU can’t track your experience marketing.
Sure there are a giant, fancy companies who have software that will do this for you … Mark Schaefer and I just visited Sprinklr HQ, and that’s exactly what they do (see us and their giant dashboards below):
(And if you can afford them by golly I suggest you run at warp speed to check them out).
If not, start here:
- Invest in a social dashboard that will allow you to track mentions, keywords, and has other discovery tools for social listening (we use Sprout Social)
- ACTUALLY LISTEN
- ACTUALLY RESPOND
- Make notes on your interactions with users in your CRM or Social CRM (again, we use Sprout for our social CRM)
- If available, use lead scoring within your CRM to “score” interactions or influencers (you can also just keep a handy dandy Excel sheet … seriously, good and consistent data in is good and consistent data out)
- Research your competitors (what are their good/bad experiences?)
- Create your own experiences through physical and digital touch points
- Measure the reaction to your experience marketing campaigns (example: In my Sugar Ridge example above, they got many tweets, a excellent review on Yelp and Trip Advisor, a blog post, and now THIS blog post 3 years later)
I think the most important thing is to just get started on the Experience Marketing journey.
Really focus on ramping up your online marketing efforts in 2015.
Like the sign at Sprinklr says in the photo above:
“Engage the voice of your customer to manage experiences across touchpoint.”
Which in my opinion is just a really fancy way of saying, “Think Conversation, Not Campaign.” 😉