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How Marketing Creates Great Customer Experience
Part 1 of 4 - It's More than Marketing-as-Usual

Lynn Hunsaker, Chief Customer Officer - ClearAction Continuum

SoCal BMA Blog - Lynn Hunsaker - CX Marketing.jpg

Marketing’s role in customer experience (CX) management can be powerful, especially if it’s managed holistically.

I invite you to step back and think about what makes or breaks great experiences for yourself as a customer. For products or services you buy for more than $100 a month, pick one where you’ve switched brands, and answer this quiz:

  1. What was most instrumental to your decision to switch: deals or respect?
  2. For the brand you switched from, which organizational unit was probably the cause of your decision to switch?
  3. Was your switching decision based on a one-time effort by Marketing, or by a pattern or series of experiences you had? 

When I ask those questions to my friends who aren’t in business it’s very interesting to see how quickly they answer: 1. respect, 2. legal or engineering or accounts payable or marketing or other, 3. a pattern or series. These answers tell us that business-as-usual in Marketing may be leaving money on the table when it comes to achieving the full potential of great customer experiences. 

CX is Longitudinal – It’s More Than Transactional
Marketing creates vital touch-points with every campaign, event, study, and program. These touch-points characterize your brand promise. Hence, the experience Marketing creates is itself of great importance in two ways: (a) was it enjoyable for the recipient? (b) did it accurately convey what customers can expect from the brand? As creatives and nurturers, it’s natural to focus primarily on (a) making our marketing enjoyable. That’s also easier to manage. Yet (b) is equally or more essential. Every Marketing touch-point should establish expectations that can be met or exceeded consistently by everyone else in the company. CX is cumulative: a collection of impressions, interactions, judgments and situations that add up over time. We need to assess all we do by both transactional and longitudinal value to customers. (We will address this in part two of this series with examples and how to craft longitudinal CX.) 

CX Strength Depends on the Relationship – It’s More Than the Deal
Marketing offers deals that can benefit customers: discounts, packages, freebies, content, experiences, awards, and so forth.  As much as these may be integral to influencing and respecting your target market’s behaviors, what determines customer lifetime value is the strength of your brand’s relationship with each customer. Like any positive human-to-human scenario, customers respond best when they feel like their needs are valued above your business needs. This goes beyond deals. It’s about showing you care, listening, demonstrating you understand their world and respect individual circumstances, preventing surprises and maintaining consistency. With this caring approach, Marketing programs and messages play a pivotal role in building strong relationships with customers. (Examples and how to nurture customer relationships will be included in part three of this series.) 

CX Leadership is Earned – It’s More Than Engagement
Marketing engages customers in clicking through content and offers, participating in studies and events and programs, and involving them as brand evangelists.  Yet a single decision or handoff by your Legal department . . . or Manufacturing, Engineering, Accounts Receivable, Sales, Quality, Facilities – can either harm or help customer experience! As we’ve seen from painfully public fiascos such as United Airlines evicting a passenger and Wells Fargo setting up phony accounts, an individual decision can derail years of goodwill and Marketing’s precious investment in brand reputation. 

Customers’ trust is earned by meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations consistently. Not only must Marketing continually earn customers’ trust, but so must all your execs, employees and partners. Influencing the whole company to be in-sync with customers is an absolute for CX Leadership.  (Part four of this series will provide examples and how to earn CX Leadership.) 

Do your customers know they are valued and respected? Are they satisfied?
See customer experience as your customers see it, and empower your Marketing organization to go beyond the norms to reap its full promise.

In Part 2 of this four-part series, we focus on building out the concept with examples and steps for how to go beyond transactional marketing to crafting the longitudinal customer experience.

SoCal BMA Blog - Lynn Hunsaker - ClearAction Continuum

Lynn Hunsaker
Chief Customer Officer
ClearAction Continuum

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