The evolution of digital experience is at an interesting crossroad. On one hand we’re driving further from “personal” experiences behind the wall of digital. On the other hand, this push for digitizing natural experiences is forcing us to look more closely to personal connectedness and being more human in our communications with one another. You may begin pulling your hair out.
Yet marketers are still nervous about time and speed. Customers are becoming more technically savvy and adopting new ways to have relationships with companies. Marketers are becoming stuck between a rock and hard place of attending to business needs that may become obsolete overnight or waiting and missing the boat. Same story right? Wrong. Technologies are driving change in customer experience and expectations way faster now than before. And in all of this they’re missing a major part to story. Marketers are forgetting to understand (or outright omitting) what compels their customers to interact with them on a personal level.
It’s not all gloom however, because there’s plenty to excite. Who could remember Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman running through Midwestern fields planting flags in fertile ground, ready to start their lives? Yes I just made a “Far and Away” reference. But that is exactly the climate and market we currently live in and it is exciting as hell. If we thought that we were inventing what it was to live in a digital world 10 years ago, it just opened up even further. Everything is up for grabs and everything is changing at such a fast pace that with the right demeanor and focus, you could plant that flag. And unlike 10 years ago customers are way savvier!
What I learned at Siteworx
After working at Siteworx for nine years I’ve been given a treasure trove of great information.
- You think you know your customers but most times you don’t – if upon being asked “describe a customer” you respond with an industry, business unit and product metric that’s a sure fire sign that you have no clue who you’re serving as a business. If the Business Intelligence department is pointing at the Market Research group and visa versa… uh oh. These are anecdotal signs that your branding, campaign planning, and heck technical implementations will not succeed in the long haul. With personalization, localization, device variations and physical experience becoming more sophisticated, there will be no clear way of keeping up with the Jones’s if you don’t have a strong relationship with and understanding of your customers.
- Run before you walk, trip, get up and run again – there’s still a pervasive thought that research and data have to be Crystaline clear before you could make investments to move ahead. I’m not going to knock research at all, it’s absolutely key. However conducting research first then executing is an antiquated way of thinking and one that will surely put you in Smithsonian. The only way to know if an idea succeeds is to iterate in tandem with research and data analysis. Learn from it, improve it and try it again. This takes more discipline but ultimately shows results faster and allows you to serve your customers better and quicker.
- Your business is personal – At a rudimentary level all businesses suffer very similar problems. So the role of a consultant is to very quickly learn your impression of customers, help shape business objectives with you, and push you. Finally, consultants size you up to the other companies they’ve worked with both in business challenges, and in personality. You are a personality to your consultant. Think about that as you develop a working relationship with them.
Why am I starting Vindicati, LLC an experience consultancy?
Let’s start this answer with I am a glutton for punishment. And I mean that! You have to be if you’re willing to undertake this type of endeavor. However, there is something magical about working more directly with clients and witnessing your impact on their success. Reintroducing clients to their customers through common sense, tenacity and good old-fashioned experience design… that’s refreshing.
What companies should expect, with all of the complexity and noise, they need to know their customers in a more focused manner and experiment a heck of a lot more than they currently are. Having a smaller team get in and work these ideas out, can get you to what you’re looking for faster: A better business relationship with customers and results.
I’ve seen the pains of:
- salespeople and the perpetual target that looms over their heads
- operations folks and deadlines pressing against quality and vision as a litany of feature changes fire at them
- executives that wants to create the right atmosphere for success while moving the business forward
- customers who couldn’t care less about any of the previous bullets and just wants it to work
These bullets are my world and I look forward to grabbing my flag and planting it.