Brian Solis has a vision of the future that involves shared experiences - many, many shared experiences. And his message for marketers is pretty clear - focus on shared experiences because that's what really matters. That's a pretty bold statement, but he backs it up with a rationale that's so simple and easy that it's IOTTMCO - once it's pointed out to you. So let me point it out.
Before it can be shared, it must first be experienced. So whether it's situational or repeated, the experience is the starting point. And experiences are what we perceive through our senses, becoming magnified when they are multisensory and/or when they are imbued with emotions, such as elation / sorrow, affinity / repulsion, satisfaction / frustration and so on.
Given all that, it's no surprise that the idea of customer experience management is very much in vogue nowadays.
But it isn't simply about the experience - it's about shared experiences. Admittedly, shared experiences are nothing new because humans are inherently social beings, and word-of-mouth has been around since Humans 1.0 came with its first pair of ears and a mouth. But what's new and significant is what technology has done to shared experiences:
- It's easier to share experiences today - pull out your phone, snap a picture and bam! It's in a text, a tweet, or it's posted to Facebook or your blog.
- Shared experiences can be easily amplified. Your friends can jump on the bandwagon and congratulate you or console you. They can agree and they can "like." And they can do it all in a matter of seconds.
- Shared experiences can be easily catalogued and found. In our digital world, experiences are tagged, geolocated, and they are sliced,diced and julienned into something searchable.
- Shared experiences can be quickly cumulative. Your experiences and others, especially when tagged and searchable and similar in nature, can quickly rise to the top in organic search results and drown out anything might be said to position your organization or product according to your brand promise.
That last point is important because shared experiences are at the center of the customer journey. That means it has never been more important to be sure that operations are aligned with marketing so that all the customer touchpoints are delivering a brand experience that's consistent with the intended brand promise.
When they diverge, it's what Brian calls the "Experience Divide." The pitfall is that if you don’t work at retaining your customers, you’ll have to spend ever more resources on acquisition. Citing research from the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, Brian pointed out that of the respondents:
- 82% have stopped doing business with an organization due to poor customer experience,
- 70% are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, and
- 60% believe business have not increased their focus on providing good customer service.
And that is why Brian believes that if marketing - and the whole organization for that matter - are not focused on creating positive shared experiences for the customer, they are missing the point and will slowly lose out. He believes it should be a wake-up call if how you market and the channels you use are not designed to deliver an integrated customer experience. If you have separate teams responsible for the website, social, communications and they all give you a different answer about what the customer experiences, that’s a problem.
The bottom line is that we all have to realize that the future of your brand and business is not created, it's co-created with your customers.
Brian's vision comes not from a ouija board and séances, but from studying disruptive technologies and from his perspective as a self-described "aspiring digital anthropologist." In that role, he studies the impact of technologies on people, society and culture. Brian shared this vision of the future at the recent Integrated Marketing Week conference in New York City, where he appeared as a keynote speaker. More details about his vision of the future are available in his recently published book, What's The Future of Business. You can also view this short interview of Brian conducted by AllAnalytics on-site at the show.
As always, thank you for following! Stay tuned for the next post in this Brian Solis' vision of the future series about "new measures of success." Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.