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Why you can’t ignore CX in 2016

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03.2016How many times have you heard the words “Customer Experience” or “CX” in the past week? If you’re a client probably at least ten times in your last marketing WIP meeting. If you reside in agency land, well then you’ve lost count and that’s only from today.

My advice is get used to it. CX isn’t simply the latest marketing buzz term (although its overuse could imply otherwise). CX is here to stay.

To explain why, we need to take a look at the wider media landscape and the way we all consume information and, most importantly, brand messaging. So, what does our world look like?

  • Market Research Company Yankelovich estimate that a consumer sees 5000 ads per day (not including social media content).
  • By 2020 there will be seven connected devices for every person on earth (Gartner Research 2015).
  • 18% of (US) consumers use ad blocking software. It’s estimated that this number will double by the end of 2016. There are 185 million global users of ad blocking technology (Adobe, 2015).
  • In 2016 internet advertising will grow by 10% and mobile advertising will increase by 45%.
  • As of the end of 2015, digital ad spend surpassed $150 billion (US) worldwide (Marketo, 2015).

In summary, it’s information overload. Consumers are overwhelmed as they are bombarded with messages. Let’s face it, we’re an overwhelmed society in general. We’re extremely busy, our lives are full and hectic. We are the masters of multi-tasking. If you’re reading this on desktop you probably have at least four other sessions open. If you’re on mobile, you’re likely skim reading while navigating the train commute / grabbing lunch / shopping / running to your next meeting. The effects of this are two-fold.

Firstly, with so much going on in our lives and so many ads interrupting us every hour of every day we become blind sighted. There is only so much information the brain can retain at any given time. Consumers simply won’t remember a “good ad” (marketers might but consumers won’t). They will, however, remember a good experience.

Secondly, with so much information at their fingertips, consumers are starting to make purchase decisions based on the entire experience on offer rather than purely based on the attributes of a product or service. According to Tom Knighton “Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost”. Despite the fact that CX dominates marketing news and commentary (and we’re seeing agencies that have traditionally been direct marketing agencies rebrand as customer experience agencies) most Australian brands aren’t there yet.

In fact, they’re a long way off. Why? Because nailing customer experience is a tough gig! A recent Ashton media survey cited the top 10 pain points that brands face in optimising CX. These included unpicking legacy problems, connecting channels, budgets limitations and getting organisational buy-in to the “power shift” that is consumers taking control of their own interactions with brands. It’s a minefield.

To take CX to the next level, brands need to live and breathe customer centricity throughout their organisation. So who’s doing it well? If you work for L’Oréal Australia then you can pat yourself on the back, maybe take a break, the Whitsundays are lovely this time of year. L’Oreal committed to “create digital branded content to deliver beauty for all”. In my opinion they have absolutely delivered on this and created an exceptional customer experience. Any advocates of Make-up Genius I’m sure will agree.

For the rest of us marketers we have a fair way to go. What does your 2016 CX strategy look like? Check out my next blog for my top tips for improving your CX strategy.

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