Welcome to an Integrated Customer Experience (Cx)

The landscape of brand advocacy has changed. Gone are the days where providing shoppers with a positive customer experience (in the physical world) is enough to capture their advocacy.

The new challenge for brands is creating and fostering customer relationships, and it is being fought across all platforms, physical and otherwise. Customers now expect valuable brand content to exist online and on social media so they can connect with the brand at will.

The paradigm has shifted and now brands must generate an organic, co-created and symbiotic relationship with their customers. This is the new frontier that will allow brands to protect themselves, grow and improve their bottom line. This has resulted in traditional forms of advertising and the paying for advertising content to be pushed towards customer bases, becoming one of the most dangerous games a brand can continue to play.

The Customer Experience (Cx) Challenge

The challenge – that is ignored by some brands – is to build marketing programs that extend through the three major platforms in which customers interact. These platforms include 1) the physical world around customers; 2) the online world martialed by powerful search engine algorithms; and 3) the social media platform.

Each of these three platforms has their own audiences, preferences of content and ways of optimising how content is distributed to customers. These platforms are inhabited in some ways by almost every Australian, with 94% of us being on social media and 98% having some form of regular internet access. It is clear that not appreciating these platforms is a great financial risk to a business.

The key to success in marketing a brand is to create valuable ideas that work, interact and transverse these three platforms – otherwise known as an integrated marketing approach.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between These Platforms

Understanding how these three platforms interact with each other will lead to an increase in sales, more customer interaction on- and offline and increased revenue, just to name a few. A look towards consumer behaviour and understanding your customers’ journey across these platforms is key.

For instance, 71% of consumers feel more comfortable buying a product after interacting with user-generated content (3dcart, 2017). User-generated content is co-created content developed by consumers for a brand. For example, a customer may have a positive customer experience with a brand in a physical store, and then go online to provide a review for that brand. The customer then may go on Instagram, take a photo of how happy they are with a brand’s product, which equates to the creation of more user-generated content. So, in one interaction, content for a brand has been interacted with and created on three platforms.

An Example for Your Business

A new product launch is a good example of how an integrated marketing approach will lead to greater success.

One option for promotion of a product launch would be to throw money into generic Facebook adverts, with a photo and a logo, to be seen time and time again. This is standard practice for many businesses. However, the creation of a promotion that rewards value input from customers and encourages customers to engage and co-author content on multiple platforms, will help facilitate a successful brand launch.

A simple example would be a new store opening. In-store, the business would prompt, via a discount, for the customers to take a photo with the product and post it to their social media with the brand tagged. After a positive brand interaction, the business would also have a prompt on the product, on their social media or even via team member in-store, asking the customer to leave a Google review about the product. The business would then run a Facebook advertising campaign in conjunction with this simple promotion. The Facebook adverts are more effective with this approach, because the page will already contain co-created content produced by customers, which gives consumers a heightened sense of trust in the brand.

The interaction between the physical customer experience, the online space and online social network space will facilitate a greater sense of brand advocacy as all three platforms provide value to the consumer. An integrated marketing approach is the most efficient and effective approach a brand can take in adding value to their business.