Festival of Marketing was a fantastic experience. As a team, we attend hundreds of events across the world, but this particular event was truly unique. In the organisers' own words: "with more than 200 speakers, workshops, awards, experience rooms and training, it is the only event that truly reflects the creative, strategic and tactical job that marketers do."
So, it was the perfect place for us to reiterate our belief in the power of analysing digital body language to deliver better experiences.
What was especially exciting was the enthusiasm shown over this topic, and how the entire marketing industry understands the importance and value of good customer experience. Everything we heard reaffirmed what we believe as a company; experience is everything. And, that by analysing the behavior of millions of visitors, businesses can deliver the best digital experiences to drive amazing business results.
What follows is a summary of some of the stories that show how seriously customer experience is being taken in the industry.
1. Think human before thinking experience
Behind every action, every conversion, and every experience is a human being. When focusing on delivering the best experience, we need to take into account the feelings, behaviors and emotions of those people.
For the first time in history, human beings are readily not directly interacting with each other but interacting through their screens. We used to be able to derive rich human insight from face-to-face interactions in a brick-and-mortar store, but that is all being lost to the black mirror. And it’s clear that we still have a long way to go in taking those human behaviors and translating them into a digital environment to create a tangible output that benefits our bottom line.
So only when you truly understand the customer, and why they are behaving in a certain way, can you deliver a great experience.
2. The human truth will unlock the experience opportunity
So how can analysts, marketers and experience builders better influence the customer journey? Traditional web analytics tell us a lot about what has happened, when what we should really be thinking about is what motivates that behaviour and why it happens.
“Insight is a word that has evolved quite a bit. It used to be rich and meaningful. But now it gets used to sum up all data and analysis. But insight is really about what happens when you ask ‘why’ and it’s about deep human truth.” – Cheryl Calverley, head of marketing, The AA
3. To create a lasting experience, think about creating lasting memories
Conversion is an alluring end-game, but it’s not the only one. Have you ever stopped to consider the vast majority who don’t convert? How much do you know about their experience when using your site?
Nobel-laureate, Daniel Kahneman, differentiates between two selves: the experiencing self and the remembering self. These “selves” represent, in psychological terms, the two ways people interact with stimuli — in the present, and retrospectively in memory.
Customer experience is largely defined by the remembering self. This is because it is your customer’s remembering self that remembers how it felt during or after interacting with your website. So it’s not about the interaction itself, or even the experience itself, but about the customer’s emotional takeaways from it.
4. We need to stop focusing on conversion
The fact that conversion rate has remained static at 3% at best for 20 years should be enough of an indicator that this is the wrong metric to focus on.
It’s critical that we start thinking about conversion as a journey, and not as a single action. Only then can we identify goals and work out if our visitors’ experiences match these goals. If they do, we can start to analyze our customer’s digital body language throughout their journey, to get a holistic view of their experience and find the areas that need improvement.
5. Loyalty is shifting
Customers no longer care who you are or, necessarily, what you’re selling, but buy from those brands that they remember have given them a good experience. Which is why brands such as Amazon, Deliveroo, Airbnb and Uber have such strong customer loyalty – not only are they bringing convenience to the table, but they create committed-to-memory digital experiences (even habits) that mean customers return time and time again.
6. Only dead fish go with the flow
To quote Ed Relf, Founder and CEO of UK tech startup Laundrapp, only dead fish go with the flow. Customers are moving faster than retailers, financial services and marketers can innovate. Which means that instead of chasing our tails to give customers what they were looking for, we should be looking to the future to predict what they will want or need from their experience the next time they interact with our digital properties.
Instead of making assumptions based on past behaviors, we need to remember that there is already a comprehensive and rich data set detailing what our customers are doing on our website, just waiting to be discovered and acted on.
We need to gain a new level of experience intelligence – a level where we are able to understand our customers’ state of mind, and their digital body language, so we can optimize our business outcomes.
I’ll leave you with this equally terrifying and exhilarating prospect, as seen in one of the presentations at Festival of Marketing. In order not to become dead in the water - like the increasingly long list of household names we used to know and love - now is the time to act.