It all started with “advertising”, but one day this word became too narrow to describe what I was doing. “Advertising” turned into “communications”, “communications” into “marketing”. Few years ago, with the new job I took over on membership, e-commerce, applications, digital and in-store services, so “marketing” ceased to be precise as well. My search for another good definition had begun.
At this moment in time I was working hand by hand with a lot of sales people. One term in our conversations was particularly loud: CX, “Consumer Experience”, the experience you are getting as a consumer. It was good enough, cause could mean anything from searching for the store address in Google to claiming a return via a corporate call center. But it wasn’t. The problem I see with it that there is no specific moment when a person turns into a consumer.
Does watching inspirational video from a brand makes you a consumer? What about signing in for a sponsored event? Thinking about product but without context of buying it? We are all consumers at some point. But we are also just people. Often the personal side of life is even more important for purchase to happen or not to happen than being on a path of traditional consumer journey. One way is to see a runner not buying a running product and not attending a race. Another is to understand that it’s a student overwhelmed with everything in the mid of finals. So, please, leave him alone for another month!
While I hated the word “consumer”, “experience” itself was very attractive. It’s commonly used across the industry. It has some roots in communications. Even in the famous “Get-To-By” brief framework — “Get” those people “Who” think/feel/do this “To” think/feel/do that — “By” stands for comprehensive “experience” rather than just simple “message”. At some point I was even thinking to introduce MX, “Membership Experience”, as a new term describing special treatment a person could get with a brand being a registered in a loyalty program. In this case, most interactions between people and companies would fall under CX (being or becoming a consumer) and MX (being or becoming a member).
This was almost it, but still not good enough. In the old-school approach, where commerce and communications were operated separately, I saw the magic specifically in their synergy. Recognising member inside the store could enhance the shopping experience. In opposite, being able to access purchase data could make membership communication much more relevant and personal.
So, here we are, at the end of the second post of this blog. My best shot for today is “Brand Experience” — every interaction with a brand in every touchpoint, that includes products, commerce, services and communications. It has generalisation needed, but also specific enough to be clear without subtitles. It’s everything, but everything in a new way.