Experience (XP) Strategy
What is an Experience Strategy?
Experience Strategy – or ‘XP’ Strategy – is a mechanism for mapping a business’ marketing & promotion activities against actual (data-driven) consumer behaviours, to achieve a specific (or many) desirable outcome.
A Customer’s interaction with a brand is made up of various Touchpoints – websites, physical product, advertising – the Customer Experience is how these touchpoints are connected, leading the customer on a journey from point A to point Z.
An Experience Strategy lays out the ideal pathway from a customer’s first interaction to their last – ideally a purchase, conversion or desired business outcome. The strategy will define the activities a business needs to undertake, or the assets it needs to create and manage, in order for it to convert prospects into paying customers.
The strategy defines marketing ativities (website, mobile app, online advertising etc), business structure and capabilties (staffing, sales teams, social media managers) and any other physical or virtual point of interaction with a customer. A strategist then connects the dots between the activities and assets, creating a map of every potential path from one asset or activity to another. This is the customer journey.
An example would be: Visit website > register email for discount > download coupon > redeem at online store.
The strategy will define purchase pathways as well as brand awareness pathways. Not every interaction needs to end in a purchase. The goal of a particualr pathway might be to like the Facebook page, or download a free PDF guide – both have as much value to the business as a sale.
A successful strategy is like a story; an engaging narrative with a beginning, middle and end, that allows the customer to ‘choose their own adventure‘ whilst generating business results such as sales, social media follows, or other KPI.
The best strategy is invisible; allowing the customer to interact with autonomy – the brand appearing in singular moments to guide action, provide choice, support and nurture the customer’s own desire-driven actions.
A successful strategy will seamlessly link multiple touchpoints (experiences) together in a way that feels very natural to the customer. Interactions should not be forced, they should flow intuitively. When marketers are able to create seamless, itegrated pathways for customers to follow, the customer experience will be positive.
How consumers choose the brands and platforms that enable them to connect, communicate, experience & share, depends largely on the pathways provided to them by marketers. Experience Strategy is that pathway.
Why Businesses Need An Experience Strategy
Keeping Customers happy, while providing them opportunities to buy things they love, is every business’ top priority. In our modern, highly digitised world customers are bombarded with options. Smart businesses create experiences for their customers that differentiate the business’ brand from its competitors.
How a brand communicates with its customers is a massive factor in how people feel about the brand. A properly designed experience strategy allows a brand to “talk” to its customers at every stage in their buying cycle – from pre-purchase research through various decision points to actual purchase.
By creating a seamless end-to-end journey for their customer, a business increases the likelihood of that customer buying from them on more than one occassion. Positive experience leads to advocacy, repeat purchase and referral.
A properly thought through and well executed strategy ensures that every brand touchpoint – from the company website, to the physical store, to the mobile app – looks and “feels” the same, tells the same story, is part of the same brand narrative, and that each touchpoint is necessary, value-adding and useful to the customer.
A good customer strategy is just as much about what it excludes, as what it includes.
Providing options for the sake of it – eg: building a mobile app “because everyone else has one” – creates as much friction in the customer journey as not having a website or other critical communication point.
Without an experience strategy, businesses will have a hard time understanding how theur customers interact with their business, as they have nothing to track against. Having a strategy makes it more likely the business truly understands its customers, and is able to amplify its best performing marketing and business activities.
A well defined strategy gives the business a way to maximise the customer experience, create more personalised and thoughtful experiences for its customers and ultimately drive higher conversions, greater brand awareness and more sales.
A successful strategy is... an engaging narrative... that allows the customer to 'choose their own adventure' whilst generating business results regardless of whether the customer choice (experience) is positive or negative.
Strategy is the link between high-level vision and grass-roots execution. Knowing how to turn ideas into tactics is critical for businesses competing in a 21st century environment.
The concept of “Clouds & Dirt“, or Vision & Execution, enables business owners to focus on the areas of their business that have the greatest impact on creating a more disruptive business.
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