Consumer Experience is Key

When you talk to experts in the field of marketing, you’ll find that many will agree that companies are increasingly drawn to delivering a seamless user experience as their primary objective (note: ‘user‘ here typically means prospect customer).

Individual sales of products is just a means to that end. It is now about responding to a series of customer value delivery opportunities (aka touch points or interactions), which may or may not directly involve YOUR ‘product’.

Consumer experiences, in fact, seldom involve a single product, but rather on some other goal that a product (or suite of products) help the consumer achieve.

And so enterprises, seeking to be relevant to the consumer experience, will increasingly be drawn into trying to address the goals and needs of the consumer during higher-level relevant experiences, regardless of whether these goals/needs relate directly to their product or not.

For example,  I remember listening to Tony Hsieh, telling his story about “delivering happiness” where he asked a customer representative at his company, Zappos, to help him order a pizza while traveling…nothing to do with ordering shoes. Why? Because he emphasizes the customer experience and “happiness” associated with Zappos.  Repeat customers and word-of-mouth is the #1 driver of business for the company. It’s about the customer “relationship” not the individual sale of a pair of shoes.

Another example involves auto makers. As car companies redefine themselves as enablers of the getting to work/vacation/family event/local entertainment experiences, they may stray further and further from cars as their focus and source of profits.

Think of on-star, Pandora to the car, mapping, etc. They will end up competing with and partnering with lots of companies that are not car companies to be the primary source for solutions and enhancements in those categories of experience (vacation/commuting/mobile access to entertainment/etc.).

As we think of disruptive technologies such as cloud computing, crowd sourcing, real-time analytics, and Big Data, we need to think of the set of consumer information (characteristics) that we capture (via web, mobile, etc) less as descriptive data, and more as a set of experiences which consumers engage in – each of which ‘pulls in’ a cloud of relevant products and services.

Enterprises will compete more through access devices of various kinds mastering the consumer experience.

Is it possible to capture ALL customer experiences? ALL customer channels?

[Thanks to Michael Gorman, SVP of Global Digital Strategy at Axciom, for the insights into customer experience.]

Jim Kaskade

Jim Kaskade is a serial entrepreneur & enterprise software executive of over 35 years. He recently successfully exited a PE-backed SaaS company, Janrain, in the digital identity security space. He started his career engineering massively parallel processing datacenter applications. Prior to identity, he led a digital application business of over 7,000 people ($1B). Prior to that he led a big data & analytics business of over 1,000 ($250M). He was the CEO of a Big Data Cloud company ($50M); was an EIR at PARC (the Bell Labs of Silicon Valley) which resulted in a spinout of an AML AI company; led two separate private cloud software startups; founded of one of the most advanced digital video SaaS companies delivering online and wireless solutions to over 10,000 enterprises; and was involved with three semiconductor startups (two of which he founded, one of which he sold). Jim has an Electrical and Computer Science Engineering degree from University of California, Santa Barbara, with an emphasis in semiconductor design and computer science; and an MBA from the University of San Diego with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and finance.

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