Cyber Week, the now weeklong, global sales period seeded from Black Friday, is upon us. But looking at the headlines, it’s clear something’s awry with the shopper experience. Consumer group Which? has been warning consumers to do their research ahead of Cyber Week after it emerged that nearly nine in 10 deals available last year had been cheaper at other times.
Even where the discounts are real, the issue with Cyber Week is that, for the most part, it is a very transactional affair. A shopper chooses to buy purely based on the brand that offers the lowest price - it’s a race to the bottom. Moreover, should the customer then go on to find the same product at a lower price elsewhere, or worse still, from the same brand, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
So how do brands solve this clear CX issue taking place? This was the question a cohort of marketers gathered for at the most recent Maxymiser Customer User Forum in London to answer. Here we share their insights into defining both the problem and solution to realise a brand’s CX goals during Cyber Week and beyond as well as key CX learnings from a luxury car brand.
Defining the problem
When asked about his approach to problem-solving, Albert Einstein is famously purported to have said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”
What he’s really alluding to is that whether we are marketers solving a CX problem or not, it’s vital to take a step back. We must frame the challenge to understand why something is being changed. In the context of a marketing problem, it’s the only way to make sure you serve the customer what they need when they need it.
This requires getting into the shoes of the consumer, explained Jack Westwood, Principal Consultant, EMEA, “Customer journey mapping is an invaluable tool for visually illustrating the processes, needs and perceptions throughout a customer’s interactions and relationship with the brand. Most importantly, it can help you identify the ‘moment that matters’ – the moment a customer decides if they will or won’t buy – that is often the keystone for driving change.”
While customer journey mapping is a lengthy process with five constituent parts. To understand the problem, marketing teams must put the first two into practice;
- Creating an initial plan- about building out personas. Understanding the pages they visit
- Evaluate- the attitudes and sense check them. Work out and prioritise the moments that matter for the consumer
Putting journey mapping into practice
A great use case for gathering marketing teams together in this way can be found in the automotive sector. Why? According to Luth Research, there are over 900 interactions that take place between the very first interaction a consumer has with an auto brand and the purchase.
For Mercedes then, solving a customer experience issue arising with millennial shoppers was no mean feat. In particular, the team had begun to notice a trend in this younger audience whereby they were arriving onto the Mercedes site before bouncing off within a matter of seconds.
Building out the persona of this shopper, they explored the journey that was leading many to the website. It was clear that an ongoing TV campaign was working very effectively to capture their interest in low monthly repayments on a Mercedes, but upon arriving to the site, the full costs they were presented with alarmed them.
This was the moment that mattered.
Defining the solution
In this instance, it was the product team that addressed the challenge. Mercedes decided to introduce its first ever compact car - the CLA - to be advertised at the sub-$30,000 sweet spot for entry-level luxury cars.
Bringing this new proposition to millennial market in the right places at the right time relied on a cross-channel solution. But what do we mean by ‘cross-channel’? Putting the term through Google there are over 90 million results.
Franco Loos, Managing Consultant, EMEA, explains the leap marketers have to make from multi-channel marketing to cross-channel is much like fielding a football team, “for many marketers carrying out multi-channel campaigns it’s like captaining a team but none of them talk to each other, you have 11 players who all want to score goals. They don’t want to pass the ball - they don’t want to share.”
Getting your marketing channels talking to one another in a coordinated way hinges teams need to focus on the latter three stages identified by Jack Westwood;
- Explore- what the customer needs at these moments, KPIs of changing
- Brainstorm- what’s the journey that we want to take them on? All the different teams that work with you are involved
- Design the new experience- build a CX hypothesis with a new, cross-channel approach
At Mercedes, a new journey was mapped entirely around the moment the customer lands on the website. The solution saw the marketing team build an entirely new microsite devoted to the shared experiences of millennial CLA owners. Alongside this, a Superbowl advert was developed to raise awareness among this target group, en masse, with a clear call-to-action to visit the microsite and find out more for themselves.
The net effect was not only a hugely successful new car launch, but Mercedes had also managed to expand the overall lifetime value of their customer. A fantastic achievement that future proofs the brand for years to come.
So how can we apply this to those brands tacking Cyber Week? There’s an infinite number of ways the consumer can interact with your brand before they purchase and even post-purchase. What is important to remember is that when brands work in silos, they cut these all-important connectors and end up with a poor customer experience.
So whether you max out on sales this Cyber Week or not, take the time to assess whether your business is joining the touchpoints together to create a seamless experience. It will determine not only next year’s sales, but the performance you see through 2019.
As marketers, are we meeting our customers' expectations during the holiday season? Are we providing them the experience they expect? We asked more than 400 marketers to critique our profession's holiday season performance. The answers are revealing, candid and funny. Get your copy of the comic book here.