CMO Perspectives (22nd Dec, 2014)

When Pat Benatar sang “Love is a Battlefield”, she probably wasn’t referring to customer experience. But she could have been. In an age when customers have the world at their fingertips, it’s hard to compete on quality or price point. What’s left is the customer experience, specifically a customer’s emotional response to your brand. This week’s CMO Perspectives is all about the emotional aspect of satisfying customers. Topics covered include emotional analysis using big data, the power of eye contact, and our unconscious response to corporate social responsibility.

We hope you enjoy these articles. Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or reach out on Twitter: @NICE_Enterprise.

How to Use Customer Experience Maps to Develop a Winning Content Marketing Strategy []

Author Demian Farmworth asserts that he has a blueprint, or faithful roadmap, for getting customers to buy a product. In the future, the customer experience is what will differentiate you from your competition.

Big data is not enough. You need to understand the physical, emotional, and psychological environments where that data is mined. Data scientists need to be better storytellers, he says.

Tools like empathy maps, asset pillars, storyboards, personas, and worldview interviews are extremely useful but can only go so far. According to Farmworth, what we need is a way to merge all this data and these stories into one Big Story. He then introduces the concept of the experience map, which originated in the UX field. An experience map is a large visual of the path a consumer takes – from beginning to end – with your product. Farmworth goes on to enumerate in detail each step involved in creating a customer experience map. If your company decides to embark on the process, this article is a great place to start.

Building an Emotional Connection []

This article, by Timothy Denman, is a case study of how Perry Ellis International, the men’s clothing retailer, implemented a customer loyalty program and realized a significant boost to their bottom line.

Several years ago, the company would ask for customers’ email at the point of purchase. But without a rewards-based loyalty system, customers would often give fake emails or emails that they used specifically for spam. A year and a half ago, the retailer launched Supreme Perks, which awarded customers one perk point for every dollar spent. After collecting 250 points, shoppers would be rewarded with $25 off their next purchase. In addition, loyalty program members would get other VIP discounts.

“Before when we were asking for e-mail addresses it was for selfish reasons,” a Perry Ellis executive told RIS News. “We just wanted to keep track of the customer. Now that we have this loyalty program we are able to offer shoppers something in return. We are not just collecting data, we are doing it so we can deliver a better shopping experience.”

The article is interesting because it provides a concrete illustration of how companies are using customer data to personalize their experiences. It’s easy to talk the talk but walking the walk sometimes involves a lot of growing pains. We hope you enjoy reading about it.

Is Customer Service a Thing of the Past? []

You walk into a store, pick out what you want, and walk to the cash register. At the very least, you expect the cashier to make eye contact and say hello. The author, Sonja Pound, describes a recent experience where that never happened.

As she waited in line at the grocery store, “I was forced to listen to the cashier talk about her weekend spent partying. She never once said hello, attempted to make any conversation with me or say thank you. It was as if I was completely invisible.”

Needless to say, Pound was seriously turned off. She offers three pieces of advice to business owners to avoid alienating customers like herself. First, she says, choose the faces of your business carefully. Make sure they’re social, friendly and helpful. Second, train your employees, then train them some more. Consider creating an employee manual that includes how to train new and existing employees. Third, watch, review and provide feedback to your employees. 

In a society where more and more things are becoming automated, it is such a breath of fresh air when someone actually pays attention, says Pound. Have you had any great or not-so-great customer service experiences lately? Pound asks readers to share them, and we would love if you would share them as well.

Marketing Research Chart: Clear communications and unconscious customer bias


The stock market is all about return on investment, right? People’s investment decisions are perfectly rational and untainted by emotion, correct?

You’d be surprised.

A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business reveals that actually, investors are highly influenced by a company’s reputation of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Investors are significantly more likely to invest in a stock if the company in question is known for its CSR.

"Investors have an emotional (affective) reaction when they see CSR performance presented," said the study’s author. “And this response carried over to affect their willingness to pay for stock: i.e., investors are willing to pay more for the firm with better CSR performance."

But there’s a twist: Respondents’ behavior was affected by CSR performance regardless of whether or not they reported deliberately caring about CSR. The impact was unconscious. Also, when the researcher called attention to their behavior, CSR stopped being a factor.

What does this mean for marketers? Read this article to gain complete insight into this fascinating study.

We hope you enjoyed our picks and bookmarked a few articles for future reference. Please don’t forget to share with other CMOs.

Are there any other marketing topics that interest you? Tweet us, or comment below to let us know!

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