Years ago when I was on the small initial team developing a brand new software product we hired someone to focus on integrating a help and learning system into the product. He immediately started talking about how we needed to integrate a new concept called human-centered design into the product.
After listening to his pitch it seemed pretty obvious. But after getting deep into the world of functional specs, and features and benefits, I could see where it was pretty easy to lose focus on what the customer was trying to achieve.
Fast forward to today. In a world of search ads, retargeting, lead generation, email marketing, sales closing, onboarding, customer service, cross-sell, upsell, retention… phew! It’s no wonder companies are focusing on improving their customers’ experience.
The customer buying decision is becoming less about product or service features and benefits. The decision is being driven by the experience your customer is having with your brand.
Customer Experience is Not a Fad
Marketers love buzz words. Starting an initiative on a foundation of a fad is never a good idea. While providing a good customer experience makes obvious sense, it is good to know that the messaging you create today will still be valid tomorrow.
Looking at “customer experience” search trends over the past 5+ years shows there is steady growth in interest year over year.
Source: Google Trends
Consistency has a major impact on a customer’s experience with a brand. According to McKinsey & Company, “consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy.” source: The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Your brand is the sum total of the interactions that people experience with your company. While design elements like logos, colors, and typology provide visual consistency, your brand voice, human-to-human interactions, branded environments, articles and social media posts all establish your brand in the minds of your customers.
The Physical Brand Experience
Experiential marketing is often thought of as synonymous with event marketing, but it also includes other branded environments such as retail outlets and corporate facilities.
The customer experience also includes other physical interaction customers have with your products or company.
When Apple introduced the iPhone they were hyper-focused on the customer experience as the product was unboxed from its packaging. It was important to Apple that the quality of the packaging complimented the quality of the underlying product.
Today the packaging experience is not just for customers. The influencer marketing industry is partially fueled by the anticipation of the unboxing experience as the product is revealed on video.
Physical locations have an obvious impact on the customer experience. Whether it is a retail store, a tradeshow booth, a product display at a consumer event, or a corporate training facility, being physically immersed in a location is a powerful experience.
Direct Mail and Marketing Collateral
Printed materials get your message directly into customers’ hands. Done right, this tactile interaction can play a large role in the overall customer experience. Marketing messages can be revealed as the customer interacts with the collateral, whether it’s opening a direct mail envelope, unfolding a multi-fold brochure, or opening a product launch seeding kit.
Opportunities for Printers
If you’ve made it this far you’ve likely considered many ways a commercial printing company can help clients create unique experiences for their customers.
- Color management keeps the visual brand experience consistent across a wide range of mediums.
- Large format printing can be used to create branded environments for customers to experience the brand at tradeshows, consumer events, retail stores, and corporate facilities.
- Product packaging with interesting reveals can create anticipation during the unboxing experience.
- Sales collateral and direct mail can be designed with customer experience being considered as the marketing messages are revealed.
Help your clients create great customer experiences.