Marketing and the Customer Experience

Marketing to Customers

Recently I received a marketing offer from a car rental company: use a neighborhood location to rent a car, and get one free day with your rental.  The email even provided neighborhood locations from which I could rent.  This was quite a timely offer as I had an upcoming need and while I did not need the extra day, it offered me a little flexibility.

I had been left to wonder if my smart devices in my home had picked up a conversation and reported to the AI robot that I was in need of a vehicle, the offer was that timely.  However, my wonder about invasive marketing was quickly forgotten.  As I was eager to take advantage of the deal – only to be disappointed.

Each time I clicked on a location provided in the promotion, I was immediately thwarted by a notice that the location I had inquired about was closed due to the pandemic.  Ultimately, I was 0 for 5 on my attempts to take advantage of the deal and to leverage a local station rather than make the trip to the airport to rent.

Marketing & Customer Experience

Having worked in customer experience for as long as I have, I’ve certainly had to distinguish how CX is different from Marketing Research – and even further how it is different from Marketing.  When speaking with someone outside of these industries, I tend to explain the simple difference between Marketing Research and Customer Experience Research as the former providing insights in how to win new customers and the latter is how to retain existing customers.  While most of us know that the line is pretty blurry, it does provide a simple explanation at dinner parties when I’m asked what I do for a living.  Usually, the next question that comes back is “so you are in Marketing?”.

Again – those of us in those industries would probably (internally) shake our head and explain the difference between the two.  However, one thing to consider as a customer experience professional – everything to do with your company and your industry in the eyes of the consumer or the customer is a part of the customer experience.  

Blurry Lines Represent Opportunity 

One might think that “everything” might be a little too large of a bucket when discussing the customer experience.  The reality, just like the marketing email I received from the car rental company, there is an impact on my perception of the company and my overall experience.  

Marketing best practices should consider the impact a marketing campaign has on the current customers.  If you want an easy example, just think how you feel as an existing customer with a mobile carrier when you were unable to get the same package as new customers.  They got the latest phone and the best data deals, while you were locked into a two-year old phone with data limits.  

As we look at the customer experience journey, the map should always include marketing efforts – both traditional and digital media.  You marketing, whether to new or existing customers, is the promise of the brand experience and ultimately the customer experience.  Like many touchpoints in the journey, this type of marketing probably isn’t measured after the fact except to understand clicks and conversions.  While it probably is not necessary to survey every recipient of the email, it may justify using tools like our QuestionPro NPS+ to ask customers who clicked but did not convert so you can understand if the experience was impacted.  

It is unlikely that I’ll churn as a customer of this rental car company as a result of this marketing promise that could not be fulfilled, but at the same time it will impact my overall perceptions.  Just a few smaller broken promises quickly adds to be the same as a larger failure in the eyes of customers, even if that marketing email was sent with the best of intentions.  

Join us as Mark Michelson and I kick off ConneXt Live and discuss CX metrics.  If you enjoyed CX Talks, this new format will prove to be even more engaging, interactive and informative.  I am honored to be the inaugural guest speaker, be certain to register here