Value of Customer Experience in Digital Marketing
Depending of the area of digital marketing you are focusing on, you might feel like your responsibilities for user behavior and satisfaction stop the second they convert from user or visitor into a customer. At that point, some people believe, the visitor becomes the responsibility of the service provider, of their CXO, or whoever is in charge of customer service and relations in the company. If you are working in-house for a company, this kind of attitude will almost never slide, but outside consultants can often take this kind of liberty. Here’s why they shouldn’t, and why customer experience is being defined even before there is an actual customer.
Building Customer Expectations
Not every visitor becomes a customer, but (if we take the liberty to disregard other promotional channels, since we are talking about digital marketing after all) every customer was once a visitor. This means that you’ve made some promises and established some customer expectations even before those prospects ever reached the site you are promoting. While you may claim that your responsibility is just bringing people to the website, you’d have to admit that if you used false promises; off-target branding; irrelevant promotional channels that will only bring exposure to audiences which have no chance of converting; and similar ostensibly effective methods, you may have fulfilled your contract, but you have not done your job.
In an industry based largely on speculations, trends, guesses and practices with results which are difficult to exactly quantify, there is a lot of leeway when it comes to what your responsibilities and duties are. You may pretend that the customer journey through the funnel is not your problem once you’ve got them to the ‘awareness’ stage, and depending on your contract with the client, this might actually be the case, but this doesn’t mean that you are exempt from giving the rest of their experience some thought.
First of all, when deciding on the audience to target, you need to consider what will be expected of that audience once they convert or are at the brink of conversion. Different digital marketing KPI reporting tools like Reportz, even though created for reporting, can do a great job of helping you combine metrices from sources like Google Analytics, Rang Ranger, Ahrefs, or a number of others, and use this data to observe every facet of customer behavior, which, in turn, gives you an idea of the promotional strategy you’ll want to create.
For instance, if there is an obvious blockage point in your client’s consumer journey that you cannot eliminate from the equation, you might want to either prepare their future customers for that beforehand, or you may want to target audiences that won’t be as bothered by the blockage, both in the interest of ensuring better conversion rates.
People may have different opinions on what constitutes customer experience, and whose responsibility it is to maintain it at the highest possible level, but just about everyone will agree, that you overall brand messaging and values are an essential part of that experience. Depending on your level and type of involvement with your client, this branding will be, at least partially, your responsibility. You can’t get away by claiming that you are just in charge of a minor portion of marketing strategy for the client – even if you are just in charge of something like linkbuilding, the anchors you use, the context you place them in, and the sites you publish them on will all have an effect on brand perception, which, in turn, has effect on every consequent part of customer experience.
Learning from It
Even if you are doing digital marketing as an outside consultant, i.e. not an in-house expert who has access to all the data, plans and goals, you should take as much interest in the final stages of customer journey as you are allowed to. Determining an Ideal Customer Persona has always been one of the essential initial parts of every digital marketing strategy, and the part of their journey after the conversion can be an indispensable source of information on their particularities, interests and behavior. That’s why, even if your client doesn’t expect you to take too much interest in this segment of their setup, and even though you may not have made any promises or guarantees in that regard, getting to know as much about the customer experience that your client is offering to people using their service or product is, by definition, a part of your job.