A view. A glance. A pause. That flash of time where I have your attention and you have mine. As we all move quickly in an evergrowing digital world, these ‘ignite moments’ can make a tremendous impact on how and where you focus your marketing efforts.
In a special session at the October 2021 ClickZ Experience, world-renowned digital pioneer and 8x best-selling author Brian Solis shared his research on how customers have changed at a human level and how brands must adapt down to their core.
Q: In our last conversation we were talking about the concept of ‘generation novel’, specifically about creating a signature experience. Let’s start there.
Brian: Yes, any brand, as they get to know their post-pandemic customers, must discover what it is they value. The good news is that they want you to know them. And, they’re willing to share personal details with you if you can promise value-added personalized experiences.
They value empathy, they value personalization, and they value experiences. In fact, repeated studies show that they’re willing to share very personal information in exchange for value-added experiences. They value these types of experiences as much, or even in some cases more than products and services.
When doing any kind of customer journey work, ask, what are the moments that define the experiences your customer have and walk away with? Is your signature experience transcending each touchpoint? Have you defined your signature experience? What are the experiential elements conveyed to someone in each step? What is it that they’re going to remember and potentially share with others? Where are weak links in the journey taking away from the desired experiences?
This is the bedrock of digital and hybrid customer engagement and it’s the next generation of marketing Marketing IS customer experience.
Q: Before we get into ignite moments, describe briefly the concept of micro-moments, as the two are related.
Brian: Micro-moments, a term coined by Google six years ago or so, that we brought to market together, are moments of high intent and engagement. They’re the moments when a customer picks up their mobile device and aims to take the next step in a specific journey…
I want to go…
I want to do…
I want to know…
I want to buy…
Many of these micro-moments happen in spare moments, such as waiting in line, commuting, or generally when not preoccupied with something else. The journey then continues later either on mobile or through an entirely different channel such as a laptop or tablet. You, as a marketer, can design for these mobile-first opportunities and design a customer journey that’s intuitive and useful in these moments toward desired outcomes. Make no mistake, they are, still to this day, among the most important opportunities for engagement, not distractions. As you think about omnichannel journeys, also make sure to optimize those journeys for device and context. They should be intuitive and end-to-end. Mobile UX, after all these years, is still underappreciated and maybe even misunderstood as an on-demand medium and portable experience… Remember, smartphones are the device that most customers have on- or in hand almost always.
Q: What is an ignite moment then and how is it different from a micro-moment?
Brian: Ignite moments are built on top of the micro-moments and any moment of truth. Ignite moments, in short, are the moments when I have your attention, and you have my attention. Now, what do we do? Well, we make that moment count for everything. Ignite moments understand context, device, intention, with personalization, create a personal, dynamic journey optimized for the customer. And, ignite moments, with edge capabilities, can also deliver next-level experiences in physical and hybrid applications.
As we said, customer experience is defined as the sum of all the engagements a customer has with your brand. People are moving fast. During the pandemic, they too were digitally transformed, expected to work and live online more than in years leading up to 2020. I know they’re distracted, we all are. I know they’re moving fast. I know they’re multitasking. If you’re looking for something that’s incredibly personal or meaningful when you’re looking for a desired outcome and I, as the marketer, or better yet, an experience-designer, have to design for you, your way, in that very moment.
Q: Where are these ignite moments found?
Brian: They aren’t found, they’re created. I want you to think about your ignite moments as “wow” moments, an opportunity to sprinkle a little magic on top of each touchpoint. These are special moments to remind people that they matter, that you value their time, that you intend to build a relationship built upon exceptional experiences—whether it’s an email, whether it’s a text, whether it’s a website or a landing page, whether it’s packaging, whether it’s a script for customer service, or whether it’s a process or a policy that affects customer experiences in any way.
Experiences happen anywhere and everywhere, even on platforms, you don’t control. And, they are all opportunities to create an ignite moment. They require design.
Another way to think about it is this way. Experiences are more emotional than they are transactional. But for the most part, especially in this race to digital transformation, customer journeys are becoming increasingly transactional. While technically, transactional touchpoints and journeys work, they are most likely not delightful, enjoyable, or memorable. That’s because touchpoints aren’t typically designed for emotion, and as such, not they’re not inherently experiential, at least not intentionally,l by design.
The extraordinary customer experience is the result of exceptional experience design. Experience is an emotional interpretation of any given moment. It reflects expectations, self-interest, and aspirations. If it is unusual in any way, it can become memorable, hopefully in the most wonderful way. Here’s what’s really interesting though, and maybe even counterintuitive. Any transaction that meets expectations, is most likely forgettable. If though, touchpoints are designed as extraordinary, meaning, unusually great, customers will most likely remember it.
If you desire to create a memorable experience, it must then also be exceptional.
Q: How can looking for these moments further our marketing efforts?
Brian: Marketing is no longer a department or a function. Because experiences are emotional and the experience people have can be memorable, for better or worse, or forgettable, marketing should take responsibility for the parts and the total sum of the customer’s experience. Like IT is to business, marketing too must align and collaborate with and even unite silos and functions to shape and unify the customer’s experience.
Start by defining your signature experience and ensure that it aligns with the brand and brand promise. If the brand doesn’t not translate to emotion, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the brand for these new times.
I would suggest always looking at the customer’s experience through the lens of an existing experience and then compare those experiences to aspirational ignite moments. Look for what’s broken, what adds friction, what causes issues, what’s forgettable, because we have to build upon that. We have to fix those things first. Then, look for opportunities to deliver your signature experience through each engagement. This is where ignite moments…ignite.
Q: Any final thoughts?
Brian: Learn what matters to your customer. Study the best experiences in the world, beyond your industry. Winning customer journeys and experiences will be rooted in these ignite moments. Find opportunities to sprinkle magic and make transactional touchpoints more experiential, memorable, and desirable. Create #Ignitemoments to reimagine edge and omnichannel journeys to enhance the customer’s experience!
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