Regardless of industry or role, B2B marketers are focusing their attention—and budgets—on customer experience management.
The proof is in the numbers, further supported by marketing analysts discussing the need to prioritize consistency and the revenue impact of effective customer experience (CX).
However, as many organizations have discovered, the value of customer experience is easy to identify but much more challenging to achieve.
Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: laying out interconnected pathways for your customer as they travel from awareness to purchase to advocacy. We call this experience interlock.
At Kapost, a leading provider of marketing content software, we define an experience as “a set of content assets or touchpoints with a similar purpose: to move a customer persona from a set of questions to a set of conclusions.”
Let’s unpack this definition with a fictional example.
A CIO is searching for information on cloud security to understand whether or not she needs to make it a priority for her company in the coming year. She reads an article written by an expert who works for a security software company—let’s call this company Securita—and her questions are answered.
This article is her first “experience” with Securita.
Once she reaches the conclusion that cloud security is a priority and she understands the best practices she should start implementing, a new set of questions arises. Now she wants to know how other CIOs like her are successfully addressing these challenges.
She watches video interviews with CIOs who are successfully implementing the approaches outlined in the first experience. These videos then convince her to look more closely at cloud security solutions—a service that Securita is well equipped to provide.
This is her second “experience” with Securita.
With a well-optimized, marketing-driven customer experience, these two experiences would seamlessly lead from one to the next and so on down the funnel, with the right content served up to this CIO at the right time.
The Problem: Experience Disconnect
Unfortunately, the flow from one experience to another—from one set of conclusions to the next set of questions—is rarely delivered by B2B organizations. Because of this, buyers reach dead ends in their customer journey.
If we were to plot the current customer experience for even the most advanced companies today, it would look a bit like the image below. Each dot represents an experience, and the lines represent the connection between them.
The disconnects are usually a result of siloed departments and a lack of internal alignment across the channels and teams required to make these connections intuitive for the customer.
For example, the corporate communications team may create outstanding top-of-funnel content for the blog and website, covering specific topics that relate to the company solutions at a high level. Meanwhile, however, the demand generation team may create an entirely different set of experiences for marketing automation and email channels.
Without connecting the two together, the buyer gets tossed from topic to topic across the different channels. (For a more in-depth picture, check out the fable of Securita.)
This is what Forrester refers to when discussing how “hard handoff points create jarring customer experiences as staff tosses buyers from one department to another.”
The Solution: Experience Interlock
To solve this problem, marketers must map out their experiences and the interconnection between those experiences.
This is experience interlock: the connection between the conclusions of one experience and the questions of a subsequent experience.
Rifts in the customer experience arise when different marketing teams don’t coordinate their content-creation efforts. Accordingly, solving that coordination problem in large, fast-moving organizations across a dizzying multitude of channels and tools seems like a daunting operational challenge.
By simply mapping out the customer experience and identifying the content, teams, and channels involved in fixing the disconnects, marketers can make the steps necessary to optimize the customer journey.
Experience interlock makes the role of each functional group very clear, and helps align disparate teams with a common strategy across channels and technologies.
When a clear path through the customer experience map is charted and the interlock between experiences is planned, teams can focus on execution, allowing them to function independently without losing the broader connection.
When executed effectively, the marketing-driven customer experience map will look something like this:
A coherent customer experience requires coordination and integration between siloed teams, but achieving cooperation between disparate teams in complex, fast-moving organizations is complicated at best.
The solution is experience interlock, which removes the need for spontaneous, asset-by-asset coordination.
When disparate teams can simply comply with the broad design afforded by experience interlock, they can focus their minds and efforts on what they do best: creating the very best content.