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Read These Essential Books And Start 2018 With Momentum

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What is the best way to jump start your new year's resolutions? Reading insightful and enlightening books, of course. In this whirlwind of social and technological disruptions, digital leaders must focus on the continuous improvement of themselves, if they aim at improving their strategy. 

We all know how important is to learn from the experiences of the others, and books can help you achieve a more profound and accurate vision of your environment, customers, and business. Here is our list - revamped for 2018 - of the essential books that will inspire you and the ones around you all year long.

We originally published this list at the end of 2015. Of course, a lot has happened in the last two years: the smartphone has definitely become our daily companion; new technologies have taken the center stage (i.e. the Internet of Things) and old one have gained a new bright light (virtual and augmented reality).

Ultimately, the social rules have evolved and people too. Many books have tackled the challenge of the digital disruption and its consequences on our life as human beings, customers, entrepreneurs. 

To be truly effective in understanding and engaging your digital customers, you need to be willing to learn. Learning is so important, in fact, that we have included it as one of the seven steps in the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a step-by-step guide to deliver an amazing digital customer experience.

Know yourself, know your customers, know your context. Stay current; embrace the constant flow of digital innovations; enhance the user experience at every single touch point of the customer journey.

We corssed the threshold that separates the old world (with traditional business patterns and marketing funnel) and the new world (where empowered digital customers dictate the brand agenda).

Changes happen so fast that even the most successful brands - Apple, Google, Amazon - do not rest on their laurels. Digital business is a work in progress, by definition.

The next disruption may come from unexpected places: the Internet of Things, psychographics, machine learning and predictive analytics, proximity marketing, wearable technology, cloud computing, innovative social media, virtual and augmented reality.

None will ever grow by staying closed in his comfort zone. You must confront with the best-in-class, because the only way to see the future is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Here is our updated list of the essential readings you should not miss.

THE LIFE PROJECT, HELEN PEARSON

"The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story Of 70,000 Ordinary Lives", by science journalist Helen Pearson, narrates the longest-running study of human development in the world, started in 1946 and grown to encompass five generations of children. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them.

PRE-SUASION, ROBERT CIALDINI

Included in the list of the best business books of 2016, "Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence And Persuade" is the latest effort by social psychologist Robert Cialdini, author of the renowned "Influence". The book explains how to capitalize the "privileged moment for change" to deliver your message in the most effective way. To change minds but also states of mind. 

DISRUPTING DIGITAL BUSINESS, R “RAY” WANG

In the world where companies no longer control the conversation, they need to learn how to create an authentic experience for their customers. Digital leaders must shift from creating promises to keeping promises. In this era of social connections and constant connectivity, the experience becomes the main competitive differentiator, influencing the way brands plan and execute their strategy.  

DEEP THINKING, GARRY KASPAROV

We all know Garry Kasparov as the greatest chess player of all times. With his book, titled "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends And Human Creativity Begins", he also proves himself to be a great explorer of the artificial intelligence. The story starts in 1997 with the chess match against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, a watershed moment in the history of technology.

THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, GARY VAYNERCHUK

The entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk proclaims, with data-driven evidence, that we have entered into a new era for business. In this one, companies need to scale their communication to a one-to-one level, no matter how big they are and how much money they invest. The best way to do it is to harness the power from social media, used as a word-of-mouth and customer experience platform.

THE TELOMERE EFFECT, ELIZABETH BLACKBURN & ELISSA EPEL

Have you wondered why some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds and why some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-year-olds? Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres. In this book, with the help of her colleague Elissa Epel, she highlights how the changes we can make to our daily habits can protect our telomeres and increase our health spans.

THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE, JOSEPH MICHELLI

Why should I pay more for an average coffee? The secret behind the 'Starbucks formula' lies in the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, focusing on the overall customer experience rather than the product. If you want to understand what loyalty means in the digital era, Starbucks is your landmark brand: personalized experiences, employee engagement, omni-channel customer journey.

THE NORDSTROM WAY, ROBERT SPECTOR

Nordstrom, a very well-known retail brand, is universally recognized as one of the best examples of customer service excellence. In fact, all other companies use it as a cornerstone, aiming at becoming the “Nordstrom of their industry”. What is the secret of this enduring - even in economic turmoil - success? The direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your customers.

MASTERING LEADERSHIP, ROBERT J. ANDERSON & WILLIAM A. ADAMS

Is leadership a competitive advantage, or is it just costing you in terms of time, money and personal development? Today's escalating complexity puts leadership effectiveness at a premium. Mastering Leadership involves developing the effectiveness of leaders - individually and collectively - and turning that leadership into a competitive advantage. This book aims at offering "an integrated framework for breakthrough performance and extraordinary business results".

THE CUSTOMER MANIFESTO, PAMELA HERRMANN

Let’s start with two numbers: 80 percent of businesses believe they are providing superior customer experience, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree they provide it. The disconnect is due to the fact that amazing customer experience is not the result of a program, it is the effect of a human and personal connection, across all touch points. This is where successful entrepreneurs start, to grow their business.

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIASCO, ANDREW REISE

To learn the foundations of an amazing experience for customers, you must learn not just the best practices and success stories, but also the misguided adventures. Using a fictional situation, the book - written by the experts of Andrew Reise Consulting - tells the story of how you can start from a fiasco (a YouTube video, in this case) to build a successful customer experience strategy.

OUTSIDE IN, HARLEY MANNING

This book is about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. Customer experience is the most powerful - and yet misunderstood - element of corporate strategy today. Your business value is not established just by the quality of the output (your product) but also by the quality of the connection between you and your customers (the experience). Identifying and solving the problems inside your organization has the potential to increase dramatically sales and decrease costs.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, JEANNE BLISS

The theory is good, case studies are even better. This book is all about true stories that can teach you how to improve your strategy. In the end, you will understand the difference between having customers who like you and customers who love you (truly, madly, deeply). Loyal and engaged customers are the key, and the author has studied tons of companies to identify the five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty, in good times and bad.

INBOUND MARKETING, BRIAN HALLIGAN & DHARMESH SHAH

Inbound marketing is a new paradigm in the relationship with customers, a methodology that replaces interruption with communication and value creation. This book, written by the two founders of the automation platform Hubspot, gives you all introductory hints to change your content strategy and ultimately attract, convert, close and delight. Transforming your customers from complete strangers to loyal promoters.

TO SELL IS HUMAN, DANIEL PINK

If you need a fresh look at the art of selling in the age of digital disruption, this book will offer a new perspective, based on the idea that we are all salespeople. Among all other things, the author describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive. Because, in sales, numbers matter.

Of course, there are lots of great readings we did non include in this brief list. Please, use the comments to suggest your personal favorites.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Storytelling Inbound Marketing Mobile

Take These 5 Steps And Reinvent Your Customer Journey Map

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The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

With the wisdom of this Chinese saying, let's start 'our journey' to discover how the 'customer journey' has changed in the last five years, pushed by the evolution of mobile technology, and what this means for your Brand.  

The rise of the born-digital generations of customers (Millennials and post-Millennials) makes your traditional customer journey map obsolete. Every single map that you have used in the last decades is now useless. How can you recover?

In the digital ecosystem, everything changes at such an impressive pace that you risk losing sight if you do not get a new compass, a unique perspective to engage and monetize customers. The disruption brought in by the smartphone is unprecedented and requires drastic measures.

First things first, we need to clarify the difference between traditional customer journeys and the digital customer journey. We can simplify and streamline the two processes:

Traditional Customer Journey

Think of it as a (mostly) linear sequence going from the Awareness to the Consideration and then Purchase:

  • This funnel unravels across few touch points, well-known and presided by marketers;
  • The customer has a limited set of alternatives;
  • The communication is usually top-down and lead by the Brand;
  • Customer's choices are influenced by the 4 Ps of marketing, by routine and the trusted opinions of my closed circle of friends and relatives.

Digital Customer Journey

A neverending journey, not necessarily starting from the Attention/Awareness or ending with the Loyalty:

  • This funnel unravels across an increasing number of touch points, both in physical and digital worlds.
  • The customer has tons of alternatives;
  • The communication is always two-way;
  • Customer's choices are rarely influenced by advertising, price or routine. The circle of trust includes the online communities: social networks, e-commerce reviews, forums and blogs.

The evolution of technology reshapes the essence of the journey and this, in return, defines the pillars of your marketing strategy. In our ecosystem you should never underestimate:  

  1. The arise of young customers - the picky millennials and the elusive GenerationZ.
  2. The growth of connected technologies - trackers, wearables, beacons, the Internet of Things.
  3. The dawn of Micro Moments - real-time mobile interactions, driven by specific intents.

The digital customers are accustomed to living surrounded by connected devices that melt the offline and online worlds. They build their identity by interacting with their virtual and pshysical communities, and do not recognize any other way of experiencing (life, emotions, and relationships).

In our markets, made flat by the globalization, your customers refuse to be considered as part of an indistinct mass. Each customer wants to be treated as an individual. This rejection of the massification requires that you invest your marketing efforts on the personalization and relevance of contents and experiences.

Today, there is a question to answer: Why should people buy from you when they can choose from a potentially infinite set of alternatives? You are not simply battling against your neighbors; you are fighting against thousands of suppliers from all over the world. Even a great, unique product might be not enough to win.  

What then? The customer experience becomes the real key to differentiate your Brand, and the creation of a new customer journey map the ground to deliver personalized experiences. You need an innovative approach to the mapping of an unstructured journey, or your clients will still be strangers, inanimate figures you do not know anything about.

Luckily, you can still rely on a few basic requirements that have not changed ever since the idea of ‘customer journey map’ was considered for the first time. While the contents and the framework evolves with technology, you will always have to start your planning from these foundational elements:

Buyer Personas + Customers + Emotions + Research + Touch Points + Objectives + Measurement

On the one hand, marketers need to reach the customers when they stand in the early stages of the journey; unfortunately, that is the most obscure moment. The Brands usually know very little about customers' emotional profiles, and the traditional research methodologies does not provide useful data that show what clients were doing and thinking before - let's say - they entered your website or store.

That is exactly why you need a revamped version of the journey mapping. Starting with the following prerequisites.

RETHINK THE JOURNEY

Of course, behind a new mapping there is a new journey. Every single social and technological trend leads to the inevitable reinvention of the customer journey. There is no value in a map that ignores the different sources of interaction brought out by the mobile disruption.

The innovation extends the relationship between companies and people, to embrace the added value for both Brands and customers. Stay eyes wide open and willing to test and learn new means of engagement and fidelization; only then you will earn customer's loyalty and trust.

ENGAGE THE CUSTOMER

The foundational element of the journey is the traveller, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many marketers still design their journey map starting from the company and the products instead of the customers.

Since the whole point here is to improve the relationship between your clients and your business, the only way you can build a map that actually works is to bring the customer's perspective into the process. Describe not the experience that you want to provide (or you think you are providing) but the experience that people expect (and you are actually providing).

UNVEIL THE EMOTIONS

The key is to understand how people take decisions and choose what to buy and how to buy. In a world where the smartphone has become the first screen and the attention span is lower than ever, not all customers are alike, and not all journeys should be considered equal.

People embark on very different journeys, driven by peculiar behaviors and personality traits. Each journey has different touch points that can be influenced by unexpected causes and intents. Individual needs, emotions and expectations lead to very personal behaviors. If you do not study these patterns (i.e. Psychographic profiling), you will not be able to reach the contextualization required to appeal each person. 

CONNECT THE DOTS

Mobile technology reshapes the journey, influencing both the space and time of the interaction. The smartphone reboots the entire experience of communicating, searching for information, and connecting with people and brands. According to Nielsen, half of customers believe that mobile is the most important resource in the purchase decision-making.

Mobile platforms already account for more than 60% of total time spent on digital media. Your strategy should think mobile and act local, combining location and behavior to deliver meaningful contents, wherever your customers are. Connect the dots to get a holistic view of the ecosystem.

UNLOCK THE (SMALL) DATA

While it is still hard to understand what customers think and do in the early stages of their journey, companies can now take advantage of something they did not have before. Something that shuffles the cards on the table: small data.

Connected technologies create a large quantity of information about the customer's path; you only have to find the way to unlock the power hidden into this information. The key is to match the different sources and step from Big to Small data. Always remember that the real value not the information itself but what you do with this knowledge.

"Activating customer journeys to capture value requires journeys to be treated like products that need to be actively managed, measured, and nurtured. How well companies are able to do that will dictate how successful they are in making customer journeys a competitive advantage." (McKinsey)

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Project Management Branding Big Data Mobile Customer Journey

4 Gamification Strategies For Business - Can You Find Yours?

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"Games are the new normal." These words, pronounced by Al Gore in 2011, are even more true five years later. Today, thanks to the spread of mobile devices, games are everywhere, as a stratified layer over our daily life. 

Talking about games as a business tool, we do not just imply the Pokémon craze; we also consider the idea of applying game dynamics and thinking to non-game applications. Gamification strategies, in a few words.

In the last decade, gamification has established itself as a powerful tool that uses a combination of internal and external rewards to drive both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As a result, it can help you address your target more successfully to achieve multiple business results.

There is still little knowledge, however, about gamification and a lot of perplexity and hesitation about how to get started. The main reason for skepticism is that, when people hear the word ‘gamification’, they often just hear the sound of the first element, the ‘game.  

They immediately think of a quick, fun one-shot initiative for short-term entertainment purposes, aimed at generating some word-of-mouth and awareness.

Also, the fact that there are so many companies adopting a gamified system and missing the mark may lead to the conclusion that these mechanics do not work with complex organizations.

The truth is hard to swallow: in most cases, failure is the result of underlying issues within the organization itself. That is, using gamification as a set-it-and-forget-it tool, without fully understanding how it works and, even worse, without a clear goal and a coherent strategy.

We have stressed out so many times the importance of game dynamics in business contests, and yet we have to admit that lots of marketing professionals still do not take it seriously. They do not see it as a valid alternative to traditional methods, in the a priori belief that gamification is quite the same as games, ignoring that it comes in many shapes and forms.

There are many online blogs and resources where you can find complete lists of mistakes you must avoid when using gamification for your business purposes.

Most of them can be summed up in one: Losing the perspective and use gamification like it was the objective rather than the tool to reach it, and then subsequently end up having a mere technological exercise that does not serve your business purposes.

It is one thing to apply gamification from scratch as a one-shot, just to do something different and generate some word of mouth. It is quite another to implement it thoughtfully, looking at consistency and dealing with long-term goals.

In a certain way, it is like confusing the method with the methodology: as any other business practice, to be effective gamification must be based on a coherent overall paradigm – that is, your approach, your goal-based strategy.

Considered with the right approach, gamification is one of the most promising areas in marketing and is positioned to become a highly significant trend over the next years. And there are some good reasons.

VERSATILITY

As a method, it is up to you to include gamification in a proper strategy. So, you can apply it in various areas of your company:

- Internally, to motivate your employees and sales team improving their performance;

- Externally, to drive your customers' behavior delighting them with engaging dynamics and interactions.

MULTIPLE GOALS

In a world where creativity and innovation are increasingly crucial for competitiveness, and where the ‘fifth’ p - people - of marketing has become the ‘first’, the gamification represents a great the best way to bring your brand and customers together.

Whether people means your employees or your customers, all you have to do is to select specific actions and rewards – the two most important elements of gamification - and combine them creatively to reflect and give voice to your brand values, engaging people with diverse activities simultaneously.

PERSONALIZATION

Today, the employee and customer experience has replaced the product/service as the main element of differentiation in crowded markets. Digital customers do not just want to buy things; they want to live experiences. They want personalized experiences.

Thanks to psychological and motivational theories behind game dynamics and mechanics, using gamification you can decide to incentive specific actions, activities and behaviors in specific audiences.

Take your buyer personas' characteristics as 'filters' to help you choose the most efficient dynamic for every customer segment.

However, as said before, to confuse the method with the methodology is the ever-present risk with gamification, and it ends up with a mere technological exercise. The first step to avoid it is to clarify where you want to position within the vast world of gamification.

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That is why a model - such as the one we have sketched above - might be useful if you are considering gamification as the next step or a future step in your marketing strategy.

Analyzing a set of successful case studies in the gamification landscape, we have identified four main categories of strategies. They can be inserted in a two-by-two matrix, formed by crossing two fundamental elements:

Actions. What kinds of actions, activities, and behaviors enable to participate and succeed? Do they have an impact - more or less direct - on your bottom line, or not?

Rewards. What kinds of premiums and benefits do you offer in return for these actions and behaviors? Are they about your products and services, or not?

By crossing these two elements - actions and rewards - and considering as variables the different forms they can take, we get four broad typologies that might help you choose where you want to position.

In most cases, companies decide for what we call the focused strategy. Being "Focused" in this context means to adopt a business-oriented approach with both actions and rewards, encouraging desired behaviors that have a - more or less direct - positive impact on your bottom line, and giving visibility to your products or services at the same time, putting them as rewards.

For example, Urban Outfitters’ customers receive points when they use the app to upload and share photos of Urban Outfitters merchandise on their social networks. They can exchange points to receive rewards such as designing their outfit or hold their own fashion show at an Urban Outfitters store.

Through a series of mini challenges, that include tweeting about a purchase, using a certain hashtag, or visiting a particular store, customers receive rewards for their interactivity, including badges, access to merchandise, and early sales notices.

Rewarded actions can be of various kinds, more ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ depending, in general, to what extent they involve money. The more 'soft' they are, the more they take distance from giving you a profit, but can come close to other means of outcomes and make your brand more human.

Look for example at DICK'S Sporting Goods, a brand that rewards users for their healthy lifestyle. With its app, DICK'S Sporting Goods allows users to earn points for achieving activity goals, motivating and encouraging them to reach their personal goals by offering special savings for being active.

Take also the Nike Hong Kong #Makeitcount Campaign: participants complete “missions” in a variety of activities such as running, skateboarding, playing football, walking a pet or attending a dance class. They then share a photo or status on Facebook, earning points that they can exchange for accessories, clothing, accessories, equipment and tickets to sporting events.

These two are typical examples of the "Engaging" gamification strategy because promoted and rewarded activities are related to people’s daily life, not to your brand.

Instead, the "Generous" type does exactly the opposite, encouraging desirable actions with a much more people-oriented approach in the rewards system, and thus giving users the opportunity to choose from a wide range of benefits, not just your products or services.

What about the fourth type? Unlike all others, here both actions and rewards are unrelated to your business. “What will I gain?”, you may ask. This fourth typology is the creation the genuine experience, a game where you are delighting and "Unconventional".

Employee engagement and customer care initiatives - whose primary objective is to build a stronger trusting relationship - are excellent examples of this gamification type in practice.

This is not an unexplored topic, and online it is easy to find use cases from small and big companies that have successfully adopted gamification for very different purposes.

You just have to find your inner reasons and understand which types of mechanics resonate better with your customers or employees.

And remember that "it is play that helps us do serious things better." (Jake Orlowitz, ‎Head of The Wikipedia Library - ‎Wikimedia Foundation)

 

Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights based on many years of Neosperience's expertise that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Branding Mobile

10 Inspiring SlideShare Presentations For Your Customer Experience

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In the last few years, SlideShare has become the perfect place if you are a digital leader looking for inspiration. A true business platform, with over 70 million unique visitors. No wonder that it is today one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world.

It surely is the world’s largest community for professional content, even though sometimes the amount of information can be daunting. We have done the dirty work for you, tracking down 10 of the most inspiring SlideShare presentations that could help you improve customer experience.

As of now, SlideShare counts on 18 million pieces of unique content. It is widely considered an easy way for brands and individuals to share their expertise with large audiences across social platforms, building a distinctive identity in an easy-to-consume format.

If you have a story packed with compelling visuals, 'SlideShares' make the perfect content dissemination tool. Thus, you must consider this site a major cornerstone for your content marketing strategy.

Even if you are just searching for a good read about customer experience, there are plenty of presentations you can take as a guide, to learn how to engage and monetize your digital customers, and eventually retain their eternal loyalty.

Customer experience management mirrors the complexity of the digital customer journey of the mobile era. From social media to mobile marketing, from Big Data to customer retention, there are many aspects you have to take into account before implementing your business strategy.

Here is our selection of must-read for all marketers and entrepreneurs out there.

"How Google Works" by Eric Schmidt
Though it may seem strange, in the era of global connectivity too many companies still don’t know how exactly Google works. This presentation by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google, show how critical is to understand search engines, even more now that customers have gone mobile, and brands have to face the consequences of the Mobilegeddon.
 
 

 
“Customer Retention: Why Your Dog Would Make More Money Than You” by Chris Hexton
Great business ideas might come from unexpected places. Chris Hexton knows it well and delivers one of the most interesting presentations with this excursus on customer retention. We know that loyalty is cheaper than acquisition but harder to get. How can you improve to conquer your customers’ heart? Just learn from the loyalty your dog shows to you.
 
 

 
"2016 Internet Trends Report" by Mary Meeker
When it comes to understanding where technology is headed to and how you can use it to improve your customer experience, nothing beats the yearly release of the Internet Trends Report. Mobile technology has disrupted business, changing the way we live, we search product information and make purchases. If you still have to adapt your strategy, this presentation will make you - finally - change your mind.
 
"Digital Darwinism and the Dawn of Generation C" by Brian Solis
Brian Solis is a well-known marketing guru whose work focuses on the digital disruption and the future of business. With this presentation, he explains how to develop an evolutionary approach to marketing. A change in your mindset is the only way to build an extraordinary digital customer experience, and engage with the new generation of customers, empowered and always connected. 
 

"Why Content Marketing Fails" by Rand Fishkin
If you want to create a profitable connection with digital customers, you must start from your storytelling. The importance of an innovative (and omni-channel) content marketing strategy is highlighted in this SlideShare presentation by Rand Fishkin, self-proclaimed 'wizard of Moz'. Because sometimes what you need to learn is what NOT to do, and how to recover from your errors.
 
 
"Digital Strategy 101" by Bud Caddell
What makes a great digital strategy? This question is the tipping point for the presentation created by Bud Caddell, renowned consultant and marketing blogger. Almost 100-slides long and packed with lots of useful insights, Digital Strategy 101 may help you find your answers to critical questions: What is a digital strategy? What core concepts should you know? What are the real-life business effects of a great strategy?
 
 

"Social Media Secrets" by Guy Kawasaki
In the last decade, Facebook, Twitter and all social networks have become so important to build (or fix) customer experience that digital marketing is not even conceivable without them. Whether you use social media marketing to showcase your products, to engage with customers or to serve them better, there are secrets you need to know. You will find them in the SlideShare presentation by Guy Kawasaki, a collection of tips and tricks to rock your social strategy.
 
 
"The History of SEO" by Hubspot
SEO is dead, long live SEO: with the introduction of the new mobile-friendly algorithm, Google has brought to attention the importance of search engine optimization. The spread of the smartphone and the emergence of mobile searches present marketers with a considerable challenge: How to build an optimized identity across all digital properties to increase sales? This presentation is great to understand what SEO meant at the beginning, and what it means in the mobile era.
 

"Digital, Social and Mobile" by We Are Social
Yes, this presentation by We Are Social dates back to 2015, but it is so humongous that it is worth reading even in 2016. This SlideShare covers all things digital, a comprehensive picture that contains global snapshots, regional overviews, and in-depth profiles of 30 of the world's largest economies. Whether you are looking for invaluable statistics or just trying to undestand how to connect with customers abroad, you will find the answer in this report.
 

"20 Inspirational Customer Experience Quotes" by Neosperience
Let us to close with a little self-reference. Where can you start to improve customer experience and foster engagement? Learning from those that have already taken the decisive step into the Age of the Customer. Here is our selection of 20 inspirational customer experience quotes, to “get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves."
 


If you need more food for thought, you can also download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.
Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook
 
 
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Facebook Branding Content Marketing Mobile

Engage Millennial Customers Using Mobile & Social Media

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Millennial customers defy any categorization by definition. They have some traits in common, however: Mostly optimistic; self-aware and demanding; always connected and empowered by technology.

They breathe in symbiosis with their smartphone. They definitely are the living proof of the digital transformation, that has changed the way we live, communicate, search and make purchases. How can you engage and monetize millennials?

Given that premise, it’s easy to see why brands are so focused on the Generation Y (those born between 1981 and 2000). They are your digital customers, and a failure to impress them will likely lead to your irrelevance on the market. Do you dare to risk so much?

Of course, millennials are not the only customers you need to attract and engage. However, in an era shaped by mobile devices - where the ability to exploit the micro moments means everything - they become a key factor to decide whether you succeed or fail.

WHO’S YOUR CUSTOMER?

It's not all about millennials, as said. On the one hand you have the Generation X (1965 - 1980) and Baby Boomers (1946 - 1964), born and raised in an analog world. These customers are still critical but are going to become inevitably marginal. On the other hand, you have the Generation Z (from 2001 on), born and raised in a digital ecosystem but still too young and with low buying power.

Here’s the secret of Millennials. They are your true native digital customers. Conscious of their role and their purchasing power. It's not just guesses: Statistics talk about some 600 billion dollars spent by millennials customers every year globally, a figure projected to reach 1.4 billion in 2020.

Breaking news, before 2018 ends they will surpass the spending power of Baby Boomers. A very good news if you are a retailer, because millennials - unlike their fathers - love to spend. They do it now that earn less than their fathers, and they will do even more so in the future. As a result, your only goal for the next years is to be obsessed with the pursuit of a great customer experience for millennials.

HOW MILLENNIALS BUY

They spend more than save, but they aren’t making the same buying decisions their parents made. The purchase behaviors of digital customers have deeply changed in the last decade. It's not just what they buy but also - and most of all - how they buy. Your entire strategy, from awareness to conversion and loyalty, must begin with this fact.

The emergence of Micro Moments, as told by Google, means that your business strategy has two founding elements: mobile devices and social media. Ask any Millennial what is the only thing he can't live live without, and you will receive the same answer over and over. The smartphone. Today’s customers rely on their phone for any daily activity, outside and inside the physical store.

Since the smartphone has become the primary door to access the Internet, you need to preside all possibile channels to establish a strong and engaging relationship with customers. Millennials are connected 24/7, and if you are not there when they need you, it’s like you don’t exist at all. Just look at the following numbers:

  • 58% of mobile shoppers are Millennials;

  • 50% of Millennials use their smartphone to search for information while shopping;

  • 41% of Millennials have made at least one purchase using mobile;

  • Millennials are twice as likely to be influenced by mobile apps while deciding a purchase.

Whether you like it or not, today every company is a mobile company. Mobile commerce is disrupting your business. A fancy responsive website is just the beginning of the story, a piece of the puzzle, together with social networks, mobile apps, augmented and virtual reality, and chatbots.

millennial-customers

SOCIAL IS THE NETWORK

Where do Millennials find their most trustworthy source of knowledge? Most of this generation’s time is spent using technology to gain access to social media platforms. A complete framework for the customer journey considers the social networks one of the most critical touch points to oversee.

Social media are their favorite place to share opinions and gather information about brands and products. If you are a retailer, a fashion & luxury firm or even a financial institution, never underestimate the importance of social dynamics. Millennials are not loyal to companies; they are loyal to innovation:

  • They trust word-of-mouth as a purchase incentive;

  • They stay updated on brands through social pages;

  • They want to be engaged by brands on social media;

  • They dislike traditional loyalty programs;

  • They always come back to the brand they truly love;

  • In the next future, they will buy directly from the social profile.

Choose the networks that fit you best and use them to attract customers, answer to their questions, delight them with useful content, serve in real-time (and ultimately sell your products). Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube: to engage your audience, you first need to understand who and where they are.

THE APPS THEY LOVE

Downloading mobile apps for personal and professional life is like a game for Millennials. Mobile app marketing, therefore, becomes a faulty science when it comes to digital customers. You must reinvent your KPIs. The fact that they download your app doesn’t remotely mean they will use it or even open it.

The truth is, some apps become old and do not stay trendy for long, so they are celebrated for a short period before they quickly disappear (and get uninstalled). A small part - only 26% - is used daily, and very few become necessities for ever-connected customers. Spotify, Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Pokemon Go are the apps Millennials use the most in 2015.

What can you do, if you are not in the lucky ones, to capitalize on your mobile app development? The secret of successful apps is "Be sure to make your customer’s life easier."

  • Build around a distinctive concept that creates a consistent experience;

  • Make sure your app is available wherever digital customers may find it: app stores, social media, search engines;

  • Maintain engagement using bonus contents, exclusive features, and gamification dynamics.

HOW TO ENGAGE MILLENNIALS

Once you know who these digital customers are, what they like and how they buy, you still need to understand one more thing. How to engage millennials so that your brand stays top of mind when they make purchases. They take technology for granted, so that is the ideal starting point.

Think and act mobile - 19 out of 20 Millennials across the world own a smartphone and most check them an average of 43 times per day. There is a huge opportunity here, and the app is just one piece of your mobile strategy: customer assistants (bots), wearable technology, the smartwatch, proximity marketing, geo-fencing, the Internet of Things. Everything you do must be mobile-first.

Connect on any channel - traditional advertising alone doesn’t work, nor old fidelity cards or newspapers. Digital channels become the main reference for all things marketing if you want to build a successful campaign. According to Accenture, 68% of millennials demand “an integrated, seamless experience, regardless of the channel.

Ask them to contribute - the Generation Y is also known as ‘Me Generation’. One of the most effective ways to engage Millennials is playing up to this peculiar mind-set, by asking them to contribute with self-generated contents. Personalization is the keyword you should never forget when dealing with empowered, exacting customers.

Serve them fast & easy - whatever you do, do it fast & easy. Millennials are less than pleased to waste their time waiting for your reply. They are the perfect multi-taskers, with a short attention span. If you can’t reach them in the micro-moment they want you, then you have lost your customers. Ensure you provide a good experience across all channels.

Stay true and epic - Millennials look for meaningful interactions. They do not consider price as the main brand differentiator; the ability to stand out and be amazing is what makes a truly epic brand. Whether you do it by using content or disruptive technologies (i.e. virtual reality), create a unique story rooted in your true brand identity.

And remember: Praise and criticism are the two sides of the same coin. Deliver an amazing digital customer experience and you will earn their trust and loyalty; offer a poor customer experience and they will abandon you with no regrets.

 

Need more insights on how to engage millennial customers? Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Branding Retail Content Marketing Wearable Mobile

10 Keywords To Improve Customer Experience In The Next Years

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Words have always been important, the ground to establish relationships between human beings. In the Internet era, we have learned that keywords also play a critical role in determining the success of business.

Content marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising, mobile app stores: they all rely on the power of keywords. The connection between a brand and customers makes no exception: when you plan your digital customer experience, there are pivotal keywords you cannot ignore.

"Words are free. It is how you use them that may cost you." (Anonymous)

What do you do when planning a piece of content for your company blog? You look for the most interesting and searched keywords. And when you are about to launch a new website? You take care of the meta and connect the contents to the context (your brand, your identity).

What happens if you put online an AdWords campaign without deep keywords analysis? You will likely spend your budget in useless clicks and bad positioning.

Keywords make the foundations of your storytelling and, at the same time, create the context for your digital customer experience. They have the power to guide your development strategy, not just to influence on your content.

At this point, it is important to clarify that the experience cannot be reduced to SEO tricks, advertising, and optimized online contents. The customer journey unravels across many touch points, in the physical and digital worlds.

What you do to engage customers and create a meaningful experience in each touch point is always more important than what you say. The management of experiences is not just a declaration of intent; excellence is not a copy.

"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality." (Edgar Allan Poe) 

There is nothing worse than facts that do not match the promises. Aiming too high with your words can jeopardize your position in customers’ mind if you cannot meet (not to tell exceed) expectations with facts.

For example, in a recent report, Google states that only 9 percent of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it does not satisfy their needs, in terms of information provided or overall experience. Also, 28 percent will be less likely to purchase products from that company in the future.

However, in the same report, we find out that 69 percent of customers agree that the quality, timing, and relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.

To sum up, keywords are extremely helpful:

  • For customers, as a compass to find a product, identify the essence of a brand and create an emotional relationship with a company.
  • For businesses, as a compass narrate the inner values of a brand, and to give a sense (meaning and direction) to every action in a holistic view.

For their own nature, keywords are unstable. Just like there are no tools that work for any kind of business without distinctions, the same happens with keywords: they are very peculiar and change with the evolution of society and technology.

So, keep in mind that what we are about to say might be not valid in five years. Nothing is forever, even more so in an age shaped by mobile devices.

EXPERIENCE

What is the most critical keyword when you need to create and manage digital customer experience? Experience, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many companies still do not understand that ‘experience’ is not just smoke and mirrors to hide a product-centered strategy.

CONNECTION

The customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a company. In the Age of the Customer, the key to succeeding is not product-based; it is concealed in the connection between your brand and people, and constantly rewritten as a result of the digital and mobile transformation.

ENGAGEMENT

To sell is the ultimate goal of your business strategy. How can you get there, ensuring that those sales are not once and for all? Engagement is the answer. Customer engagement and employee engagement. You need to engage digital customers and employees, leveraging technology and social media to increase loyalty.

MOMENTS

The smartphone and all other digital and mobile technologies split our daily routine into a sequence of moments, each with a specific intent and importance. In a company’s perspective, finding the micro moments of truth (mostly live in connectivity) become critical to engage customers with meaningful experience.  

EMOTIONS

The spread of smart objects and mobile devices does not hide an obvious fact: a meaningful experience always comes from rational and emotional elements. The digital transformation of your business involves both aspects: Loyalty is the result of products or services as much as it is the result of emotional, fulfilling connections.

BEHAVIORS

Businesses must acknowledge that human behaviors and technology evolve together. The analysis of customer behaviors has become a critical part of the experience management. Remember that not all customers were born alike: they embark on very different journeys, with different touch points that can be influenced by very different causes.

MEMBERSHIP

In markets where the experience replaces the product as the main element of differentiation, the competition is mostly played on the field of relationships. One-time sales may boost short-term revenues, but it is only customer retention that will sustain your business in the long-term. This is the essence of the membership economy.  

TESTING

We have said that engagement is the primary objective of any marketing strategy for the Age of the Customer. How can you build genuine engagement? Creating digital contents that resonate well with customers and entice them to spend is not easy. The only way to figure out what works is testing, in other words A/B testing.

ANALYZE

There is no testing without a precise analysis. Data analysis should be inherent to the entire process of planning and executing a customer experience strategy. Digital screens and mobile devices generate a huge amount of information that you must learn to select, examine and transform into actionable insights. In short, smart data.

HACKING

No doubt that growth hacking is one of the buzzwords that marketers love the most right now. It revolves around a new approach that supports the adoption of low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional tools, hacking the business development with growth-focused activities and technologies.

Of course, this is just a selection of the keywords that will guide your strategy in the years to come. You are more than welcome to add your list to the discussion.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Customer Experience Questions For Your 2016 Digital Strategy

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Content Marketing customer engagement

5 Customer Experience Questions For Your 2016 Digital Strategy

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The answers you get depend on the questions you ask.” Thomas S. Kuhn

What was your last bad customer experience? What was the best one you have ever had? Everyone is able to come up with at least one brand in response to these questions. In a company’s perspective, asking questions becomes critical to understand what is working and what is not.

Since the digital customer experience is a two-way communication, some questions should be asked to your customers, some others you should ask them to yourself. Now that 2016 is approaching, you have the chance to evaluate your latest efforts and plan a better digital strategy for the year to come.

We can define the customer experience as the perception people have of their relationship with your brand and products. The overall value of this experience is the result of any interaction that customers have with your company, across all steps of the customer journey, on every device and technology. Customer experience is not just customer service!

Some interactions have a deeper impact on your digital strategy, the ones we call ‘moments of truth.’ They are measurable and help you to understand what customers think about you, what kind of action they take based on their perception of you, and what you should do to engage and delight them.

With the spread of mobile devices and connected technologies - that have fragmented our daily life into micro moments - it is inevitable that the smartphone and its brothers become the key to delivering the most amazing customer experience possible.

So far, we have defined the big picture. The scenario might be common to all organizations, but every single company thinks different and acts different, just like every single customer has unique behaviors. This uniqueness means that your strategy must respond to peculiar pain points, ambitions, history, and needs.

The evolution of business, guided by the transformation of digital technology, unveils huge opportunities (for those who can catch them) but also brings doubts and uncertainty (for those who need to rebuild their identity). Customer experience management should be treated as a science, and science is constantly nourished by questions.

Questions about what you do and what you should do. The path is clear: digital customers will have an increasingly important role on how you define and measure business metrics (brand equity, loyalty, revenue, efficiency and savings). Only and excellent digital customer experience will conquer their heart and keep them coming back.

If customers have a positive emotional outlook towards the experience delivered, especially when compared to a competitor, they are more likely to choose that brand and share the positive vibes. Thus, the customer experience is your most critical differentiator, when it is innovative, contextual and enjoyable.

Now let’s go back to the questions. What kind of questions should you ask? Too many marketers still think that the only ones that really matter are asked to customers. They surely are crucial, but no standard questionnaire can help you today. Ask critical questions to yourself: this is the only way to drive engagement and pave the way to loyalty.

Moving towards 2016, these are five customer experience questions to drive your digital transformation.

WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE DO YOU PROVIDE?

This is the most basic question, yet many brands lack a clear description of their ideal and actual experience. When thinking about the kind of experience you want to provide, it is wise to assume your customer’s point of view, so you can outline the experience you are delivering right now.

This is your starting point for future improvements. Remember that the experience includes not only what you do but also what you are, in terms of brand identity, promise, digital vision, storytelling, technologies and distinctive features.    

ARE YOU INNOVATING TO BE DIFFERENT?

Evolve to meet expectations, and never feel like you have done the best you can and there is nothing more you can do. In some aspects, dissatisfaction is the key to moving on and improving.

Behaviors have changed; customers have gone from passive consumers to empowered digital customers. The customer journey has changed, replacing traditional funnels with a circular (looping) path that does not start with ‘attraction’ and not necessarily end with loyalty. Are you evolving to meet expectations?

WHY ARE YOU ADDING TECHNOLOGY?

The rules of customer engagement are not now and forever. Loyalty is not carved in stone. The main catalyst for disruption is technology, and you can understand the new logic that drives the world only through it.

Evolve to meet expectations, we have said, but why are you doing it? Are you adding a shiny device to your new customer journey map just because everyone else is doing it? Or because it makes life easier for customers? Remember that customers can feel when you are genuine about innovation and when you are just pretending.

CAN YOU SUSTAIN REAL INNOVATION?

True change is not about showing to the others that we could be different; it is about showing to ourselves that we can really be better. Company culture is the cornerstone of a successful customer experience.

If you want to be sure to plan and deliver consistent experiences, start with your organization and employee engagement. Your employees are your first customers; if they feel engaged and involved, so will be your clients. Shared culture, values, and practices pave the way to consistency, and consistency ultimately supports the foundations of your brand image.

HOW WILL YOU MEASURE EFFORTS?

The analysis should be inherent in everything you do, be it content marketing, mobile app development, proximity marketing, customer experience management. What should you track and monitor?

Your customer behaviors, of course, but also your efforts (actions and contents) at every touch point of the customer journey. Measurement is the key to adapt your strategy. How can you measure, then? Set up the proper metrics and implement the right technology to make sense of the noise and translate data into smart data.

Are you ready to find the right answers? Do not be scared to work on developing yourself in a positive way. The only fool question is the one you are afraid to ask.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Ways You Can Use Mobile To Improve Customer Experience

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Mobile

10 Digital Strategy Tips To Overcome the Business Transformation

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Business is undergoing a huge transformation - call it revolution - driven by emerging technologies. Marketers and entrepreneurs need to learn how to understand, engage and delight their digital customers, delivering experiences that are meaningful in every (micro) moment of truth.

In this world shaped by mobile devices - where customers are constantly connected and information is readily available with a tap on the smartphone - what is better than finding smart digital strategy tips to innovate your business plans?

Look around and you will see that every single organization is now involved in the endless search for revolutionary roads to become best-in-class examples of digital transformation. Long gone are the days when ‘digital’ was overlooked and sidelined as the weird cousin of traditional marketing. Innovation, today, inevitably translates into digital innovation.

In the Age of the Digital Customer, marketing planning needs to fulfill two different requirements:

  • On the one hand, develop and narrate the brand storytelling, building upon company’s values and uniqueness to assert loyalty;
  • On the other hand, engage customers across all channels and touch points, delivering a true real-time customer experience on every channel.

The avalanche of mobile devices has deeply changed the way people live, communicate and connect to each other. Instant decisions and micro moments have replaced long decision making, and the entire customer experience comes out disrupted from the process.

You need to embrace the change, but how? Not every company is ready to adapt, while it is extremely easy to miss the mark, committing digital strategy mistakes that might kill all your efforts. When that happens - no matter what you do to recover - you will likely lose customers.

The first step, then, is to take the necessary precautions. It is evident that traditional patterns are not able to ensure that your campaigns are executed effectively. In this ever-changing scenario, old strategies cannot help you in the search for tips and good advice, even if they were winning only a few years ago.

Why that? What happened that made the old certainties crumble?

  • The analog and digital worlds collided.
  • Disruptive devices connected into a network.
  • Life got fragmented into micro moments.
  • Young digital customers took center stage.
  • The new customer journey exploded into multiple touch points.

New horizons mean new patterns. Mobile technology means huge opportunities, if you only know how to catch them all. So, it is about time to get right to the point, the 10 digital strategy tips to inspire your business revolution.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

Before even thinking and planning your digital strategy, it is critical that you know who you are talking to and what are the needs and desires that move them. How do you get that knowledge? First step: build your buyer personas, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. Second step: map the customer journey across all touch points (digital and physical).

SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS

Of course, every single marketer wants to get the best results in the shortest time possibile. When wise men say “always aim for the moon” they forget to add that - at least in marketing - you can only reach the moon if you set achievable mid-term goals. You will then land among the stars step by step, knowing what is good and improving what is wrong.

STAY DIGITAL FRIENDLY

Do we need to talk about the Mobilegeddon? The most recent changes in Google’s search engine algorithm have brought the attention to the importance of a digital-savvy strategy. If you do not have a digital-friendly presence, with a special consideration for the mobile experience, then you are not talking the same language your customer talk.

FIND YOUR OWN VOICE

Let’s be honest here: you will never be able to connect with customers, create amazing content marketing and engage with meaningful experiences if you don't know who you are in the first place. As perfectly shown by the Lego success story, your company is defined not only by what you produce and sell but also by what you are and narrate.Your archetypes and storytelling.

DESIGN YOUR OWN ENGAGEMENT

Engagement, the pain point that any single organization is trying to solve in these days. It is the absolute need to create a relationship with customers and pave the way to loyalty (the new currency of digital times). If you want to stay top of mind, do not forget to create unique contents and memorable experiences. And use gamification to enhance your strategy: if you can't win them, play with them.

PERSONALIZE CONTENTS

Personalization is the keyword to understand why customers today are so difficult to put into standard categories. Digital customers - and millennials above all - refuse to be treated as one broad mass with undefined behaviors. They demand tailored content, served at the right time on the right device. Talk to everyone and you will end up talking to no one at all.

THINK AND ACT MOBILE

Right-time personalization could hardly exist before the mobile era. The brand could not locate the customer nor identify peculiar behaviors or patterns. Then the smartphone came in, with its constant connectivity, and everything changed: our daily life was splitted into micro moments, hanging in the balance between digital and physical worlds. Mobile is not just a plus, it is a categorical imperative if you want to survive in today’s markets.

UPDATE AND STAY CURRENT

Do you still rely on that strategy that was so good just five years ago? Do you think that you don’t really need to include the Apple Watch, the iBeacon or wearable technology in your customer journey mapping? Think again. Don’t forget that the digital transformation in an ever flowing river. Stay current, ready and willing to embrace every single innovation that could change your customer experience.

PLAY ON DATA

Every science is rooted on data. Marketing and digital strategy make no difference. The technologies that surround us produce a humongous quantity of information. Some are useful some are just ground noise; it is up to you to tell good from bad, using data to understand your customers and learn how to engage them effectively. Big Data is not just a name for speculative analysis. It is a science in itself.

NEVER STOP TESTING

Testing and learning, the last step of your actual strategy and the first one of your next strategy. Analysis should be inherent in everything you do with your strategy, and it is only by testing what you are doing that you will be able to refocus budget, goals and technological support. Ultimately learning from your mistakes in a looping cycle. Forever only lasts until tomorrow.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Ways You Can Use Mobile To Improve Customer Experience

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile

Born To Build: 5 Timeless Customer Experience Lessons From LEGO

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What can customer experience leaders learn from the remarkable success of The LEGO Group? What is the connection between LEGO plastic bricks and digital marketing? None, at first glance. If you look deeply, though, you will see that the maker of children's toys that has a lot to teach.

There is a reason if the company has quadrupled its sales in the decade when virtual entertainment has replaced physical. That reason is the ability to build a unique brand, both anchored to tradition and open to innovation. The essence of digital transformation.

Our children do not play like we used to. They do not like what we like, yet there are LEGO sets in almost every house. And the LEGO playing experience has not changed at all over the years. From wooden playthings to plastic bricks, from video games to movies, the little toys are everywhere.   

Founded in Denmark in 1932, The LEGO Group history spans nearly one hundred years of building creativity. While other classic brands have struggled - and still struggle - to survive the avalanche of digital screen and video games, LEGO has managed to overcome the challenge. Ultimately becoming one the world's great brands, the most valuable toy company (ahead of the giant Mattel), and one of the most loved icons of all times.

What is the secret of this enduring success? We can sum it up by quoting two catchphrases from past LEGO advertising campaigns:

I Can Build What I Want” - Using LEGOs you can build whatever your creativity brings out. Lego marketers have built the brand the same way, decade after decade. Despite its century-long tradition, LEGO is all but a traditional company. Ready to innovate with eyes wide open, the company is devoted to creativity, without walls and prejudices.  

Everything is Awesome” - LEGO marketers are great builders of content, none can deny this fact. No matter what tools they are using to engage customers, what is really important is the quality of the output. LEGO video games constantly amaze users and critics, and the same happens with the movies. Everything is awesome when we are living our dreams.

The toy industry is well known to be the battlefield of a fierce competition. Marketing strategies need to accomplish two different goals: on the one hand they must attract, engage and delight children; on the other hand they must persuade parents. Given these premises, great content marketing is the only way to build a strong brand.

Easier said than done. Since the expiration of the last standing LEGO patent in 1989, we have witnessed the flowering of the blocks market. A growing number of companies has entered the competition, producing plastic bricks that are very similar to LEGOs.

Just take a look at the shelves in toy stores, and you will see dozens of alternatives. Through the years some have failed, some have reached a temporary success, very few have built a distinctive identity. None has really threatened the LEGO supremacy.

First come, first win? Of course, the fact that they have been the first to produce building blocks has given an aura of familiarity to the company. But this is not enough to explain the long-lasting (and ever growing) success of the Legos.

lego_marketing_lessons

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, highlighting the five timeless customer experience lessons we can learn from the tiny LEGO blocks.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

For some industries, the buyer persona includes both the customer and the user. This logic does not apply to the toy industry, where the users are hardly ever the ones who make the purchase. When you build your strategy, it is easy to lose sight and underestimate the customer, focusing on the user (or vice versa). LEGO knows the difference between the two entities and constantly works to appeal both with tailor-cut content activities.

NEVER STOP BUILDING

Never stop building is yet another great motto taken from the company’s history. In a sense, it enshrines the entire LEGO philosophy: creativity is not a bird box. Creativity is a never-ending process that puts together what we are (as a brand) and what the world around us has become (mostly due to technology). Success, in these terms, is about finding new ways to improve and adapt to customers.

BORN TO BUILD CONTENT

A memorable customer experience always lies on great content, even more so after the digital disruption. LEGO is probably one of the best companies in the world at engaging and retaining customers through the use of valuable content. They do not just sell; they tell stories. LEGO’s storytelling is not about the product, it is about the customer: a story you can relate to is the foundations of great content marketing.

EMBRACE THE EVOLUTION

What if LEGO continued to produce only the original sets? One critical quality of the company is the ability to embrace the evolution of technology and tastes. LEGO methodology is set on constant change, showing that - in the digital era - you cannot live in just one channel alone. New sets (i.e. DC Comics, Simpsons, Dr. Who), magazines & comic books, movies, installation art, video games: they do whatever it takes to engage customers and oversee every channel.

CREATE BRAND BELONGING

Customers, they do not simply buy a product. They buy that specific product because they want to be part of a story. Identity and content create a sense of belonging, deployed across all channels and tools: community, social media, mobile apps, events dedicated to ‘builders’ of all ages. Have you ever given a child a product similar to LEGO but from a different brand? Then, you know what we are talking about.

Here is a huge lesson all digital entrepreneurs should learn from The LEGO Company: even when you have the best product on the market, the key to success is to create an amazing customer experience. The experience is the main brand differentiator in markets where clients can choose from hundreds of similar products.

Even when your brand is universally acclaimed, you can lose all your customers in the blink of an eye if you cannot evolve with customers. Loyalty is never carved in stone, and The LEGO Company knows it well. Evolution is in the brand’s DNA, and marketers are devoted to innovation in every single aspect of their job.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Digital Marketing Lessons From Game Of Thrones

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

 

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile

20 Marketing Blogs That Will Help You Improve Customer Experience


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Success is 1% inspiration, 98% perspiration, and 2% attention to detail” (Phil Dunphy)

No field in business needs so much inspiration like marketing. In the age of digital and mobile technology, customer’s attention is the most precious coin on market. And you never sell just products or services, you sell experiences.

Thus, you need innovative ways to create memorable experiences. Where could you find your daily dose of good insights and inspirational reads? Citing the Beatles, all you need is blog. More than one blog, actually.  

Today’s post is, in fact, dedicated to our recommended 20 marketing blogs that will offer you quality content to help you improve customer experience. Some are well known (how could you not know Seth Godin?), some might represent a nice surprise for you.

Given that the experience is more than a product, there is nothing like fresh read or a side angle view to learn new approaches and remove dust from your digital strategy.

Content marketing, social media, retail customer experience, business vision, mobile app marketing, search engine optimization: these (and many more) are all parts of the brand-new customer journey.

As a brand and entrepreneur, you need to learn how to perfect the connection with your customers - and employees - across the physical and digital touchpoints. The ability to manage relationships: here lies the essence of the inbound marketing methodology, the one that replaces interruption with communication.

You know nothing, Jon Snow”: this quote from Game of Thrones is perfect to explain why you can evolve, and get better at involving your customers in a story, only if you assume that you don’t know everything.

Digital strategy is a continuous ‘learning & testing process’, and inspiration is all around us. You just need to know where to look. In these 20 marketing blogs, for instance.

MOZ

Rand Fishkin is one the most renowned marketing experts out there, the creator of Moz and one of the wizards that offer their tips, tricks and advice on this SEO-focused blog.

SETH'S BLOG

The best selling author and business guru Seth Godin shares his wisdom in this blog about "marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread".

HUBSPOT BLOG

You say inbound marketing and you think about Hubspot. The company also has an official blog, where tons of tremendous contents (articles, guides, ebooks) get shared every single day.

SEARCH ENGINE LAND

Want to know how to survive Google's algorithm updates? Want to understand how search engines work and how to perfect your SEO strategy? Search Engine Land is the place you want to go.

BEN SETTLE

Email marketing is often underrated, yet it is a critical element of the inbound marketing strategy. With his provocative posts, Ben Settle will help you finally link email and sales.

JEFF BULLAS

If you want to become a better blogger, you definitely need to read Jeff Bullas' blog about ... blogging. The famous speaker and author is a great source of tips and ideas.

QUICK SPROUT

If marketing is your daily bread, you surely know Neil Patel. In Quick Sprout you can find guides and ‘how-to’ articles about content marketing, social media and web optimization.

BRIAN SOLIS

The voice of digital transformation, Brian Solis, owns one of the most read blogs in the business world. The future of customer experience is the rule here.

KISSMETRICS BLOG

There is no marketing without measurement, there is no digital marketing without analytics. Kissmetrics Blog offers everything you need to know about marketing and metrics.

WORDSTREAM

Search engine marketing, PPC, AdWords campaign, retargeting: if you want to know more about these topics, Wordstream is the blog you are looking for.

COPYBLOGGER

In the inbound approach, content marketing is the key to attract qualified leads and convert them into customers. CopyBlogger shares great tips and content development ideas.

SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMINER

Would you build a marketing strategy without social media? Of course not. Social Media Examiner collects news and actionable tips on how to build a successful social brand.

UNBOUNCE BLOG

Success in the Internet era is all about conversions. If you want to learn how to improve your conversion rate and build great landing pages and CTAs, take a look at Unbounce Blog.

STORYNEEDLE

Michael Andrews, an independent content strategist, with StoryNeedle has created an inspiring source of knowledge on how to build an outstanding content strategy and storytelling.

MARKETING LAND

More a web magazine than a blog, Marketing Land gathers the most important news about all things marketing: search, email, social media, analytics, advertising and technology.

FORRESTER BLOG

Forrester is an important consulting firm, but also a source of knowledge. Of all its blogs, we recommend the Customer Experience Blog, focused on the evolution of digital business.

BACKLINKO

If actionable guides and case studies is what you are looking for, Brian Dean and his Backlinko blog is the answer: SEO, copywriting, content, you name it.

THINK WITH GOOGLE

Would you miss the official blog from the number one player in the mobile and digital world? Think With Google is a great source of ideas and insights, and you might even foresee the world of tomorrow.

SHOPIFY

Shopify is an innovative e-commerce company, and they have a blog. Where else could you gain insights into the evolution of online and retail customer experience?

THE SALES LION

Despite the name, The Sales Lion is not a blog on how to push-sell in the old way. On the contrary, it is a collection of thoughts on communicating and connecting with clients in the digital world. 

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list nor it claims to include the best blogs ever created. These are just the ones we appreciate and constantly read. There may be hidden gems we still don’t know; please, let us know using the comments.

 

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To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

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Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Analytics Branding Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile