Friday, July 29, 2011

Developing Consumer Experiences Through Media

So lately I have been using the term "consumer experience" alot in what I do day to day.   In fact it is something that I have not baked into the company I am currently employed at.    So I wanted to take sometime to talk about what a consumer experience could and should be within media and how that is intended to service a brand.   

So lets start with taking the Wikipedia definition of consumer experience (customer experience):

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.

This is often something that the silicon valley advertising/media technology companies systemically forget.   This is something I pride myself on constantly remembering.   So how do I go about making sure that this is something I consistently consider when making media/advertising decisions?   I do so by applying the following filter:

The role of advertising and media is to excite the consumer based on the core value proposition of the brand while being cognizant of what mindset they were in or function they were performing while consuming the individual media channel that the advert ran on. 

So then the goal of a media company is to build rich experiences through media that serve as a functional and/or emotional mechanism to excite the consumer within the constraints of the channel and what they were doing with the channel.   

So the role of the savvy media professional is to understand based on the channel and the intended mindset of the consumer that caused them to consume the individual media channel and align that to the brand based on the goal or objective of the brand...

Fundamentally this is what marketers call "strategy" which the below image depicts well less the fact that they do not call out media research separately from market research.   

So what does all this mean?    Well let's start to think about good and bad consumer experiences by giving some basic examples...


Behavioral targeting is one of those technologies that delivers truly BAD consumer experiences.  Allow me to explain.

A consumer visits a few car blogs and forums.    The consumer has a cookie dropped on them and suddenly they start seeing ads wherever they go on the web through retargeting.   Despite the fact that they have mentally moved on to other things like entertainment, consumption of news and away from the process of researching automotive options.


This is the trap that most silicon valley data/technology companies get themselves into.  A consumer could be reading an article on a massive 10 car pile up but since they read some automotive sites they are receiving buy a new car message while consuming media on death through automotive.   How on earth does this serve the brand?  From upper funnel to lower funnel this is a terrible way to message a consumer.   Tsk tsk silicon valley.


Another example of a sub-par consumer experience is when advertisers leverage vertical content networks to drop ads.     For example an advertiser is trying to reach mommies to build advocacy among there new food product that drives value to the consumer through an efficiently priced organic and healthy product.   The advertiser wants to add "Likes" to their facebook brand presence of this product.   So they launch the ad on a vertical mom blogger content network

So why is this not so good....

Well Mommies are not created one the same and more so mommies are arriving on these content locations within the content network for a TON of different reasons.  Reasons ranging from recipe hunting, parenting advice, food advice, deal seeking, etc.. etc.. etc...  Fundamentally they are all in different mindsets.

The questions the advertiser should of asked themselves is what type of mommy are we looking for and what is important to them.   In this example they are value focused and concerned about the ingredients they use to feed their family.   What should of been done is the advertiser looks for places that deliver THAT VALUE to the mommies by finding content areas that are involved in how mommies deliver value for their families through healthy and high quality ingredients.   To create the advocacy the brand was looking for the brand should focus on living in places WHERE THE VALUE ADVOCACY ALREADY EXISTS!

In addition if you want mommies to create advocacy for the brand the brand must advocate the mom's values by distributing MORE INFORMATION on how they can deliver value focused healthy eating options to their family.   Help the consumer based on your value proposition and advocacy nature comes.  Creative execution has a BIG impact.  Mess that up and your media choices are in vain.  

Simple simple simple.


So what is a good consumer experience?     Quite simplistically it embodies the following statement:


In order to do that you need the right placement that aligns to the consumer contextually and represents a mindset that excites the value of the brand/product proposition.    It is a creative execution that helps the consumer in a way that represents value to them based on the mindset they were in. 

This is something that can and is being done at scale in digital technologies when the right technologies are applied to help advertisers understand the content and mindset of the consumer in a way that has scale and is easy to use.   That is what I focus on every day and has become not only a personal mission but now a mission that my company BuzzLogic embodies. 

Develop rich experiences that excite consumers based on what they were trying to do and how that aligns to a brand.   This is my filter and this is my mission.   This is what I will spend my career in media/advertising doing.

Simple, elegant and totally focused on leveraging data and technology to power consumer insights and market research in a way that delivers value to both brand and consumer.

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