CX Expansion: Ad Agencies on Deck?

CX Expansion!

The further expansion of Customer Experience, isn’t just in further dissolution of internal silos, continued creation of Voice of the Customer/Voice of the Employee programs, or having Google Map accuracy of the Customer Journey.  It is going to be realized by embedding the idea of the experience for the customer in all of the other aspects of the business such as indirect customer engagement.  The big one that I have been focused on lately is in relation to advertising.

Some of the most viral adverts in the last year or two can be given descriptions such as thought provoking, emotional, provocative, hype, and sometimes even just plain fun.  But regardless of how viral these adverts are, the big question that needs to be answered is “What is the goal of this ad?”  Is it just about churn?  Analytically, you may know you can sell 1,000 pairs of shoes for every 1M views on YouTube.  Maybe you can use sales data to justify the ROI on the creation and distribution of the ad.

But in today’s day and age the more poignant questions to ask should be:

  • What has this advert and the resulting interactions told you about your customer?
  • What part of the advertising brought you closer to earning the right to their journey?
  • Why should they not only buy on an impulse, but then entrust in you a continued and mutually beneficial relationship that is long lasting?
  • How in a 30, 60, or 90 second spot did you convince a cross section of the viewers to become not just a customer, but a fan?

Now a lot of these type of questions are difficult to answer even if you know what you are doing, and have the technology to capture this data.  But many companies are still having a hard time fully embracing and wrapping their minds around customer experience.

Ad Agencies on Deck

This is where the advertising/marketing agency should and I believe can come into play.  Customers at all levels want consistent, but paired with easy and convenient.  The agency is responsible for creating buzz, getting a brand noticed, getting a new product sold, and they now also need to realize what some of us already know; that Customer Experience is the now the No. 1 competitive differentiator.  So the competitive differentiator for ad agency’s is going to be able to not just create a compelling message for their client.  But do so while also creating customer-centric channel specific engagement.  The agency’s that understand and execute with this in mind, at the speed of NOW, are going to be the ones that take a further leap forward above and beyond their own competition.

Understanding the fundamental and vital relationship that companies are able to form with their customers is vital, and should not be a revelation to agencies.  They understand the way an ad (for good or ill) regardless of how flawless it was executed can have on the impact of the relationship.  For the negative – you don’t have to go any further than the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi Commercial.  For the emotional tugging type, look no further than Guinness, such as THIS, or for the good feeling/nostalgia ad one of my favorites in recent memory is the Budweiser “Last Call/Harry Caray” Ad that was done by VaynerMedia.  All of these examples elicit a response from the viewer and have an impact on their experience with a brand.

Being customer-centric, creating ads that promote channel engagement and focusing on positive customer experience is not a quick fix initiative or necessarily easy to implement. It involves a commitment to a specific way of doing things as a company (think corporate culture) that takes time to create strategy, execute, and in most cases even more time to implement. But this is where Agencies are so perfectly situated to provide value-add services focusing around CX because they are used to the long haul.

The Time is Now…

I’ve heard that with the explosion of social media and the influencers that come with it like Casey Neistat or Gary Vaynerchuk that advertising (like traditional retail) is on its way out.  But I disagree, I think it is simply evolving and that without a doubt, there is still a need and role for great advertising. But it must be just that… great. With everything else that competes for our attention, average advertising matters even less than it used to. We live in a world where every interaction, creates an experience, good or bad.  Every “touch” to the customer has the potential to have a butterfly effect out into the universe through social media. It’s the reality in which we find ourselves, and it’s not one that’s easily managed through spots or classic banner ads.

Customer experience engagements might require a new way of looking at how we all get paid for the value we create. And for many, especially in industries with long established norms, that’s a challenge not easily overcome.  Just know that if you can’t see the change that’s coming, and begin to figure out how to make it work, your time is limited.

There is a legitimate need for someone to bridge the gap between fancy flash advertising, and the type that promotes true engagement across one or many customer-centric channels.  And although there may be agencies already out there doing it, there isn’t enough, and the opportunity is ripe for the picking.

The Challenge

So I challenge the Ad Agency executives out there, especially the ones that are practically doing everything they need to already (i.e. VaynerMedia).  Will you be one of the trailblazers that brings your industry into customer experience?

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