How mapping customer experiences empowers market disruption
This article discusses how customer experience mapping plays a vital role in being able to match your market proposition to your customer needs, thus increasing your chances of a successful launch to market. In order for a product or service to be successful, it must either solve a problem or enhance the current experience. If it does neither of these two things, the product or service will struggle to gain traction, even more so if it’s not supported by a known brand.
Identifying the challenges and potential opportunities within a market
Relying on traditional quantitative research and public domain knowledge is unlikely to produce insights to form the basis of a market-disrupting experience. By talking to customers and business stakeholders, the challenges and opportunities of each stage of the customer journey and service design can be visualised and therefore easily communicated. This allows for a market proposition to be formed based on user feedback, and communicated company-wide to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Optimising the research process
Whether you have just two days, or five months, it’s generally best to start by collating research that already exists. Companies often have an abundance of information and research siloed within departments and lost in archives. By speaking to customer-facing staff members, and analysing social media feedback and web analytics, you'll find yourself with a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. This can provide the foundation you need to base your future research upon, and will likely highlight gaps within your customer experience. However, not every company has access to relevant data. You may be a start-up company with minimal market experience, or looking to target a foreign market for the first time. If you don’t have access to data you will need to research your target market to establish clear reasons as to why customers should buy from you instead of other vendors. Competing on price alone isn’t a strong enough proposition. A good way of researching, identifying and recording insights is through experience or journey mapping. This can be a flexible task adjusted to fit the objective and costs of the project. For example, Salmon created an agile and cost effective, high-level customer journey map, representing customer perceptions for an international vitamin and mineral manufacturer in just three days. And, on the other end of the spectrum, we've also produced four detailed customer journey maps, representing online, in-store and product life cycle across four countries for an international mattress company, which took five months to complete. Both of these approaches allow you to understand your insights so you can begin to define your market proposition.
Differentiating yourself through experience
It doesn’t matter if you're an established brand or the next big disruptor, the only way to succeed is to have a successful market proposition. To achieve this, you need clear insights into your customers’ perspective, in order to truly see things from their point of view. By creating experience-led designs you not only differentiate yourself from your competition, but customers are more likely to be emotionally motivated. It’s hard to argue with this approach when other companies are seeing up to 350% increased growth and 20% increased customer advocacy after making efforts to become more experience-led. And if that’s not enough to convince you, consider the recent Snapchat redesign that was met with 83% bad reviews , closely followed by drop of $1.3bn in revenue within 4 hours of Kylie Jenner Tweeting in response to the poor user experience. Thread is an example of a middleman company that has differentiated itself by concentrating on the user experience, offering AI-driven personalised shopping. Even though customers have to compromise on speed of delivery, compared to buying the product direct from the brand, the website manages to support around 650,000 customers.
Creating a successful market proposition
To summarise, in order to create a successful market proposition, it’s vital to:
- Research who your customers are through the above methods
- Understand their challenges, across and between all touchpoints
- Understand the potential opportunities to improve their experience
- Create a proposition that caters to both the customer and the business needs
Once you've nailed the above points, by following the process of mapping the customer experience, you can effectively communicate your findings using the resulting map(s). This will help to ensure your business strives towards a common goal and delivers experiences that appeal to real customer wants and needs.