More Clarity Needed

I build software for brands to measure, analyze, design and improve how a customer experiences the brand’s products and services. I do this to change how brands and their customers engage with each other for the simple reason that I think the relationship is broken.

The relationship has been broken by greed and unmet expectations. We know this because customers are generally suspicious or cynical of brands. Like awkward teenagers, brands want to be best friends and tag along, everywhere. For the most part, customers want to leave by the nearest exit. This is not a relationship in balance.

I believe a mix of technology, common sense, hard work and the genuine desire to improve can fix this balance. But — for me — the central question remains unanswered.

What are we working on today that is really changing how brands and customers engage?

When we look back in 5 years time as an industry, what will we congratulate ourselves for having started? What was the innovation that brought the brand-customer relationship back in balance?

From a technology perspective, I see brands chasing more channels and more data. Collecting more data is not an innovation. As an industry, we will not fix this with a ‘channel’ mindset. We will not fix this by getting the customer to work harder. We will not fix this by expecting our technology platforms to be and do everything.

The relationship between brand and customer has to change at a fundamental level. And the brands that understand this believe:

  1. Customers are always mobile (if not 100% today, then certainly tomorrow);
  2. Customers are in control and like choices, but hate complexity;
  3. Customers shouldn’t need to work hard for what they want;
  4. Customers, in general, would rather not engage with anyone in person, but when they do, they want to engage with an empowered, knowledgeable representative of the brand that can help them quickly.

When you believe this, there is a logical next step that has to be taken: divert your marketing budget (the ad spend bit) into making your customer experience great.

Your ad spend is wasted anyway.

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