Enticing Customer Engagement

Okay, you’ve read, heard and shared enough about the “crisis”, so stop for a moment and switch your mindset. Let’s talk about you, your future customers and your business.

Today is the first day of the rest of your business life to paraphrase. The past is unchangeable and what will be may never be the same as it was. So let’s move forward. Time to elevate your offering and stage enticing customer engagements. Yes, I am talking about staging an experience for your customers to add value to your offering or as one person I know would say, ‘Wrap your offering with an experience.”

Easy enough said, but harder to do, less you understand what is the ‘secret’ sauce of staging the right experience for customers and not just delivering a great customer experience. And yes, there is a huge difference between these two. To begin staging an experience you’ll need to shift your thinking in two key areas; the audience and the offering.

The audience, a.k.a. your future customers, first need to be identified better. You’ll need to think about attracting or enticing your new audience by knowing them better and what would attract them to your offering. In the Experience Economy, this is done by shifting from tracking population numbers and census data to attracting people, real people. (see diagram below)

the progression of economic value diagram with a comparison to the types of customer identification.

As you can see in the diagram above of the Progression of Economic Value by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore, economic models use varying levels of data to identify and locate possible customers. In Commodities, the identification is simple, its a geographic methodology. As the progression continues, the level of detail refines and narrows to better match what it is a given provider offers. This type of identification works fairly well up through Services. Much of what we see in today’s economy.

When you decide to elevate your business to an experience, the rules change. It is no longer about tracking population sets and segmentation of population. No more stereotyping customers into constraint ideas that customers with similar data act and purchase the same. No more playing with acquiring a percentage of a percent of the population. The methodology needs to be flip from data mining to focusing on human behavior patterns.

A methodology that moves from information of population groups to knowledge of people. This methodology of seeing people through the lens of human behavior is called Persona Profiling. A mapping of human behaviors that then can be the framework for designing and staging experiences that are wanted and desired. A method of creating enticing engagements that relate to a type of personality and the desires and needs they have that are similar.

Experiences are personal and happen inside each person not to or for a person. We must understand people more deeply in order to stage unique experiences that add greater value to a business and to the customer. We need to map these behaviors that we want to entice and engage. True persona profiling looks only at the human factors. As I stated before, it is no longer about tracking population numbers and pushing out marketing messages, it is about understanding our customers better and staging something that is engaging and personal by pulling them into an experience that offers greater value and is unique.

No alt text provided for this image

Persona Profiling is about attracting a type of person. By using personae versus informational population data, we can design experiences and product offerings that speak to a particular individual or a mix of individuals. This creates a stronger connection and engagement. The messaging becomes more focused and the language used that is more familiar to a given persona about the experience. In fact, the need for advertising and external messaging decreases. Starbuck’s originally was created the coffee drinker’s experience and used little to no external marketing except word-of-mouth between true coffee drinkers. The environment and the customer coffee creation experience was the marketing. It eventually drew the outliers in and grew. Who knew a $5 dollar cup of coffee would be so appealing?

With the shift to Experiences, a shift must be made across the board of the business. The staff must now have roles to play, understand the language their audience uses and focus on customizing the offering to the individual. The product, whatever that maybe, must be tailored to the persona in such a way to make it memorable for them.

All of this personalization, customization and human behavior focusing is what the experience economy is all about. It’s about knowing the ‘Who’ of your customer base versus the ‘What’. Once we know who we are staging for, then the value increases and the offering shifts slightly with each persona. And for those personae that aren’t being enticed to experience, don’t worry, it’s not for them anyway and they would not see the greater value in your offering, today. Deepen the relationship with a type of person rather than trying to gain the attention of a percentage of a segment.

To learn more about the Experience Economy, check out the latest edition of “The Experience Economy”.

I leave you wit this quote by Earl Wilson, Journalist.

“Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty.”

I hope I have be helpful and at least inspired you enough to want to know more about looking forward and not backwards.

Archetype versus Stereotype

I have always been interested in the progression of things. How they evolve, what conditions influence the progression of change and especially when they get diverted or diffused. Studying the progression of anything can teach you about the environment surrounding each phase of the progression for it is these external influences that guide the change. Understanding these changes is an essential component to predicting other progressions or understanding why they get diverted.

One of the best examples of the progression concept was provided by B. Joseph Pine II & James H. Gilmore’s in their book “The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.” In their classic example of the economy, the progression demonstrates the progression from an era of commodities to that of experiences and the emerging economy of transformation. With each evolution in the economy, the external influences has been ‘Value,’ as perceived by the consumer. The other external influences is also ‘Competitive Advantage’ by the provider.

Take a look at the diagram below to see the phases of “The Progression of Economic Value.”

progression_economic_value

You can learn more about this topic here at their website: StrategicHorizons.com or by reading their second edition of “The Experience Economy.”

This was not my first introduction to the progression concept back in 2005, but it was the first time I began understanding on a deeper level how external influences can have rippling effects as well as how to identify key influencers. I also discovered how quickly others could distort an idea of progression theme either because of the lack of understanding all the elements, marketing need to look like experts with a signature program or simply sourced bad information and propagated unknowingly as fact.

One example I want to show that has become diverted from its progression path because of marketing or other misconception influences is the progression of consumer marketing research. For those who may not be familiar with the topic, it is the type of research companies use to study consumer markets. Most research programs focus on statistical data of the numbers of potential consumers in a given area. Like other progressions where the human factor influences, the progression takes on an interesting dynamic except at the point of divergence to something off track.

PoMR

As the illustration shows, focus around filtration of statistical data has been the influencers of the progression of market research. Research moved from the geographical where the focus was on the overall number of consumers in a given area or region. This was the most basic of data clusters. No particular values or buying tendencies are identified, purely raw numbers of bodies. This is known as population density modeling and only provides the most rudimentary of information.

Then data began using filters to “characterize” population numbers into small cluster groups. These groups could be age, income, gender, etc. or could be a combination of these factors. This method became known as Demographic Research. It offered a better look at compatibility, yet did not guarantee true alignment with the provider/consumer relationship. Demographic data research is still used even today by many businesses and market researchers.

An outside influence to data is the introduction of trends or psychology of “types” of buyers. This progression of research used much of the same data filters as demographic research as well as introduced similarities of buyers financially, culturally and socially. This type of research became known as Psychographic Research. Unlike its predecessors, psychographic profiling added in buyer habits and trends to develop market segments or types of consumers. This method opened a whole new door to approaching a market and how to communicate, not just to the masses, but to refine segments. This method became more customized to a type of consumer and allowed providers a better targeting process. Soon many large providers began utilizing this method to gain market share or competitive advantage over similar providers.

It is about here in the progression, when something changes research. Another, but older influence would dramatically change research. In 1919, a psychologist by the name of Carl Jung would develop a psychological profile method called Jungian archetypes and introduce the term “persona” to the world. This idea of psychological archetypes and personas would not begin to blend into market research until the mid 1990’s by Angus Jenkinson and OgilvyOne Agency.

Archetype and Persona market research shifted the focus from people to the needs of a person. Similar to Pine and Gilmore’s model of the progression of economic value where the driver is the shift from mass markets to markets of one, personas focus on the needs of individual “type” consumers. Behavior and motivation become the criteria for this market research process. In 2006, Pruitt and Adlin issued the benefits of using personas in product development via the publication; ‘The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design.’

The shift from statistical data filters evolves from the external condition to the internal psychological need of consumers. Unfortunately, a divergence happens with this thinking. Personally I feel it may be due to the time and education required to support this type of research that an adaptation of this concept arose creating confusion within the industry and with users.

Simplicity overshadowed the progression. Researchers may have needed to express findings as more statistical data to provide information in a way typical of earlier methods by putting a face to the data or clients did not understand the complete persona process for product development, but an alteration of the process emerged in research and off tracked the meaning of “Persona” research.

The industry took a split in its thinking from the Jungian Persona concept where it was not about a person, rather a behavior and need, rather it became about identify a person as a type of user. The method is diverting from the idea of why a person does something to what a group of people did. As Simon Sinek would communicate, this is a separation between ‘Why’ and ‘What’ of the focus of information.

So to illustrate this a bit better I took the pen to paper and visualized what the progression method of Persona/Archetype research is and what marketing and research firms are driving it to become by commoditizing the data and the process.

image

As you may noticed, the difference is much about the growing development of stereotypes as opposed to archetypes and personas that Carl Jung originally developed and Angus Jenkinson and OgilvyOne Agency refined. The methods, though share some similar terminology and history, are definitely focusing on two very different sources of information. This create confusion for myself as well as many others seeking to know more about this new progression of research.

So did I write this? The purpose was that this began as a personal research that became a journey of clarity. If you are looking to better understand your consumers and wish to create better design in your offerings, then take care to understand what you are looking for and how it is being processed. The progression of market research shifts from the collective people to that of the individual need. Anything less, in my opinion, is simple a dumbing down of the potential of a process to rationalize or commoditized its offering to become a market research of stereotypes and not archetypes.

Be in the ‘Know’ of what you are engaging in and how it creates opportunities or hurdles in your progression of value to your consumer. The best gold miners rarely minded where others stood.

Good luck and thank you for taking the time to read the ramblings of an IdeaFreak. May your tomorrows be successful and filled with wonderful opportunities!