Bath Spa student blog

We’re thrilled to share a blog by Louise Davies-Boulton about her final year dissertation for her BA in Business and Management (set by Bray Leino CX). Louise took a deep-dive into a subject very close to our hearts: Customer Experience. It’s a fantastic piece of work and, we’re proud to say, helped Louise to gain a First. Massive congratulations, Louise

How to successfully implement experience-based marketing

Many businesses emphasise the importance of implementing experiences yet are apprehensive on how to do so successfully. To provide a deeper understanding of the components required 35-45-minute interviews were conducted with five finalists from the Customer Experience Awards (CXA). The interviews were transcribed, coded and thematically analysed resulting in three themes with corresponding subthemes:  

1.0. Customer Journey 

1.1. Pre, During and Post-purchase Stages

Use a myriad of touchpoints to maintain contact with the customer from pre-purchase to post-purchase stages. Social media is useful for expanding reach, driving momentum and sharing experiences, but do not undermine relational aspects of experiences, for example, politeness, kindness and smiling.

During the purchase or event: make it memorable!

Do not end contact with the customer once the sale is complete. Tips on how to use the product or a mailing list, link to customer satisfaction and reinforce the relationship between the business and the customer. 

Transitioning through these stages should be seamless. By tracking the customer’s experience at multiple touchpoints, you will gain an understanding of how experiences may be enriched. 

1.2. Knowing the Customer 

Know the customer, but, know your demographics. How is your business currently characterising and grouping customers? Does this need to be revised? This research demonstrated that there are distinct generational differences in experiential expectations. 

1.3. Making it Memorable 

Memorabilia generates unforeseen value. When customers use branded memorabilia, they become advocates. Similarly, value is added for the customer by receiving tangible evidence of their experience. 

In an era of technology do not undervalue the social, emotional and human drivers of experiences. A phrase used by one participant was TNT (tiny, noticeable things), small gestures can explode into lasting memories and impressions.  

By stimulating the senses of individuals, you are able to influence their perceptions and consequently their preferences, behaviour and memories. Senses can be added to virtually any offering.  

2.0. Organisational Structure 

2.1. Collaboration 

A flat organisational structure aids inter-departmental collaboration and knowledge-sharing, resulting in a business-wide acquaintance of customers. This assists the utilisation of feedback to co-construct experiences, not only departmentally (ensuring the alignment of department values and ideas) but alongside customers to enrich experiences.

2.2. Women in Management 

From the interviews, 4/5 of the marketing directors were women. Despite the fifth participant being male, he attributed the successful implementation of experience-based marketing to the female CEO and female Customer Experience Director. Having women in directorial positions helps change the culture of the business by extending the voice of the customer; introducing voice branding and responding to customers’ needs. 

What does the successful implementation of experience-based marketing deliver for businesses? 

3.0. Customer Retention 

3.1. Customer Loyalty 

This research provided little evidence that experience-based marketing promotes loyalty. Customers are no longer static in time and space relative to the business and can quickly make comparative price checks online, find competitors, and read reviews. Therefore, loyalty as an entity is increasingly harder to achieve.

3.2. Value 

Simply, experiences add value that customers are willing to pay for. This research notes that regardless of losing a substantial potential market share, experience-based marketing facilitated growth by adding value and explicitly charging for experiences. This was stated by participants as helping them to weather periods of economic turmoil when many competitors entered liquidation.  

The participants in this sample represent a small proportion of CXA finalists and a smaller proportion of the wider marketing industry, as such, this research does not aim to make generalisations only provide a deeper insight into an area of growing interest. 

If you would like further information on this research, feel free to contact me at louise.davies-boulton16@bathspa.ac.uk

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Louise Davies-Boulton