This is an idea that kept me awake last night. I’ve been struggling for a while to try and bring together a couple of seemingly disparate concepts. Namely search engine marketing, micromarketing, and customer experience. Why would I try and do such a thing? (that’s what my dad asked as well). Well I write about customer experience at experiencecurve, and micromarketing here, and my business is currently positioned around search engine marketing, so needless to say i feel somewhat torn when writing about topics, and feel like I should be offering my clients a wider set of my skills and experience.
Anyway, my starting point for this unified theory is “Attract & Motivate”. Companies have been trying to attract customers for years, and micromarketing is another way of building that attraction over time, by leveraging conversational marketing, customer made aspects of the marketing and business, citizen media. In many ways, many people “get” the attraction side of the equation, the part that’s glossed over is the “motivation”, ie. motivating customers to interact with your company in deeper more meaningful ways by participating in the conversation, by creating citizen media, by helping make things.
I built a framework that tried to connect customer experience and motivation a few years ago, that proposes that customers have certain needs that have to be addressed before they can become a valuable participant/co-creator, and the one thing that companies need to watch out for is avoiding “demotivators” even before they think about motivation. The “demotivators” I’ve identified are “trust” and “usability”, in other words, these are not so much motivators, but enablers, lubricants of cooperation if you like. “Motivators” are actually more enablers, ie. autonomy is just about putting frameworks in place that enable customers to be creative.
I know a lot of my focus is online and blogs etc. so I’ll give you a real world example. Take IKEA, which has gained tremendous value from its customers by giving them more autonomy. When customers enter an IKEA store, they are given catalogues, tape measures, pencils, and paper, and then they are given the freedom to make their own deliveries and put their own furniture together, changing the cost structure of the value chain. It is in this way that customers become creators of value; and autonomy is the foundation of motivation.
Update: here’s a link to the PDF of the Customer Expereince Hierarchy
and if you’re really interested a PDF of the original article that was published in the Design Management Journal “Customer Loyalty and Experience Design”