Marketers should be ‘customer experience designers’

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The role of a marketer should be redubbed a “customer experience designer”, according to Merlin Entertainment’s group marketing director, Emma Woods, who said the ability to deliver good consumer experiences is even harder in a tech-driven world where things can easily go wrong.

Woods, speaking at Experian’s client summit in London today (30th September), said that the window for delivering customer experiences is narrowing and the correct use of data is ever more important.

“The world of marketing is changing and we have to think about ourselves as customer experience designers,” she said. “Part of that design responsibility is also being guardians for when things go wrong. The second thing is that… in the future your customer data will inform that customer experience and my challenge to marketers is that you have a responsibility to collect it, use it and nurture it.”

A recent step to improve the various customer touch points at Merlin Entertainment – owner of Legoland, Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds – is the release of a new Legoland app which directs visitors to attractions with fewer queues, the nearest restaurant and delivers real-time information about queuing time.

Since its roll out in July Woods, who was brought on board in 2013 to broaden the digital journey of the company’s 55 million guests, said that 15 per cent of visitors have downloaded the app and reported a less stressful experience, particularly on extremely busy days.

“We need to be meticulous about understanding all the customer touch points and thinking about what is the experience that the customer wants and how can we facilitate that through great service or technology?” She added.

Also speaking was Jon Wilkins, executive chairman at Karmarama, who lamented the advent of data companies which he said have caused a “problematic” relationship with creativity, which he likened to a “straight jacket”. He used the example of Netflix-created House of Cards where at a data conference the streaming site’s chief executive Reed Hastings told producer David Fincher that he should consider a data insight for future shows that showed a certain point where viewers switched off.

“His response was ‘never tell me that again’ and that’s a standard discussion between data and creativity,” said Wilkins.

To ease the friction creativity should be “tech driven rather than tech led”, an idea that connects with the role of data and how it can inspire creativity.

EXPERIENCE: THE NEW CURRENCY OF THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
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