CX + Marketing

Understanding the connection between CX and marketing.

Let’s begin with first principles. What is “customer experience?” As defined by the Harvard Business Review customer experience is the “sum-totality of how your customers engage with your company and brand.”

When it comes to “CX” for marketing, we refer to the impact of branded efforts on creating awareness, driving consideration and conversions, and keeping existing customers happy.

As Mark DiCristina at MailChimp points out, “‘Everything is marketing’ and the same is true of the customer experience. Every interaction a customer has with a company—through its products, advertising, customer support—changes their impression of the brand.” For this reason, Mark notes the importance of mirroring marketing with the actual perceptions of customers. The better marketing reflects experience, the “better off the company will be.”

Andrew Capland at Wistia thinks about the connection between CX and marketing as starting with empathy for the customer. Andrew points out that marketing that fails to account for the user’s mindset runs the risk of being disruptive and unhelpful, citing the importance of accounting for timing, context, the user’s goals in the moment of need, and the feelings of the subject to which the marketing is targeted.

Putting the “customer” first in CX.

When we talk “CX,” it’s easy to forget that the “C” stands for customer. If we remember to put the customer first when we talk about customer experience, we will frame the discussion through the lens of the customer’s needs.

The customer experience marketing we do is grounded in empathy. Danny Greer, InVision

The importance of empathy is a consistent theme across our marketing guides.

Danny Greer at InVision sees marketing and CX as being “grounded in empathy.” To that end, at InVision they approach customer experience for marketing by asking, “How can we be empathetic and helpful, whether it's education or inspiration? How can we be useful to people and not so product focused?”

That customer-first, empathetic mindset can be activated through asking pointed questions that help visualize the perspective and perceptions of the marketing audience. Danny shares that at InVision they always ask “Does this project solve a problem for customers? Whether that's a blog post that we want to write or a tutorial that we create, is there a real problem that exists behind it?”

Joe Stych, product marketer at Zapier, suggests they take a similar approach at Zapier, “We make an effort to put ourselves in the user's shoes. If I were a new Zapier user, would I find this helpful or annoying? Are we acting in the best interest of our customer and helping them achieve what they came to Zapier for in the first place?”

While it’s not always easy to see through the eyes of customers, merely asking these questions can spark empathy—that necessary ingredient to take us out of our product-driving objectives and into our customer’s needs and desires and perceptions.

Amy Ellis, Marketing and Partnerships Lead at FullStory, shares that, “We see session replay as a ‘show, don’t tell’ way to trigger empathy. Seeing through the eyes of users through watching session replay—those interactions with your product that go right or wrong, it’s almost impossible not to shift into that customer mentality.”

Danny points out that starting with empathy “builds a lot of trust with folks, because they start thinking of you as a creative partner and not necessarily a product.” Putting the customer first through empathy “is a formula that we try to use when we assess any content opportunity.”

Using a customer-first, empathetic approach to drive content marketing for CX is a thread that Ty Magnin at Appcues picks up by paying attention to signals from customer-facing teams and seeing the customer need that’s not being met. Ty notes:

However you get there, marketing for customer experience only works if the needs and expectations of the customer are placed ahead of the immediate objectives of the marketing team. It’s not that the marketing objectives don’t matter—it’s that the downstream effect of customer-first marketing will lead to long-term success.

We try to put our customers needs in front of our own. If we can help them be successful, we believe our success will follow.Andrew Capland, Wistia

Joe notes that their marketing team prioritizes long-term over short-term—“that’s one of our team values.” A long-term strategy for marketing is an implicit realization of the connection between customer-first marketing behaviors and downstream success.