The Building Blocks of Customer Experience


Many people will be familiar with the traditional 'Marketing Mix' and it's four fundamental parts: Price, Promotion, Product and Place. This mix certainly served it's purpose and led to the traditional forms of marketing that we are all so familiar with. In the past, it was much easier to promote your product through advertising, promotions and awareness, consumers snapped up goods and commodities.

Consumers no longer simply want to buy products, they are more savvy regarding the way the products are bought and the feeling (or experience) that purchasing and consuming the product provides them with.

With the evolution of the service economy and seemingly every business focussing on their service experience, the Marketing Mix has evolved, even described as a 'paradigm shift' in the marketing mix. Many studies then started to point towards Relationship Marketing, Service-Dominant Logic and the Resource-Based View of the firm. Ultimately however, war they all describe is the service experience and its imperative nature for the modern business.

The original 4P's of the Marketing Mix then evolved to incorporate the 7P's of Marketing. The new aspects which encapsulate the service experience were:People, Process and Physical Evidence. For any of us that have worked in a service industry we will understand these elements and their importance. When we look at the overall picture of the 7P's you can see how they all work together to generate the overall sense of value and experience.

Marketing, therefore should no longer be seen as a seperate element or department for any firm. Rather, marketing in the modern day is a function of the overall service experience. Every product, outlet, person, interaction or communication makes up the overall experience. Customer experience then is the number one factor in your firms marketing, reputation and ultimately success. Understanding the key elements of People, Process and Physical evidence will really bring the experience to life. The original Marketing Mix or 4P's are still imperative of course, but in the absence of the final three, the service experience and overall company success will ultimately be unsuccessful.

The 7P's can no doubt be utilised in the design and creation of overall service experience. Along with up to date innovation, firms can ensure all elements are well positioned and ultimately create competitive advantage in any industry, through the right marketing mix. Consumers ultimately determine value, but this value is made up in the mind of the consumer, often in both tangible and intangible ways. The overall experience can therefore be incredibly difficult to quantify and design. How can we determine the exact experience that consumers demand?

Understanding each of the building blocks, how they are designed and how they should be implemented is a good starting point.

In my recent paper, I make detailed recommendations for all seven areas, for both the central teams, or design function and for local teams, or implementors.

That is, for every facet of service or experience, there are responsibilities for not only senior board members, but for the local team members and managers. The design element ensures that the organisation is set up to deliver an exceptional service experience and the team members and managers are responsible for bringing it all to life.

If you would like to understand my recommendations further, don't hesitate to ask!

Kris :-)

Kristopher Ball, MBA