The Soda Academy
"Powerful internal groups on the client side – modeled after start-ups, and versed in agile development and builder culture – are becoming true innovators in their own right,
Managing user experiences across touch points has reached a byzantine level of complexity."

Jackson Murphy, Pound & Grain

Tearing Down the Walls of User Experience

Experience Prototyping

Putting the user first is the only defense against the increasingly barrier-ridden UX ecosystem of brands. To thrive in today’s environment, agencies need to go beyond campaigns and solve user problems anywhere and everywhere.

Maslow pushed out his hierarchy of needs in 1943 in a nostalgically cute world of push-only marketing and brick and mortar commerce – an era when the funnel was still a relatively straightforward concept.

The marketers of the Mad Men era never had to worry about mobile, tablets, desktops, apps, social, the Internet of things, wearables, Virtual Reality, and enough data to make our head spin. In 2015, consumer needs live in a complex world of customer journeys across devices – the operative word being complex. While consumers’ needs have largely remained constant, trying to fulfill them now requires constant vigilance and an anytime / anywhere approach.

Managing those user experiences across touch points is arguably the hardest part of any marketer’s day. And by hard, we mean it’s reached a byzantine level of complexity. As Econsultancy reports , one third of marketers manage these touch points in silos, and 38% say they have no way to impact or manage the complete customer journey, despite understanding the acute need to do so. And since we’re piling on the numbers, a recent Google commissioned Forrester Consulting report noted that only 2% of companies have the “capabilities necessary to identify, deliver on, and measure moments of intent.”

Ouch! It’s these so-called “mirco-moments” that Google has been pushing on us and which dominate every touch point along that user journey. This is a 24/7 competitive space where brands are getting increasingly fractured interactions with current or prospective customers while they are in latte lines, during transit rides, when their Instagram feeds have nothing new, and even while they’re ignoring your ads. Think Hunger Games, but with far more brands getting blown up by our consumers gleefully playing the role of Katniss. That is today’s battleground for the hearts and minds of the consumer.

The challenge for marketers (and SoDA members) is that in many cases we’re not pulling all the levers in the tool kit in a cohesive way. Between multiple agencies (advertising, digital marketing, ecommerce, social), a cottage industry of new buzzword inspired sub-category agencies (customer experience agencies, service design agencies) and new and powerful internal groups (modeled after start-ups, versed in agile development and builder culture that are becoming true innovators in their own right), the right arm doesn’t always know what the left is doing.

This is less of that classic age-old divide between marketing and IT groups. This is a real opportunity to break silos, tear down barriers, and once and for all put the user in the center of every brief, conversation and customer experience regardless of which department or what agency is working on the initiative.

In less than 75 years, we’ve gone from broadcast to interaction, from content is king to context is king. We are now all hurling towards a place where we always needed to be, where the user is king no matter what, when or where. As they move seamlessly across channels and screens, marketers need to optimize experiences along the journey at every single opportunity. May the odds be ever in your favor.

About the author:

A Creative Director with over a decade of copywriting and content experience, Jackson is passionate about evangelizing innovative digital solutions and delivering results.

Illustration provided by Kate Sheridan