Nigel Roberts

The digitisation of information consumption means we are all now in a constant state of consideration. This constant consumption of content and ‘always on’ mindset has disrupted the traditional advertising model to the point where as FS marketers, we all need to take a step back and reassess how audiences are connecting with our brands.

Your audiences may come across your brand interactions at any time on any device. Being in state of constant consideration means they will subconsciously begin to form associations with your brand before they make a conscious decision to buy.

Think of United Airlines.  If you don’t live in the U.S., it’s unlikely that they were ever in your consideration set. However, after the debacle with their recent overbooked flights, I’m pretty certain you won’t be flying with them any time soon.

These associations are being created all the time. We’re constantly absorbing brand interactions and forming opinions about brands as a result. It’s therefore incredibly important that each interaction delivers consistency, personalisation, differentiation and satisfaction to ensure that the opinion that is being formed is the one that will help your audiences meet their needs..

That’s why for marketers, especially financial marketers, actively managing these interaction experiences is more essential than ever. If you haven’t already considered an iX strategy, then you’re already behind. The good news is, iX is accessible and flexible enough for you to gain ground on your competitors within weeks.

What is iX?

Interaction experience, or iX, focuses on capturing both your customers’ emotional and rational needs, then planning and building a set of interactions to meet those specific needs.

How is this different from CX? Well, iX is both narrower and broader in scope than CX.

It’s narrower because it tightly focuses on external interactions, rather than organisational change, data and processes.

Where iX is broader than CX is in building a holistic view of your audiences’ needs before, after and during experiencing your product and service. This is in contrast to CX, which has long had its primary focus on the needs of existing customers.

An iX strategy encompasses all of your core audience segments, split into personas, each of which have their own user journeys and specific needs. Creating user journeys allows you to overlay each persona’s emotional and rational needs at every major interaction with your organisation. In turn, it allows you to then focus on creating the interactions that will best meet the needs of each persona at each interaction, with the aim of reducing friction and shifting both their rational and emotional need state to one which delivers a positive outcome for your audience and your brand.

Why is iX so important?

iX strategies allow marketers to truly create exceptional experiences for their audiences, without having to undertake significant change programs.

There’s been a great deal of focus on customer experience (CX) as the discipline for improving a brand’s relationship with its customers. What’s become clear is that for many established businesses, CX focusses more on organisational change, process and efficiency than really improving the interactions that customers have with an organisation. While process change can be aligned with improving customer advocacy, it’s also very much about reducing the cost of servicing existing customers by improving access to relevant information to minimise the need to call your business (for example). It treats customers as units to be processed through the system as quickly as possible.

iX on the other hand encompasses your entire relationship with your audiences, starting with awareness campaigns and finishing with retention and advocacy strategies. While it will touch on your ‘back-end’ processes and the provision of data to relevant points in the iX journey, its main purpose is on ‘front-end’ interactions, ensuring they connect emotionally with customers and provide a consistent and efficient experience.

It’s important for marketers to own those interactions. To have a complete view of their audiences’ possible interactions with their brand and to plan accordingly. Having a fully-formed iX strategy allows you to:

  • increase campaign effectiveness, improving targeting, messaging and destinations
  • reduce or refine your content creation efforts – know exactly what content is required and when
  • enable more effective inbound campaigns, through persona and nurture path development
  • improve the effectiveness of your digital channels by using persona-led insights to inform UX/UI
  • build better interactions with your audiences – help them make easier choices about engaging with your brand, using your products and advocating to their friends.
iX is flexible

Being built around personas within broader segments makes iX a very effective tool for marketers. It allows the flexibility to deliver iX improvements that focus on a single persona, or your entire audience set. It can deal with a single interaction, or a complete user journey.

While CX programs often involve the entire business, and can get bogged down in the organisational quagmire, iX engagements are much leaner. Without the reliance on the broader business to make progress, marketers have more flexibility to take an agile approach and deploy incremental changes that can have an immediate, measurable impact. Doing this across multiple interactions, based on an overarching strategy, can transform your business within 6 months.

How can you start?

It’s important to remember that iX is based on qualitative inputs, not just data. We all have access to masses of behavioural data, which can give us indications of what our audiences do when they interact. But it doesn’t tell us why.

The best way to start any iX process is to pick an audience segment, then choose a persona within that segment. You might start with self-directed retail investors for example, then narrow this down to SMSF trustees.

Then, go find some. Get them in a room, talk to them 121. Find out why they chose a particular fund or product and drill down into their underlying motivations. Is their decision to invest in a NASDAQ fund because they want to invest in a NASDAQ fund, or is it because they’re passionate about the environment and wanted to access the world’s leading tech index? The insights can be striking and will transform how you consider they way you interact with your audiences.

The next stage is to design interactions that capitalise on these insights. In this example, campaign messaging may demonstrate the eco-credentials of the fund, and the digital campaign may resolve to a tool which allows users to calculate the environmental benefit of investing in the fund, as well as potential rate of return. In this way, the iX insights are being used to connect both emotionally and rationally with prospects.

Find out more about iX, and how it can transform your business.

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