Advertising and Customer Experience


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I have been thinking a lot recently about the role of advertising, particularly digital, on customer experience.

It started with a negative. I found a great music site ( and was watching some of their videos. Every video was preceded by the same commercial during my session at the site. Extremely frustrating. And I have no idea what product/company they are advertising because I have tuned them out.

While I understand the need to monetize all types of content, I think advertisers need to be more cognizant of the impact they are having on experience.

I have blogged before at interruptions along customer journeys. Advertising might be the worst kind. It simply gets in the way of getting things done. Jakob Nielson has some information on this that he posted years ago (here and here) that still seems to work today, but we are seeing more interrupt-driven approaches to advertising.

All this is going to do is frustrate, or anger, consumers and further erode the trust they have with those businesses.

That being said, I don’t think advertising is always a problem for CX. To make advertising work, focus on its role in the customer journey:

1. Use advertising early in the journey to expose customers to possibilities. Do so in a way that does not get in their way, but invites them to explore, if they are ready to do so.

2. Identify moments of truth in the journey where an ad might offer an opportunity to add value (e.g. recommend additional products).

3. When a journey completes and the user has successfully performed the task they were working on, use ads to capitalize on this and offer more things they can do. Don’t force them down a path, but encourage more exploration.

4. Advertise about your customer experience efforts—-if you can walk the walk, then talk the talk.

5. Use new forms of communications to effectively advertise, even if it does not feel like an ad. An example might be in a configuration tool for a new car purchase, you can talk about (advertise) various options, but its part of the config process. If you make it part of the experience, while being transparent that it is promotional information, I think it will be well received.

What do you think about advertising and customer experience?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Hank Barnes
Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies--particularly around marketing, positioning, and customer experience--for technology providers. Hank has more than 25 years of high-technology sales and marketing experience in both field and corporate roles, both as an individual contributor and the marketing leader for several startups. He is a long-time proponent of customer-centric marketing and the use of customer experience as a key differentiator for business success. His posts here include content from his days with Adobe, SAP, and now Gartner


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