As Customer Experience (CX) research continues to grow, there are various ways to implement CX frameworks and learnings into the marketing strategy and media planning process. First, it is important to acknowledge that a framework is a basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text. Frameworks are utilized to help marketers bring research and data into the marketing initiatives for clients in a more strategic and efficient way.
This article will review using the STCQ framework throughout the media planning process. This framework utilizes four major categories: Stages, Touchpoints, Context & Qualities. This is based heavily on the research done by Arne De Keyser, Katherine N. Lemon, Philipp Klauss, and Timothy L. Keiningham in this article.
Media Planning Process
At Zion & Zion, our media team looks beyond the ‘typical’ planning/buying process to incorporate CX throughout the customer journey and provide a more strategic approach than simply looking at paid media trends and customer data. While both are still key to developing a media strategy, as we work through the planning process, we need to consider all factors of the journey, different CX opportunities throughout and how we can use paid media to drive customers to purchase our brand’s product or service.
So how is a framework developed for CX utilized when developing a media strategy and paid media plan for clients? It’s important to overlay the STCQ framework over our media process, incorporating the strategy throughout to help further increase strategic thoughts and innovation solutions to clients marketing needs. Using media strategy as our guiding post to identify key areas, we can use CX to provide innovative media plans for clients to help better reach their objective and deliver a holistic marketing plan and a strong ROAS.
Most marketing funnels and frameworks have a similar model as a foundation for user journeys, in which a person goes from a potential customer to purchasing your product. This is consistent for a reason- at its core, it makes sense. Contrary to appearance, it’s a much more cyclical ‘journey’. Once a person purchases a product or service, they have multiple paths to take – never buy again, buy sparingly often, etc.- and that’s once they even know of your brand in the first place! While there are many additional stages when considering the customer journey and developing a media strategy for clients, it’s important to note that media, and especially paid media channels are very strongly focused in the pre-purchase phase. The goal of the pre-purchase phase is driving potential customers to purchase/repurchase or the otherwise business equivalent.
Next to consider is context when planning your media strategy. Context is broken into four main categories in the STCQ framework and some we are able to have more impact on than others with paid media channels.
Individual context is pretty clear- unique to individuals. Ironically, we typically use this exact term when identifying journeys. However, when we are thinking about these for media planning, it is important to identify the characteristics of customers who have the highest potential to purchase and for the largest revenue.
Environmental context factors are the least controllable and predictable there are. While we as marketers work to anticipate and work with these factors, there are many times where these can be so extreme – whole marketing strategies and media plans need to be redone. Take for instance, factors such as traffic, weather, cost of living, and many more that neither clients nor agencies have control, but if properly evaluated, can work with these factors, and not against.
These are not something we as marketers can ‘control’, but it is important when developing customer journey maps, creating personas, and identifying the areas of CX that can be used to look at your target audience as whole. Not everyone will have the same experience, presence, and interests, but by segmenting your paid media audiences based on research looking at the customers who are most critical to building your business, these are essential.
Social and market context factors are the categories paid media can impact the most. These are primarily looking at the competitors of similar brands in the industry and what they are doing/offering, as well as evaluating the social factors of your brands audience to help determine how to reach them. We assist clients in identifying key differentiators about their business using media and marketing channels to communicate their overall values and qualities.
The final component of this framework focuses on Qualities of CX, and when planning media strategy, the different qualities can be used not only in planning, but throughout the buying and optimization phase of a media plan. Based on how we are seeing performance of our campaign, we can look to dial up or down different qualities to improve the CX throughout the different media channels, ads, platforms, etc.
Dimensionality, Interactionality and Valence qualities are key for the overall customer journey and when developing a media strategy, we work with developers, UX design experts and other teams to help determine how these factors will be utilized for a specific campaign. Do customers need to find out more information about a product before they buy? Is this a purchase that requires minimum consideration but a highly competitive space? These are just some of the opportunities where directing users to complete their purchase – and our media goal – by creating a seamless and appealing way to make that purchase.
Temporality quality can be used to evaluate performance of media when looking at conversion actions- or sometimes lack of. If there is a long form to fill out, poor website load time, or other factors that deter a customer from completing a purchase once they click on an ad, these are all opportunities to work with a developer or other team to further improve CX experience and common pain points.
Ordinariness quality is a huge factor when we are planning media for clients. Some of the ways in which we evaluate this is the ‘ordinary vs extraordinary’ factors. An example of this can be two clients – one who is a fast casual restaurant chain and one who sells tickets to a twice a year event. Obviously, one is much more feasible as an everyday task – we all eat, while the other one is an infrequent activity – thus scarcity can be a driver when there is a timing or other limitation.
Utilizing the above CX framework to guide our media strategy, we can identify opportunities to reach new and current customers for our clients, that competitors cannot. By continuously using new research and data, such as this CX framework, we are able to provide innovative solutions for our clients that differentiate them from their competitors.