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How Marketing Creates Friction that Hurts CX

2-minute read

A common goal of E-commerce is to reduce friction in the customer journey. Making it simpler and easier to buy is a proven strategy to increase conversion rates and grow revenue. 

Additionally marketers generally agree that improving the customer experience (CX) can directly improve the customer lifetime value (CLV). Yet marketing efforts can sometimes unintentionally conflict with CX when key performance indicators (KPIs) being targeted are not aligned or are not customer centric. The result is customer churn and loss of potential revenue. 

This post explores which common marketing practices have the potential to harm CX.

Marketing efforts that create CX friction

Marketing practices may be proven to generate leads, and there’s the argument that everyone does it, so customers are used to being marketed to. But the reality is that customers are really fatigued, mostly because marketing efforts are generally not personalized and aren’t relevant to their current needs which greatly reduces the CLV potential. Here are a few examples: 

COOKIES: Despite all the buzz about a cookieless future, most websites still have a cookie acceptance popup that confronts visitors when they land on a page. Explanations that cookies are there to deliver better CX, don’t really fly. Most of the time, visitors find it annoying to have to click and accept or even decline, especially if it keeps happening. It’s one more distraction they don’t want to have to deal with when they’re navigating to find something specific and it can have a negative impact on CX. 

GATED CONTENT: Many marketing promotions entice visitors to a site with the promise of access to information. But when visitors get to the landing page, it’s gated. Customers know that when they enter their contact details,the free content may be available to read, but it comes at the cost of being added to a mailing list and a nurture campaign which may have lots of touchpoints. They’ll get emails and offers that they probably don’t want. This causes many website visitors to think long and hard about engaging with a brand.

ADVERTISING: The growth in adoption of ad-blockers is a strong indication that adverts are not what customers want to see when looking for information. Plus adverts are often misleading, enticing visitors with fine sounding offers or a promise of benefits, but when visitors land on a product page, it may not be relevant to their current needs or even connect to the promise made in the advert. Any online search shows more paid advertising than organic search results, meaning customers are served up information that search engines think they need to see rather than what they’re really looking for. It’s making it more difficult for brands to engage with potential customers and it’s having a negative impact on CX. 

TOO MANY OPTIONS: While customers may want choices, too many options can be overwhelming. Marketers need to carefully consider the impact that upselling or cross selling strategies can have on CX. Distracting visitors with alternate products or offers at the wrong point in the customer journey or using the wrong delivery method could frustrate them and result in the visitor abandoning their journey.

TOO MANY STEPS: “Buy with 1-click” works as a call to action (CTA) because it suggests a quick and easy way to check out on a website. But when that 1-click is actually several steps, it’s likely to cause friction and frustration in the customer journey. This is often a reason for shopping cart abandonment. If visitors have gone as far as adding items to their cart with the intention of buying, to lose them at that late stage in the customer journey is frustrating for brands. This highlights the importance of having CX front and center when making strategic marketing decisions. 

How continuous optimization helps

Each of these common marketing efforts highlight possible points of friction in the customer journey. It’s a reminder of the complexity involved in trying to improve CX. If brands wish to elevate CLV they need to do more than win clients over on their first transaction. Improving CX is an ongoing and continually evolving process that requires constantly looking to reduce friction while at the same time engaging and delighting customers. With points of friction and customer expectations always changing, brands need the ability to experiment at scale to see what customers respond to, while continuously optimizing to personalize and improve CX.   

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