Creating Customer Experiences
Over the past three decades, customers have gained centre stage in marketing education and practice. Establishing close and intimate relationships with customers is considered to be key to marketing success, and customer equity has become an important marketing performance indicator.
The advent of digital technology and social media have had a major impact on the nature of customer relationships. Today, companies are seeking to engage the customer by creating interactive, participative marketing landscapes which will be the focus of this module.
Based on a solid understanding of traditional customer relationship management and contemporary customer engagement theories, this module discusses the creation of customer experiences from two perspectives.
First, the module will teach students how managers involve customers throughout the marketing process. Existing technology allows customers to participate in product design (for example online product customization), pricing (for example pay-what-you-want), and marketing communications (creation of viral online content). 3D printing may revolutionize the distribution of material goods, with customers designing products online and printing them at home.
Virtual Reality will add further customer touch points to our existing marketing landscapes in the near future. Specifically, Virtual Reality has the potential to transform retail environments and create entirely new marketing communication channels. Furthermore, companies are increasingly engaging customers in brand building, especially via brand communities. The merits as well as the limitations of participative customer experiences will be discussed in this module. Also, the potential impact of other emerging technologies on the customer experience will be examined.
Second, this module focuses on customer involvement in the innovation process. Companies are increasingly involving customers directly in the development of novel products and services. On the one hand, this occurs via crowdsourcing efforts and product idea competitions. On the other hand, selected customers may work directly with engineers and managers during the innovation process. Furthermore, customers often innovate on their own, which is well-documented in the lead user and market creation literature. The module demonstrates how managers can create fertile grounds for successful customer co-creation of new products and services. Also, it will debate the value and limitations of customer engagement in companies’ innovation efforts.