It’s only September but my kids are already starting to provide me with lists of what they want for Christmas.
“You will remember Daddy won’t you?
You’ll remember what I’ve shown you.”
Sometimes I’m pretty spontaneous and buy stuff straight away after a single website visit (a single customer journey). Sometimes I prevaricate, make selections online, change my mind and leave, come back, add to basket, get distracted, check out another website, check my bank account, leave the website, a week later return and then finally buy something completely different from the high street store of the original company I was visiting the website of (a customer odyssey*).
A number of systems, like Microsoft’s Engagement Mapping, are meant to capture this kind of ‘odyssey’ behaviour so that the ad-man can attribute value to the different sources that have influenced the final conversion. But what really influences a customer in the longer, more drawn out purchasing process?
Just because someone has seen something doesn’t mean that it has been an influence. And even if it was an influence which bit did the influencing? Or, more importantly when considering the customer odyssey, which influential bits are remembered? There is no point influencing someone if they neither act on immediately nor remember for later that influence. (Indeed this could be the definition of uninfluential.)
The science of psychology understands two different types of memory.
Episodic Memory. The memory for ephemeral details, the individual features or the unique particulars of an experience.
Semantic Memory. The memory of meaning. Memory that preserves only the gist, the general significance of remembered experiences.
Which of these is most important when it comes to remembering the important stuff during a customer odyssey? They are probably both important in different ways which leaves me with the big questions.
What can we do to help our customers with their semantic and episodic memories? How can we ensure that our potential customers take away the gist of our value proposition alongside enough specifics and details that they remember the virtues of our product or service?
One of the techniques I’ve been experimenting with has been the use of the Peak-End Rule. This theory states that people are most likely to remember the best/worst part of an experience and the end of it. So ensuring that experiences have one exceptional moment and finish on a high could be the best way to ensure our customers remember us over our competition.
* I was introduced to the term ‘Customer Odyssey’ by Matthew Tod