"Design is conceiving and giving form to artifacts that solve problems…The problem need not be a pressing societal need, but rather any perceived gap in a situation or experience." Karl T. Ulrich
Understanding the product-service-consumer gap is critical. It means learning about your customers and what their current and future needs are. It means understanding how customers are bridging the gap without your product or service. And it means developing a solid strategy that doesn’t just solve a problem, but does it in a way that produces brand fanatics.
"[A] firm must identify all the substitute products that can meet the needs its product satisfies. Then technological and other trends that will affect the cost or quality of each of these substitutes should be charted." Michael E. Porter
In order to develop a solid strategy you must know what your customers are bringing to the brand. What preconceptions, what context, and what attitudes produce the filter through which your consumers experience your brand. Moreover, you need to know how to set up the brand for success when the consumer does become aware of it.
"[E]ffects varied considerably, with strong ads tripling sales and weak ads actually cutting purchase rates in half." Pratkanis & Aronson
Consumers need to be exposed to your brand multiple times and in a way that builds brand affinity. Strategic experience design allows that to be orchestrated rather than left to chance. An integrated marketing campaign ensures that all of your marketing efforts are working in concert for your brand even when you don’t control an entire channel or touchpoint.
"[T]hree elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and Trigger. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing." BJ Fogg
There are a lot of psychological facts that come into play in the conversion process. Motivation is something that a marketing campaign can provide for, ability is all about optimizing availability and ease of conversion touchpoints, and the trigger can be designed for different audience segments. Triggers should be designed even when they’re outside of your control. For instance, a trigger might be someone talking about the product. That should be designed for even if you can’t directly control the speaker.
"Judgment is relative, not absolute." Pratkanis & Aronson
Using a product or service elicits experiences. Understanding how service infrastructure gives rise to customer experiences is ridiculously critical to the success of an organization as measured by growth and longevity. Since judgments of quality of service are relative, organizations must always be improving to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
No restin’ on the laurels for the organization serious about its customers and its place. Customer journeys don’t stop once a product or service has been used. The customer journey continues if designed or not. Smart organizations design for this post use experience, especially with regards to sharing this product use experience with friends. Other important factors to consider are how the experience is remembered and how marketing supports the post use attitudes that a customer develops toward a brand.