by James Myers, OgilvyOne Business

I fully recognize that I won’t be winning any prizes for insight of the year with this, but marketers are now in the experience business. No longer can agencies survive being just the communications experts, nor is it good enough for client-side marketers to be a product man, (it’s always a man). Services used to be a specialist topic in the marketing textbooks, now we all recognize we have to think like ‘service marketers’ and focus on the experience.

Building an integrated customer experience is complicated, possibly complex; So many moving parts and dependencies, and probably more than one right solution.

I would argue it is impossible to design the marketing architecture without a robust framework. So for those of you who also like a framework, I would like to introduce you to DAVE.

DAVE stands for Data inspired, Always on, Valuable Experiences.

There are six stages to DAVE:

  • Customer ambition
  • Personas
  • Customer Journey
  • Engagement Idea
  • Blueprint
  • Experience

If you feel measurement is missing, don’t panic – we’ve not ignored it; we see it as a given.
You can probably imagine what we do in each stage, and to be fair I can’t think of any marketing or customer orientated agency that wouldn’t say they create personas, map the customer journey or develop ideas. But we would argue what we do has some differences or – perhaps more to the point – has more rigor. As a result it helps us deliver better results for our clients.
Here is why it works.

  1. It starts with a business problem, and then uses hard data to identify the opportunity. For example, for one client targeting SMEs across Europe we used bespoke research and industry data to establish what would be a reasonable increase in market share, and what the value of that increase would be worth to them. Doing this across seven markets enable us to identify the two markets with the greatest opportunity – it allowed us (and them) to focus efforts.
  2. It’s a highly visual approach. Strategy can be such a dry topic. My belief is that if you can visualise your strategy in one wall chart you have pretty much cracked it. It’s also got a greater chance of being implemented. We all know what strategy is without implementation. Yes exactly, PowerPoint.
  3. It asks all the big questions like – why should a customer bother, what’s in it for them, who and what influences them, is the market gap big enough but in a logical structured way.
  4. It uses real data and insight, not the stuff that has been hanging around your CRM system for years but behavioural data, from search and social. Even in the blueprint stage we speak to real people. For one financial services client, we designed and built the customer experience, taking an agile approach (coolade time) and inviting IFAs in to test hypotheses and develop solutions in real time.
  5. The process is channel neutral. There is no real assumption around deliverables before we go into the process. The disciplines – advertising, content, experiential, marketing automation are all ‘mapped’ into the blueprint once it is formed. For example, for one client, we knew (from insight) that there was a demand for a new service that our client had the capability and credibility to deliver so a new product was the solution. We wouldn’t have got to this end result if we’d started with a channel in mind.
  6. Finally it is strategic, this is not a campaign design tool. It is a customer engagement tool, and it encourages experiential and programmatic thinking.

Getting the process right is imperative. In order to make sure DAVE delivers every time, we’ve spent significant time tweaking the engine and doing some fine tuning so it works in B2B. Mapping the stakeholders, their role in the decision making process, how we engage them at each stage, the triggers we can use to get them into the right part of the nurture journey are all adoptions we have incorporated into our B2B version. More importantly, we’ve also made sure that how we apply the process is different.

In today’s continually evolving market, it is no longer the role of the agency to plan and design a framework to apply to a client, it is collaboration with the client to find a solution to the problems they are facing and are yet to face.

In this market, the real value from the agency comes from the people we get into the room. Today, the right agency should bring UX, planning, social, content, creative, and mobile experts to work with sales, product, and contact centre reps from the client.

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