The Formula to Success for Digital Experiences

We live in a world where ideas can be crowdsourced in no time, sentiment is determined at halftime, and impact is discussed in real time. In today’s hyper-connected world, finding the right approach to creating digital experiences is no easy feat. It requires balancing customer, partner, and employee needs with brand opportunities and business needs, all at the right touchpoints.

The challenge is that due to technological change, power and influence have considerably drifted away from brands, marketing, product, and user experience teams to social media-empowered users. To keep up, we all need to be more nimble, more iterative, less structured, and more adaptive. It is more important than ever to align your digital strategy with those age-old, simple questions – the five Ws with the one H. They will increase your potential for happier users and better business outcomes.

So, ask yourself:

why-who-whereWhy Are You Pursuing This Digital Initiative?

You must fully understand why you’re taking on this initiative. To find the Why, answer these questions (more questions, I know, but they’ll get you the answers!): What’s the purpose of the digital experience (website, mobile app, or social presence)? What is the reason for development, maintenance, and support? What specific function does it play within the enterprise overall? Are you driving acquisition or supporting service? Only when you are clear about the promise your brand makes are you able to build a strategy to deliver on that promise.

The Citi Bike mobile app is optimized to help participants of New York City’s bike-sharing system to locate bicycles and access location-based relevant information. The app is a crucial component of the ride-share experience.

Who Are You Shaping It For?
Brands need to shift their mindset from identifying with B2B or B2C toward focusing on what the two terms have in common. Both businesses sell to humans; what makes them unique are their needs. Teams must plan for human needs instead of dividing the world into two broad sectors. You should promote outside-in thinking instead of relying on an inside-out view of the world.

The FedEx mobile app is optimized to serve both B2B and B2C customers. The app includes a FedEx Delivery Manager feature to customize delivery options and even sign for packages directly from the app.

Where Are You Offering These Experiences?
It’s crucial to envision the entire digital journey before solving individual digital touchpoints. Where will you find your users, where are they coming from, and where are they heading? Understanding the digital customer journey allows you to connect the touchpoints, fill in likely gaps, and project desired outcomes.

Uber’s mobile app has a single-minded mobile focus, People are usually on the go when they need a vehicle and want to know how long it takes and where the vehicle is.

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What Experiences Do You Offer?
This is where the rubber hits the road. What are the visual, verbal, interactive, and sonic experiences people will have because of your planning? Will they see the right visuals, read the right text, and find the offered functionality useful? Will there be sonic clues to reinforce interactions? Are these interactions not just clear, but also positively surprising, so when given the choice, these users come back?

PayPal Sonic clues provide nostalgic sounds of cash registers, but also signal that the transaction is complete and the user can log out.

When Are You Offering the Experience?
The battle for attention and retention is mind-boggling. Even when you know how to provide the right content in the right place to the right user, it’s even more crucial to confidently and intelligently nail the timing, frequency, and share-ability of content and experiences. Time of day, week, season, and life stage are just a few coordinates to consider when planning timely content creation.

Frequency and timing are optimized for social behaviors and the highest open rates.

How Are You Delivering These Experiences?
Only when the why, who, where, what, and when are working together is it the right time to dive deeply into the how. Your team must ask: How are we pulling all of this together? What are we building on our own? Where can we use existing technology? Are we building for continual releases or one big deployment? Can we do even better than what we’ve envisioned so far? #MakeExperiencesMatter

The answers to these five simple questions – the five Ws and the one H – will enable you to build a strong digital experience.

While we have answered the five Ws and the one H thousands of times, we are always tremendously interested in hearing about and comparing this to other approaches. Please share your thoughts, so that collectively we can move the industry along and accelerate the output.

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Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.