Why Experience Design Will Be Your Biggest Marketing Differentiator in 2025

Matt Wujciak

Nike Campus

While great conversations, engaging social media content, and strategic ad campaigns drive sales and revenue, it’s easy for businesses to disregard what happens in between. Recognizing this reality, customer-facing organizations are increasingly embracing design thinking.

According to a recent CCW market study, “experience design” was rated the #1 customer contact focus, above other populartopics like artificial intelligence and automation. We know that experience design heavily influences customer satisfaction which dictates other consumer behavior traits (like whether they’re more inclined to remain loyal or switch to a competitor), but consumer retention doesn’t end there. 

Consumer experiences travel fast

In today’s age of itchy twitter fingers and viral Chick-Fil-A YouTube videos, the quality of the customer’s experience with a brand (at all touchpoints) has a spiraling effect on how successful your company is with other consumers as well. While poorly designed customer experiences cost companies customers, great experiences drive advocacy at an exponential rate.

According to the same CCW market study, nearly 84% of consumers are open to sharing positive experiences on social networks. Think of mediums like Twitter and Youtube, where your mind wanders when you hear the word “viral.” But even more importantly, think of the more common rating forums and news aggregations like Reddit, Yelp, and Angie’s List on which consumers are more likely to review your service.

Read More: The Contact Center of 2025

To put it simply, today’s consumers have more buying power than ever. It’s clear that the experience heavily impacts a brand’s PR, so why are marketing departments not more involved with customer service design and experience journey mapping to ensure positive reviews and brand image? 

Avoid siloed optimizations through cross-functional collaboration

“Far too many organizations treat areas like service, retention, sales, marketing, information technology, and employee development as independent functions. They set separate objectives, use distinct metrics, implement isolated technologies, coordinate individual strategies and make siloed optimizations. Even if the individual functions have a pro-customer mindset, the lack of alignment will result in a less-than-stellar experience,” said Brian Cantor, CCW Principal Analyst and Digital Director. 

Siloed optimizations. In other words, CRM systems and consumer analytics shouldn’t be one department’s responsibility (just like PR and marketing efforts shouldn’t be), nor should objectives, metrics, and technology vary so drastically across departments. They should be a cross-functional asset  innovatively strategizing consumer satisfaction and customer journey mapping… not a managerial housekeeping task. And some enterprises (who coincidentally happen to control their respective markets) are doing exactly that. 

Dow Jones combines CS and Marketing

“We know customer experience design. So we are relying on the product specialists and marketers… It’s working really closely with the teams to figure out what might be best in class, and then make it nuance for that particular region,” said Alison Lichtenstein, Dow Jones’ former marketing manager and current Director of Customer Experience Design (what a crazy career shift… or is it?).

Lichtenstein and Dow Jones have dominated the news and publication industry by collaborating between departments, specifically customer service and marketing to map consumer experience journeys and give Dow Jones “best in class,” tailored products for a particular region. For example, customer service and marketing may collaborate on tailoring financial news to individual consumers based on data analytics and personalized preferences. 

Nike empowers “athletes”

Nike has adopted a similar approach in cross-functional department assignments. Larry Rodgers, Senior Director of Retail Concepts for the company, told us at CCW Austin “We have many experts who then left [traditional] consumer service [roles]and then went to our social media team, which is actually still part of consumer services. They can also become a product line manager, who is involved in the engineering of products, category experts, brand marketers,” and more. What analysts don’t realize about the world's largest footwear and sports apparel enterprise is that in addition to combining certain tasks like social media and product engineering between departments, their employee career progression model is part of their consumer experience design as well.

Read More: Contact Center 2025: A Roadmap

Nike empowers its “athletes” (which is what they title their customer service agents) through an innovatively detailed career progression, opening the door to more employee loyalty and longevity upon promotions and individualized interests. Sensing support for their personal career progression, steadfast Nike “athletes” are more likely to perform at their full potential and deliver successful results on the task at hand… customer service. 

Want to learn more on the future of customer experience design? Tune in to our live event, The Contact Center of 2025, on December 3rd and 4th where Dow Jones’ Alison Lichtenstein will be one of our guest speakers. Get ahead of competitors and introduce yourself to analysts’ predictions and upcoming cutting-edge technology trends at our complimentary online summit.

(Image Credit: Nike)