Experience Lifecycle Management: A Definition
The primary focus on digital marketing has opened up a tech opportunity to enable the management of holistic experiences that P&L owners must still master, especially in the apparel business. Mastery of holistic experiences requires orchestration throughout the diverse lifecycles of products, customers, and content across both digital and physical channels.
The objective of Experience Lifecycle Management (ELM) is to provide P&L business leadership a means to orchestrate and streamline experiential moments in internal and external customer journeys. External customer sets are inclusive, ranging from consumers (B2C) to a broad, end-to-end view that includes product suppliers, trading partners, content providers, and business (B2B) customers. Internal customers encompass business personnel from the supply-side (sourcing, inventory management, logistics) to the demand-side (marketing, sales, customer relations); including admin/support roles. The value of ELM arises from the recognition that there is fragmentation in serving customers today that hinders effective convergence of digital capabilities with the reality of physical commerce.
ELM owners are executives having broad P&L roles: CEOs / COOs / general managers, category/product managers (manufacturing), ecommerce heads, and buyer/merchants (retailing). What they have in common is that they are measured by more than revenue, in their shared objective to shape compelling experiences for all their constituents in bringing products and services to market.
The P&L View of Customer Centricity
We have all heard of mission statements that put the “customer first” or have a “customer-centered” organization. But customer centricity itself is becoming more complex in the drive to deliver differentiated experiences, which, from an ELM perspective, requires:
- Simultaneous segmentation of product and customer. A marketer looks at the customer and fine tunes a message about available products that will lift sales. In contrast, the ELM-focused business owner thinks in terms of making compelling products to generate new customer interest, while applying differentiated messages not just to existing product but also to new customer/product combinations. Further, ELM execs often make large bets on new products with uncertain outcomes – sometimes operating without a net to cushion the fall of unsold merchandise - that goes well beyond personalizing the next click for a consumer.
- Simultaneous engagement of customer and associate. In a self-service digital world, the store associate or the sales rep may not be a consideration. However, in assisted service – e.g., 85% of all sales in retail still take place in physical stores that may require sales or service guidance– sales personnel need to have their experiences enabled for peak performance in their customer interactions, and powered by insights into the customer that may have been gathered online or through loyalty systems.
- Ecosystem view of an integrated supply and demand chain model. There are internal and external customers in the end-to-end value chain that links an enterprise. Digital pervasiveness demands that companies shape the experience of their products, brand, services and customer beyond the edges of their company; they must think and act as a boundaryless enterprise that embraces its trading partners, industry associations, customer support and social networks, and more, to achieve the enterprise experience excellence.
Technology for the Merchant and Category Manager
Category managers in consumer products have more limited tools, often focusing on trade promotion management (TPM) that are more of an exercise in brute force than the 1:1 marketing tools that online marketers have available. While apparel retailers and some brands may have loyalty schemes that provide detailed portraits of individual consumers for some of their customer base, they are still challenged with reconciling those nuanced portraits to online and offline assortments that should address a variety of channels, customer touchpoints, and operating models; while also meeting the demands of a P&L business model that must cover margin optimization, aligning inventory levels, ensuring supply efficiencies, managing B2B and partner relationships, etc. – not just maximizing sales lift from highly select consumer campaigns .
The technology that enables P&L owners to master ELM is called Multi-domain Experience Management (MxM), such as the EnterWorks Enable™ platform, which offers the ability to manage multiple experience domains of product, customer, supplier, location, assets, and more within a single platform as a master data hub. This technology has the potential to allow P&L owners break through the digital waves that have crashed over their legacy business models. MxM links ecommerce with ERP, auto-generates assortments tailored to diverse physical and digital store types, enables insight into attribution for customer offers by mapping buying behavior back to assortments and customer journey insights, the role of merchants and category managers in apparel businesses will experience a true renaissance.
MxM addresses the duality of today’s commerce model, unifying the front office sales focus with back office efficiencies, provides a B2B2C framework for linking the supply chain with today’s demand networks, and more, on the path to enterprise experience mastery.
Return on Experience / Commerce (ROX/C)
As a final note, there will be great importance in being able to measure the returns from improved experiences across demand and supply side engagement. The measurement tool is Return on Experience / Commerce (ROX/C) consisting of inflection point metrics arising from experiential moments contributing to P&L outcomes, including omnichannel attribution.
The arrival of Experience Lifecycle Management will put enhanced profit levers into the hands of the apparel merchant and category manager. The result will be a digital transformation that is truly inspirational for all customer types and reinvigorates the merchant role as the masters of the experience universe.
Rick Chavie leads EnterWorks, a market leader in Master Data Management (MDM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions which comprise the EnterWorks Enable Multi-domain Experience Management platform. EnterWorks is highly ranked as a leader globally by the leading industry analysts.
Rick Chavie came to EnterWorks as CEO from his role as a Senior Vice President at SAP Hybris, having led hybris ecommerce solutions before their acquisition by SAP and previously served as SAP’s global leader for Retail and Wholesale.
Rick also brings industry experience from industry as a retail executive R C&A, a global apparel retailer, and at The Home Depot, as a technology leader in NCR’s retail and hospitality business, and in partner roles at Deloitte and Accenture focused on retail and brands.
Rick is a Harvard MBA and a Fulbright Scholar in International Trade. He is a noted speaker and author on content and commerce and is frequently quoted in industry publications.