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What is Experiential Design?

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Experiential Design is essentially the art and science of shaping the customer experience.
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Russ Lange


A fervent believer in the promise of human powered growth, Russ leads CMG in partnering with companies to help them become aligned, agile, customer-driven enterprises that unleash the potential of their organizations with sustainable improvements in focus, teams, culture, and process our clients.

About The Author

Mark Chinn


Mark leads CMG in partnering with Telecom companies to help them increase customers and accelerate revenue. His 25+ years of experience in growth, strategy and execution includes B2C and B2B multi-channel acquisition programs, customer experiences that surprise and delight, pricing that optimizes customer value, and innovative product development.

Experiential design incorporates aspects from several different disciplines, but at the most basic level, it’s about creating an incredible customer experience. When you’re designing a product or marketing campaign, there are a few things you should always keep in mind.

Experiential design is an incredibly broad term that encompasses several disciplines, but it is essentially the art and science of shaping the customer experience. Whenever someone interacts with your product or service, he or she forms an impression. Good experiential design influences this impression.

What do customers see, think, and feel when they encounter your product or service? Every single customer touch point influences the way consumers feel about what you’re offering. Experiential design is the art and science of shaping these moments so that people walk away feeling good about your brand.

Design for Simplicity

When you’re designing a product or marketing campaign, make it easy for your customers to understand and use. If your manual weighs more than “War & Peace” perhaps you need a redesign. Luckily, innovations like rapid prototyping and social “focus groups” have made it less expensive for companies to test and iterate during the design phase to find out what works–and what doesn’t.

Invite Them In

Experiential design focuses on the customer, so why not get them involved? Marketing isn’t a megaphone anymore; it’s a discussion. Starting a dialogue with your loyal customers and your company provides the opportunity for passionate co-ownership.

When designing a new product or campaign, get your customers actively involved and find out what they want. These are the people who are experienced in using your products. They will have worthwhile insights into design improvements or features that your team may not have considered.

But this is about more than just asking for feedback. When your customers and prospects take the time to thoughtfully fill out a customer survey, make sure you acknowledge their feedback and communicate with them about it. Soliciting suggestions is half the battle; the other half is actively considering and responding to suggestions. If you’re not going to seriously consider what your customers have to say, maybe it’s better not to ask.

It Works for Services, Too

Experiential design isn’t just about products. It applies to the entirety of the customer experience, and the general principles can also be applied to services. After all, the customer experience is influenced by several touch points, from interactions with salespeople to the ease of contacting customer support. If anything, experiential design is more important in the services industry, where a customer’s perception may be based entirely on interactions with people rather than products.

You’re an expert in your industry, but your team is not infallible. Be open to feedback from customers and you’ll make better products and services.

At CMG, we recommend against a top-down approach to customer experience. We support strategies that integrate experiential design that reflects the thoughtful input of your customers.