The perfect experience for your customers is the one that fulfills your brand promise in a way that’s meaningful to them. That’s why simply copying experiences that work for other companies is worse than a dead end: It can lead to well-intentioned efforts that damage your brand.

A former Forrester analyst used to illustrate this principle by comparing Apple stores to Costco stores. Both stores have customers who love the experience they deliver. But if you put an Apple retail store’s Genius Bar into a Costco store, you’d confuse the heck out of the Costco customers; they’d have a hard time believing that the store hadn’t violated its low-cost brand promise by raising prices to pay for the Genius Bar.

Companies can turn this insight into effective actions. The key is to focus on attracting customers who will find the experience they offer extremely compelling. Otherwise, marketers will shovel prospects in through the front door while customer experience (CX) professionals watch dissatisfied, one-and-done customers flow out through the back door, never to return.

Is this insight new? Not really. Forty years ago, I started my career in direct marketing, then moved into advertising. Back then, marketers took it as gospel that they should try to acquire the customers they intended to keep. But somewhere between 1977 and 2020, many brands have forgotten this essential truth.

At Forrester’s Customer Experience North America virtual event on June 16–18, we’ll explore how both CX professionals and marketers can get on a shared path to winning, serving, and retaining the right customers. I’m running a track where we’ll dive deep into:

  • How to spot the customers you can turn into superfans.
  • What comes next after traditional customer segmentation — and why the new approach is vastly better.
  • What customer loyalty really means and how you can know it when you see it.
  • How you can prove the ROI of customer experience to even the most skeptical executives.

We’ll also have a mixed panel of marketers and CX professionals, where we’ll compare and contrast their differing approaches to customer retention. We’ll draw a second panel, this time of just CX practitioners, from some brands that successfully serve a broad market and some that successfully serve a narrower market. Here, we’ll explore the best practices they share and the necessary differences in their approaches — plus, we’ll explode a few myths along the way.

I hope you’ll join us in June!