It’s an iconic scene — the Ring of Power flying through the air in slow motion as Frodo tumbles to the floor of the Prancing Pony. As drunken revelers look on and the ring slips onto his finger, the small, frightened hobbit vanishes into thin air.

Frodo Baggins is invisible.

And so begins Frodo’s fraught relationship with the Ring of Power in the first installment of Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Throughout, Frodo will use invisibility in his quest to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

Like little Frodo Baggins, you must master the art of invisibility.

In the future, more and more customer experiences will be invisible. These invisible experiences are the ultimate in convenience, devoid of friction, and they require no effort on a customer’s part. Consider mail-order automatic prescription refills, where pharmacies proactively deliver medicine to the customer before they run out. Given the amount of data companies have on their customers and the powerful techniques for analyzing it, opportunities to deliver these types of proactive and invisible experiences are expanding exponentially.

Your customers want this. Despite what you may believe, most of the time, they don’t want to see you, hear from you, or even think about you. Customers just want value delivered to them in a seamless, convenient way.

Many companies see the opportunity to differentiate and create a sustainable competitive advantage in providing invisible experiences. For this reason, nearly every executive we interviewed in our research agreed with the statement that “anticipating the needs of our customers and serving them proactively will create value for the consumer and help us build a competitive advantage.”

How do you wield this Ring of Power?

Forrester can help you assess your ability to design, build, and deliver invisible experiences at scale through guidance sessions, research, and tools. We’ve conducted both qualitative interviews as well as a new executive survey dedicated to digital consumer experiences. To start, take inspiration from Frodo and the gang and:

  • Listen to wizards. It is the wizard Gandalf who first tells Frodo he has the Ring of Power, which sets him upon his quest to Mordor. Forrester analysts may not be wizards, but we’ve done our homework, and we know that future digital experiences will be invisible and immersive.
  • Beware of orcs. On their journey, Frodo and the gang encounter orcs, cave trolls, Nazgul, and even a Balrog. They also find help from ents, elves, eagles, and even humans. In their quest to deliver invisible experiences, enterprises currently face a combination of headwinds and tailwinds.
  • Assemble a fellowship with diverse skills. Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin can’t make the trek to Mount Doom alone. They need the combined skills of elves, dwarves, men, and a wizard. To deliver invisible experiences, you’ll need a diverse team to employ new competencies.
  • Master your weaponry. Gimli has his axe, Legolas his bow, and Aragorn of course has the sword Anduril. None of them were born masters — they trained and learned over time. Use these 25 competency maps to advance your own invisible experience skillsets.

If you’d like to begin or evolve your ability to design, build, and deliver invisible experiences, please get in touch to set up a guidance session.

In the meantime, beware of your competition who also want to adopt invisible experiences. They’re slinking behind you, watching, waiting for the right moment to pounce on your …

Precious customers.