Experience vs. Initiative: What’s the Difference?

3 minute read

Upland Admin

There’s a new word taking hold of the marketing lexicon: experience.

The word itself may seem straightforward, but when it comes to supporting your customers on their increasingly complex journey to purchase and advocacy, and executing efficient customer experience management, the term is distinctly different from its common definition.

Given the sheer amount of content assets demanded by today’s customers, it’s important to group assets into theoretical “containers” to plan, manage, and track the work done by B2B marketers more effectively.

But how does an experience align with, and differ from, integrated marketing initiatives?

Read on to find out.

The Difference between “Initiative” and “Experience”

While both experiences and initiatives refer to sets of content assets, experiences are defined by the external impact on the customer, while initiatives support internal organization and execution.

An experience is defined as a set of content assets with a similar purpose to move a customer persona from a set of questions to a set of conclusions. Some confusion potentially arises here, as an initiative has also been used to refer to a set of marketing content assets.

An initiative is a set of content assets with a similar purpose to move a customer persona from a set of questions to a set of conclusions.

Initiatives indeed refer to a collection or set of assets, but they focus on creating assets to support a specific business initiative versus a specific experience.

For example: A product launch initiative will often require the creation of many new assets that will touch different experiences, at different stages of the customer life cycle (e.g. awareness, investigation, consideration, and decision). You might also create product launch assets for different personas and thus touch many different customer experiences.

Initiatives refer to a container of internal work over a period of time.

Initiatives can also be created to focus on the same experience, or set of experiences.

For example: A set of experiences might already exist, with content assets already created to support that experience. But additional initiatives can be executed that don’t create new experiences, but rather add additional assets to a specific experience, measured over a specific amount of time.

Think of an experience as a point on the customer experience map that strives to answer a specific set of customer questions, leading the customer to a set of conclusions. Initiatives, however, refer to container of internal work over a period of time. That internal work can yield assets for one experience, many experiences, an existing experience, or new experiences.

A single asset thus can exist in both an experience and in a initiative.

Now that you understand the different between an experience and an initiative, the next step is to map out these experiences, using a customer experience map. (This blog post shows you how.)

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