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  • Aug 14, 2023
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Category Business
How positive friction reshapes digital marketing 1200x628
How positive friction reshapes digital marketing

How positive friction reshapes digital marketing

In today's digital landscape, marketers are constantly striving to increase engagement and conversion rates online. To achieve this, their goal is typically to create seamless digital experiences for their customers. Friction is most often associated with pain points in the customer journey. However, eliminating friction altogether might be the wrong approach.

Why? Removing friction is often beneficial, but frictionless experiences are not memorable, nor do they encourage us to stop and think. Gartner’s 2022 Digital Customer Engagement Survey shows that while digital interactions are perceived as valuable by 73% of consumers, only 5% can actually recall a valuable digital interaction with a brand.

As Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” teaches us, it is often wise to stop and think when making important decisions to avoid our automatic system making them for us. This is where friction comes into play: brands can use it to nudge customers to stop and think – and ultimately make the decision-making process conscious and memorable.

Introducing catalytic digital interactions

During her webinar “Embrace Catalytic Marketing to Drive Profitable Growth”, Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone, Sr Director, Advisory at Gartner, suggests that digital interactions that catalyze customer learning and confidence are the most commercially productive.

Unlike seamless digital experiences, catalytic interactions introduce positive friction, prompting consumers to pause and engage in self-reflection, for example, via an interactive self-assessment. An excellent example of this is L'Oreal’s Skin Genius, a “skin analysis tool powered by Artificial Intelligence technology that analyzes your skin's specific needs and helps create a more personalized skincare routine”.

Instead of offering customers a selection of skincare products, it helps consumers analyze their own skin, educates them about their ideal skincare, and suggests products based on its findings. According to LaRocca-Cerrone, a catalytic experience has the power to change the customer’s purchase decision and decrease buyer’s remorse.

The power of catalytic interactions

Catalytic interactions create a sense of agency and confidence in customers, making them more likely to feel good about their purchase decisions, and Gartner's research shows that a single catalytic digital interaction can double the likelihood of commercially productive behaviors, such as increased purchases, repeat business, and positive advocacy.

Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone even believes that “one catalytic digital interaction matters even more than having a large number of memorable interactions and rating all of them high.”

Joana de Quintanilha, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester agrees. In her blog post “Harness Friction In Customer Journeys To Drive Emotional Engagement”, she explains that “the appropriate level of friction in customer journeys drives emotional engagement that earns customer trust, creates brand advocates, and drives revenue-generating loyalty behaviors such as retention and advocacy.”

Best moments to make customers stop and think

Brands must still strive to simplify and streamline the customer experience and frictionless experiences are ideal for straightforward choices or simple tasks.

But as a marketer, it is worth stopping and thinking about the right moment to introduce friction. According to Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone, the best moment to incorporate catalytic interactions is in decision-making situations that require more thought and reflection. When faced with ambiguous decisions or when emotions are involved, customers benefit from stop-and-reflect moments that prompt them to consider their goals and options.

By strategically placing catalytic interactions throughout the customer journey and combining them with personalized content and recommendations, businesses can create transformative experiences that resonate with their audience and drive marketing success.

Channels for catalytic interactions

Catalytic interactions can take place on various digital channels, including websites, web apps, search, and advertisements. Kristina LaRocca-Cerrone recommends that businesses guide customers toward catalytic experiences by strategically placing their ads based on consumers' learning intent. Consumers with a high learning intent can be identified by the questions they ask, for example, “What running shoes should I buy?” instead of “What are the best running shoes?”

What can a DXP do for marketers?

Achieve real marketing outcomes by delivering engaging digital experiences.

Creating interactive experiences with Magnolia

Creating interactive digital experiences requires a combination of technologies.

A Digital Experience Platform (DXP), like Magnolia, can provide you with the foundation to create, manage, and deliver experiences. The best technology to build the frontend for an interactive experience is a JavaScript framework, such as React, Angular, or Vue.

Magnolia’s composable DXP empowers content authors to manage content and experiences in a unified authoring interface, regardless of the content source. The real advantage of Magnolia's approach lies in its user-friendly nature, enabling non-technical users to intuitively edit experiences that were built in one of the above frontend frameworks. With Magnolia, marketing and development teams can work hand in hand to deliver the best digital experiences.

With the Magnolia PaaS, Magnolia’s cloud solution, you can also host your frontends directly on our secure infrastructure. This eliminates the hassle of managing web infrastructure separately, saving valuable time and resources.

Driving business growth through friction

To achieve lasting customer engagement and tangible business value, embracing catalytic digital interactions is essential. These interactions introduce positive friction and encourage self-reflection, empowering customers to make informed decisions and boosting their confidence.

Strategically incorporating friction during moments of decision-making and combining them with personalized content can create transformative experiences. The Magnolia DXP offers the foundation and user-friendly tools to build interactive digital experiences, enabling businesses to drive customer engagement and business growth.

Learn more about Magnolia DXP here

About the Author

Sandra Schroeter Technical Product Marketing Manager at Magnolia

Sandra started her career managing mission critical environments at Hewlett Packard and found her way into product marketing via PostgreSQL consultancy. Having worked in the area of customer experience over the past few years, Sandra is passionate about creating customer-friendly digital experiences. In her role at Magnolia, Sandra is responsible for value-based product messaging for a technical audience as well as technical content strategy.

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