The Marketing Shift That's Creating Industry Giants: Experiences vs. Campaigns!

The Marketing Shift That's Creating Industry Giants: Experiences vs. Campaigns!

There are a lot of names for the current era of customer-centric marketing. Customer journey orchestration, personalised marketing, experience-led growth and experience management, to list a few.
What you call it isn’t so important - How you implement it is. That’s what we’re breaking down in this guide.

By defining the tactical and operational differences between managing campaigns and managing experiences, we hope to give you a better understanding of how to evolve your approach for better customer interactions.

So, what’s happening?

Marketing campaigns have always been important in building a business. However, experience management has emerged as a strategy to improve customer-brand interactions in recent years. It’s about delivering relevant, personalised, high-quality experiences across the entire customer journey.

Experience management is both a sign of the times – as consumers expect and reward tailored brand experiences – and a competitive necessity.

  • Loyal customers generate 2.5x more revenue than new customers on average
  • A 5% loyalty increase boosts profits between 25% and 95%
  • 32% of loyal customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience

Managing campaigns vs managing experiences: Definitions and differences 

Campaign management is about planning and executing marketing initiatives, usually focused on specific products or events, to reach short-term targets.

Experience management means orchestrating persona-based experiences to manage and improve every customer interaction across the entire journey.

Even in these definitions, simplified as they are, you can see how moving from campaign management to experience management isn’t a matter of changing tactics but perspective.

Product-led organisations manage campaigns.

Customer-centric organisations manage experiences.

In our experience as Customer Experience Management (CXM) consultants, this often means marketing teams lead the transformation to customer centricity within their company.

This is a bigger conversation, and one that’s better had directly.

How campaign management looks

Campaign management broadcasts marketing messages. The tactics might be broad or targeted, grand or humble, but they always reflect an inside-out view of the world.

While campaigns are still effective in certain scenarios like major announcements and broad awareness, they’re out of step with the pace, cadence and chaos of CXM. 

  • Brand-centric, focused on promoting the brand or its products/services Batch-oriented, with campaigns planned and executed on set schedules
  • Segment-driven, targeting pre-defined customer segments based on historical data
  • Linear and discrete, following a stepped-out funnel based on buyer phases and product lifecycles
  • Channel-specific, with messaging and creative tailored to each communication channel

How experience management looks

Experience management is about aligning product, brand, service and channel experiences to orchestrate customer journeys that build brand loyalty.

Brands follow customers through a journey, using each interaction to improve the next and deliver experiences that address their needs at the right time and place.

  • Customer-centric, placing individuals at the centre of marketing strategies
  • Always on and engaging in real-time based on customer-initiated events
  • Segments of one offer individualised experiences, tailoring interactions to each customer using sophisticated workflows
  • Personas and goals focused, aligning strategies with an audience persona’s goals and needs
  • Omnichannel, with consistency and continuity so customers experience a seamless journey

Managing campaigns

Managing experiences


Product or event-focused


Messaging methods

Broadcasting to a broad audience

Engaging with individuals

Engagement strategy

Inflexible, following a pre-planned strategy

Highly flexible, adapting in real-time to customer actions and preferences

Data usage

Relies on historical data for segment creation

Uses real-time data (and advanced tech like AI) to personalise experiences

Outcomes and metrics

Typically measured by campaign-specific metrics like conversion rates, CTR or revenue

Measured by long-term satisfaction, loyalty, lifetime value, and brand-specific engagement metrics


Effective for short-term goals and specific promotions

Contributes to long-term customer loyalty and sustainable business growth

These insights apply to B2C and B2B buyers, at least in our experience. Although customer journeys look radically different in each dominion, all buyers are human. 

Until that changes and AI takes the wheel from humanity, companies that tone down aggressive product marketing and deliver integrated, value-adding, enjoyable customer journeys are the ones that will thrive.

So, let’s look at how to do it - broadly, and with the caveat that every company’s transformation from campaign-led to experience-led will be different.

The practical bit: Building the capacity to manage experiences

1. Set and share a clear vision

Although customer centricity is intrinsically good, it’s not impactful unless it aligns with business outcomes. 

  • Clarify how an experience-led approach will boost marketing’s contribution to long-term growth
  • Define what needs to change for customers and why
  • Articulate the importance clearly to key stakeholders
  • Get buy-in from leaders 

This often means adjusting marketing KPIs. Experience-led organisations still generate revenue, but they do so by considering customer lifetime value holistically.

2. Embed customer experience within culture 

CXM is everyone’s job. 
In practice, this looks like: 

  • Replacing sales commissions with CLV target bonuses 
  • Linking individual job performance to big-picture business goals
  • Creating cross-functional customer success targets 
  • Sharing data between teams
  • Incentivising and rewarding CXM leadership

Sales and marketing alignment is a good start. Once those teams are on the same page with customer lifecycle priorities, loop in operational and post-sales service departments to complete the picture. 
As an added bonus, this cross-departmental, customer-centric culture is proven to improve employee engagement by giving their work purpose.

3. Re-engineer your organisation

Reshuffle people and redesign processes to create a content supply chain that connects teams with a unified view of content plans, delivery channels and marketing measurement. 
The goal is to focus on customer satisfaction and retention as the primary goal, not a by-product of a good campaign.

  • Redesign process flows to focus on customer experience
  • Remove roadblocks and information siloes
  • Translate organisational goals into customer-centric team targets 
  • Assess customer intelligence and CXM capabilities

A lot of businesses skip this step because re-engineering team structure and processes is too hard. Instead, they rely on martech to solve the silo problem. 
Spoiler: It doesn’t.

4. Enable success with technology

Product-led marketing organisations rarely have a complete picture of the customer journey. Experience-led organisations do. 
Understanding where people come from, how they enter your ecosystem, where they jettison and what keeps them around is essential to delivering excellent experiences time and time again.

  • Review customer data collection and management 
  • Map customer journeys and identify gaps
  • Connect platforms, either through API integrations or new bridging systems
  • Experiment with automations, e.g. offer decisioning or dynamic content
  • Scale automations across all channels

Remember: the best martech is often the one you already have. In our experience, auditing existing platforms tends to turn up a more cost-effective solution than investing in new tech.
That said, there are a lot of reasons to consider a unified data platform that serves as a single source of truth for managing customer experiences. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are great at building customer profiles in real-time, helping to orchestrate complex customer journeys. 

5. Measure, optimise, predict and pinpoint

Measuring customer experience success is a little more complex than campaigns, but orders of magnitude more valuable in the long run. It’s also getting easier as martech advances.

  • Compare different attribution models to understand what’s working
  • Trace customer experience KPIs to organisational outcomes
  • Transition to centralised, progressive and shared customer profiles
  • Maintain data reliability and quality

The next level of sophistication is using predictive analytics to complete patchy profiles and deliver great experiences earlier in the journey.
Done well, predictive analytics improves customer experiences and contributes to long-term growth by cultivating deeper relationships​​.

Customer experience case studies: Think big, start small, scale fast

Transforming from product-led to experience-led doesn’t necessarily mean a long, expensive CXM project. We’ve got two real-life customer experience case studies to prove any organisation with ambition and empathy can nail it.

First, there’s the UK telco that reinvigorated retention by listening to customer signals. Then there’s the publisher who graduated from ‘batch-and-blast’ to sophisticated and segmented email communication.

giffgaff rolls out a new welcome mat

Sim-only telco giffgaff boosted member retention by an estimated 17,000 subscribers annually, thanks to a new welcome programme. 
On the face of it, a new welcome campaign might not sound like much. But it’s the work behind the scenes to understand customer behaviour patterns, define custom journeys, set up triggered automations, and craft sophisticated policies that made the project successful.
Put simply, the new welcome programme was only the outcome. The ‘work’ was overhauling giffgaff’s processes, workflows and martech capabilities.

“Working with TAP has brought tremendous benefits to giffgaff in terms of our ability to take advantage of the Adobe Campaign technology.”

Richard Fullerton, CRM Lead, giffgaff

Hachette writes 150k new characters into its story

If you’re subscribed to Hachette’s newsletter, you might have noticed that the content coming your way is more relevant to your interests now. 

That process started years ago with a deep dive into Hachette’s database, including consolidating legacy data that was migrated from separate CRM and email systems.

Different to giffgaff, our project with Hachette spans the entire customer lifecycle and focuses on personalising subscriber content. Rather than sending product-led batch emails, Hachette now segments its 150k-strong subscriber base using complex logic based on 100+ preferences.

Evolving to experience management 

CXM is evolving at an unprecedented pace. The shift from traditional campaign management to holistic, customer-centric experience management underscores the need for brands to adapt – fast.

It’s not just about adopting new technologies or strategies. 

It’s about creating a journey where every interaction matters, every moment counts, and every customer feels valued. It’s about personalised experiences, long-term relationships and looking beyond transactional interactions.

Getting there means evolving your approach, potentially from the ground up.

You can pivot some processes and practices from campaign management to experience management without too much trouble, while others need time or a complete shake-up.

We’ve only skimmed the surface in this guide to help you understand what the shift means for your business.

If you want a better understanding of experience management in action, or tailored advice to mature your CXM strategies, reach out to our team for a chat.

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