Customer touchpoints represent the various moments of interaction between customers and the products offered by a company. These touchpoints, as well as the customer journey, find clear definition within the framework of the experience economy theory. This theory states that, not only the products have gained differentiation and exclusivities, but also encompass the associated services and, even in a broader sense, customer experiences. Consequently, these touchpoints play a central role in the overall customer journey, which provides a holistic depiction of the entire customer experience with the product, spanning from pre-purchase to post-purchase phases. These touchpoints are typically visualized on a customer journey map alongside key stages of the customer journey, specific product or service-related steps, and the stakeholders associated with each touchpoint.
For every product or service element within the customer touchpoints (e.g., brochures, websites, packaging), a list of communication requirements (e.g., tactile, acoustical, branding) is established. This alignment between communication needs and product or service elements is depicted in a communication elements matrix.
IP plays a vital role in enhancing these customer touchpoints by securing their exclusivity and differentiation aspects. The ultimate objective of this strategy is to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. The customer touchpoints highlight how significant the IP department’s involvement is in the early stages of these discussions.
A pertinent example is the customer journey defined by the BMW Group. This journey illustrates how each stage is linked to specific steps, from the awareness phase that involves tailored auto shows and events to the loyalty phase, which utilizes unique customer satisfaction surveys. For instance, BMW Group has partnered with Adobe to leverage the distinctive tools within the Adobe Experience Cloud. In the awareness phase, they have crafted digital advertisements with highly evocative elements, including the sound of an 8 Series car zooming past.
Another example illustrates that communication needs for customer touchpoints can extend beyond optical or acoustical elements to include olfactory experiences. Specifically, BMW has patented a system for vehicles that provides an olfactory experience by engineering the distribution of up to eight different scents throughout the passenger compartment (known as the Ambient Air package).
Additionally, an example related to the application US2008222012A1 reveals an approach for advertising private party vehicle sales online via a network, showcasing vehicle information and specific financial terms. This demonstrates that customer touchpoints are not limited to direct BMW buyers but encompass potential stakeholders, such as private sellers.
In conclusion, understanding and optimizing customer touchpoints, with the strategic integration of IP, are essential for enhancing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the overall success of products and services in today’s experience-driven economy.
This diploma project was presented by DU graduate Giorgio Quaranta in the final oral examination. This university diploma will be awarded by the CEIPI IP Business Academy together with the European Patent Office from the academic year 2023/2024:
Co-labelled University Diploma in IP Business Administration CEIPI/EPO – IP Business Academy
Dr. Giorgio Quaranta has 8 years of experience in the Optics & Photonics industry. He currently joins the R&D Team of SUSS MicroOptics, leading R&D innovation activities, serving as IP Coordinator, and being the Project Manager for key-customers. He holds the University Diploma of IPBA with CEIPI.
Here is his presentation of the diploma project: