do we ditch digital?

Embrace the Experience Age to Thrive

For years, the global marketing industry has been obsessed with digital. Pixels, clicks, and impressions reigned supreme as brands raced to conquer the ever-expanding online landscape. But recently, we’ve noticed a hyper-fixation on the digital-first world. As it turns out, digital is proving less effective by the minute; particularly with Gen Z, who currently make up 86 million Americans. They’ve got a very low tolerance for anything dated or slow, and more importantly, have a constant yearning for something more profound: an experience.

Outside of Gen Z, we’ve witnessed a steady decline in satisfaction for purely digital interactions from all consumers — people crave authentic connections. They want IRL moments that resonate, leave a lasting impression, and bring them back for more. They want to feel, not just click. Connect, not just follow.


An Insider’s Look

According to an article by YouGov¹, reports of “good” or “positive” digital experiences are down significantly over the last year. For example:

  • Only 43% of consumers think banks offer a “good” digital experience 
    • Down from 46% in 2022 
    • Even steeper in USA: went from 45% to 31% from 2022 to 2023
  • Only 22% of consumers think beauty retailers have a good digital experience 
    • Down from 30% in 2022
  • Only 32% think streaming companies offer a good digital experience 
    • Down from 34% in 2022 

Why the Decline?

1.The journey is complicated and doesn’t make sense. 

Consumers interact with brands across multiple channels, both online and offline. Complex and fragmented consumer journeys frustrate eager Gen Zs, leaving brands vulnerable to quick bounce rates and low returns. The Accenture 2023 Global Consumer Pulse Survey ³ found that 88% of Gen Z users will abandon a website after one bad experience. 


2.The information is not curated or relevant. 

Consumers are constantly bombarded with information from all directions. In the US, the average adult is exposed to over 5,000 ads per day, according to the American Psychological Association². It’s crucial to skip the fluff so you don’t become part of the problem.  


3.The experience is difficult to navigate. 

Consumers should be able to locate what they came for without friction, and complete tasks seamlessly. A poorly designed customer experience can lead to a lack in brand equity. This includes things like lack of mobile-friendliness, slow load times, and difficulty searching for information or products. 

Connections That Count

The solution? Experience-led marketing. It’s an approach that creates those meaningful and memorable experiences your consumers crave, rather than simply pushing products or services. It requires evolving beyond traditional marketing channels in order to develop touchpoints that engage customers exactly how they want to be engaged like a human.  


Now, we could never advocate for abandoning digital altogether we give credit where it’s due. And there’s no denying our history with embracing new strategies, especially digital. Back in 1995, we established a dedicated digital group within our agency and have continuously remained at the forefront of digital innovation for nearly three decades. 

However, we do suggest a shift in focus to use digital as a tool to amplify and enhance real-world experiences, when applicable. It’s about creating a holistic brand narrative that extends far beyond the screen, weaving together touchpoints that evoke human emotions and forge lasting bonds with your audience.
It’s time to reconceptualize the role of digital from a standalone platform to a powerful tool that amplifies and enhances real-world experiences. 

And as an agency obsessed with people, we’ve already been implementing experience led strategies in our work.  

Picture this…

  • Instead of a generic video ad, you create an immersive pop-up event that transports your audience to the heart of your brand story. Think sensory-rich environments, interactive challenges that communicate your values, and opportunities for real connection.


  • Ditch the static image and embrace the dynamic power of interactive experiences. Imagine engaging your followers in a real-time social media campaign that amplifies community, encourages creativity, and deeply embeds your brand’s mission. 


Both experiences can tie back to your digital offerings, encouraging transactions, subscriptions, follows, engagements, and ultimately, a full-circle digital experience. 

The possibilities are endless.  

We believe in keeping experiences at the foundation of everything we do. An experience-led approach isn’t just another marketing phrase or phase, but a fundamental shift in the way you can reach your audience. Consumers want more, and we can help you get there. 

We’re dedicated to helping you craft culture-focused and future-forward strategies to develop innovative experiences that cut through the digital noise and captivate consumers and keep them craving more. 

Top Methods for Implementation

Customer Experience Journey Mapping

We deploy experience-led strategies to address a complicated consumer journey and create a more seamless and customer-focused process. Our CE/CX Department uses our proprietary Customer Experience Journey Mapping tool to become fully emerged in the consumer experience and understand the entire journey. It’s an essential step in the process to uncover areas that could use improvement or optimization.  


User-Centric Solutions  

We make it our mission to craft solutions around the customer experience, creating relevant and relatable content that ignites action. This philosophy is brought to life through a powerful combination of The Exchange, our influencer marketing arm, and StoryWorks, our dedicated content creation department. Used together or separately, these exclusive services help us achieve our ultimate goal: propel brands forward into the experience age. 


The Art of Ongoing Optimization 

Constant oversight of online channels helps to create a customer experience that is more user-friendly and efficient. We deploy the expertise of our CE Digital team to develop web presences and digital experiences that are easy to use, understand, and navigate, resulting in positive brand interactions for our clients.   


These are just a few examples of how graduating into the experience-age can revolutionize your entire brand portfolio. By shifting your focus from fleeting digital interactions to meaningful, immersive experiences, you can: 

  • Build stronger and more authentic relationships with your audience 
  • Increase brand loyalty and equity 
  • Drive more meaningful conversions and boost sales 
  • Stand out from the competition in any marketplace 


CE is passionate about helping brands embrace the power of experience. We believe that it’s the future of marketing, and we’re committed to crafting cutting-edge strategies that help you create unforgettable experiences for your audience. 


Let’s get in touch and make moves this new year. 
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