Episode #45: Merry CXmas, and Happy Holidays!

Grad Conn

December 25, 202010 min read

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There’s a temporal component of holidays. That’s why so many people love Christmas music and decorations on December 25th, but not on October 30th. It’s all about timing. The same can be said for your customer experiences. In this special holiday episode we look at the magic of Christmas, and how we can apply that to your customer journeys. Happy holidays, everyone!

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Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas. It’s the CXM Experience and I’m Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr, where we put the experience in CXM. So great morning, everybody. I’m glad you’re all listening to podcasts on Christmas Day. Get back out there and open your presents. So I really wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I want to talk about one thing which I think is an interesting part of this whole experience and just the way that time works sometimes when there’s a special event. And so I want to talk a little bit about Christmas songs and want to talk a little bit about Christmas movies. So we’ll do that in a minute or two.

But before I get there, you know, this is always a great day. Some of my greatest memories are Christmas Day. I remember one of my favorite memories is my oldest daughter. I have two daughters and I love them equally. But this particular memory is my oldest daughter. And it was actually Christmas Eve, but she was very young, so she would probably be two. And she was in her footie pajamas. And very excited about Santa… was smart enough and old enough to understand Santa. And we had a chimney and a real fireplace in this home. It was beautiful home. Was built in the mid 30s in Toronto, and it was all rosewood and all natural rosewood, none of had been painted or anything. So it was a gorgeous home. And with this gorgeous mantelpiece fireplace. It was all kind of art deco and carved and then had this concrete insert that was from the time as well. And I had fires in there all the time. And we explained to her that Santa would be coming down the chimney, and we’d hung the stockings by the chimney with care. And I remember her going… it was like a Norman Rockwell painting. I remember her going to the chimney, and leaning over and looking up to sort of see how Santa would come down. And it’s so funny. It’s such a vivid image, even though it’s just a memory. We didn’t have cameras or anything out. It just happened in a flash. But it’s such a vivid memory. It’s like it’s a painting or photograph. It’s like something I look at every day. But it’s not just sits there. But I’ll always remember that moment of pure childlike innocence and curiosity combined with a little toddler and a pink hoodie footie looking up the chimney. It’s amazing.

So this day is always full of great memories. One of my other favorite memories is actually a photograph. One of my, I guess my favorite pieces of art is a picture of my youngest daughter, so this is the other daughter now. Again on Christmas Day, and this would be probably about four years later. So she’s two at this point, and she’s opening presents. And there’s this flurry of presents. And when I took the photo, the camera jarred. And I took another one, took another one. When I got, when I looked at the photos, I realized I had this amazing, blurred image where you could see her but it was just this kind of contrast of colors, and explosion of sight and sound almost. It had this beautiful way of representing the flurry of the moment. And so I actually had that blown up quite large and printed out on canvas and turned into a painting which, to this day, hung in my room.

So that’s all these great Christmas time memories. It’s all about opening presents and kids and then the cookies you bake and all the different things you are part of and the traditions that you enjoy as a family. It’s all fantastic. And just embrace that. This is going to be a weird year. It’s a weird year for everybody. I got stuck in Florida accidentally. You know, it’s a long story. But we had a whole Christmas planned in New York. It’s all sitting there waiting to be opened. We’re not going to be there. We’re here in Florida, still having a good time. Put up a big seven and a half foot pink Christmas tree covered in gold balls. It looks amazing. And we’ve got Grinch decorations on the front lawn and lights on the house. So it’s all good. It’s all festive. But not exactly what we thought we’d be doing and not the things I thought I’d be doing.

Now there are a couple things that you do a lot of this time of year, and it’s all about the way experience lands. And where I want to relate this to experiences, is that experience is also very temporal. Like certain things are appropriate at certain times. And so think about Christmas music. So there’s the holly channel, 105 on Sirius XM. So i listen to that constantly in the car and listen to Christmas music on Alexa constantly over the last month. It’s been Michael Bublé and all the usual Christmas music. And it’s so wonderful and it’s so appropriate. It’s just such a great way to really sink into the holiday.

Until tomorrow. Many of these stations actually go off the air tomorrow, but it will seem super weird tomorrow. And it’s funny how… maybe a couple of songs, but it’s just… and there’s no real great Boxing Day song tradition if you’re if you’re Canadian or British. But suddenly, Christmas music seems really like, No. Now maybe in July, there’s this Christmas in July thing that Hallmark has been doing that six months from now, we’re kind of like Christmas is a long time in the past and still feels like as long time in the future. Christmas in July is gaining popularity, it’s kind of fun. But Christmas in late December just doesn’t feel right. It’s the end of the year, it’s when you reflect on the New Year, it’s when you reflect on the year that’s passed. Christmas is over.

The other things are Christmas movies. I’ve actually done a better job on Christmas movies this year than I’ve done in years. And classically, I have a whole plan of all the movies I’m going to watch, I never see any of them. And then suddenly, it’s after Christmas, and it just feels like sad. I remember one time I saw Home Alone in the theater, but I saw it in January. It just was the most depressing thing. That movie did not land for me. Took me years to love Home Alone, because I saw it at the wrong time. So this year, I did see a new movie called Arthur Christmas. I don’t know if you’ve seen Arthur Christmas, but it’s a brilliant piece of animation on how the modern Santa Claus makes sure all the presents get delivered on time. If you haven’t seen it, you got to watch it. It’s absolutely fabulous. But I’ve been able to see Scrooged and Holiday Inn, White Christmas, and The Holiday. That’s a great one. And Love Actually is coming, that’ll be tonight. But just to have a chance to really… Miracle on 34th Street is going to be Christmas Eve. So that’s the corpus of movies that you want to see. But it’s interesting how hard it will be to watch them the last week of December.

And it’s so funny because you’re often so busy leading up to Christmas that you don’t sometimes get a chance to actually see the movies. So it’s like this odd conundrum. I do think that Hallmark’s done an amazing job of creating this Christmas culture. And they’ve done an incredible job of creating Hallmark as a destination. And they’ve got this really great zone now where you basically go to Hallmark, dial it up, turn it on and let it run. Just let some Christmas stuff run in the background. You may not even see the whole movie, you don’t even need to see the whole movie. Actually, the plots are pretty straightforward. But it’s there in the background to create that.

And so where it comes to CXM is that the point is, this radical transformation that occurs, where something is so deeply appreciated, and so wonderful one day, and so inappropriate the next day. Think about that in your own customer experiences. What’s the temporal moments in your customer journey? What’s the right time to make suggestions on new things to buy? What’s the right time to make suggestions on things to add? What’s the right time to talk to your customers, not talk to your customers? I do think that the temporal component of how we deliver experience is often not reflected or thought through. If you think about most marketing automation journeys, they actually follow a path that is next step, next step, next step, without any necessarily regard to time. And so look at the inappropriate emails you’ll get at this time of year on Christmas Day. You’ll be getting emails about things that you’re not going to really read. Because they’re trigger events that are firing without necessarily thinking about the day they’re firing them on.

And I’ve talked about this before I have this hobbyhorse, which is, every day is a day, right? So every day is like… today’s national snowflake day, or today’s national red is blue day or whatever. Or this is the month, this is whatever kind of month it is, or this is the year of… right? So there’s always some kind of moment that humans are creating. And if you layer them all, there’s hundreds of days probably per day and many, many months per month. But you could leverage that. Marketers could use the moments that are been created, and then use the likes that we now know from modern channels and more tightly link a temporal component and experience to the message that they’re pitching. I think it would be more effective.

So let me bring it back to Christmas. I’m geeking out on the marketing stuff for a second. But back to Christmas. So Merry Christmas, everybody. I will be back for Boxing Day. But Merry Christmas, have a wonderful day. Enjoy your Christmas meal, whatever that happens to be. Make sure that we let the Grinch carve the roast beast, and have a wonderful and happy holiday. For the CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn, and I’ll see you next time.

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