Consumer expectations always seem to be expanding. Brands that want to add offline customer experiences (CX) must find ways to raise the bar to create the type of memorable experiences that
have customers returning again and again.
Bouncing through that challenge and creating a best practices approach for other brands to follow, Sky Zone knows how to help its
franchise owners offer the best experiences possible.
Sky Zone is a global chain of indoor family entertainment centers focused on connected trampolines.
I spoke to Josh Cole, CMO of Skyzone, to find out more about how he has leveraged his background with Universal Studios to guide franchise owners on the GX (guest experience) process versus CX.
Addressing Ever-Changing Expectations
Cole noted that a primary challenge has been addressing constantly changing consumer expectations about entertainment experiences. “We must -- and will -- keep evolving to stay relevant, loved, and at the forefront of the active entertainment industry.”
philosophy that drives the marketing strategy the company plans to implement across numerous channels this year. “To showcase the Sky Zone experience with new audiences, we are seeking to
partner with leading brands across other complementary industries. For example, we recently announced a brand partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines,” he said.
CX vs. GX: Which Matters More?
Instead of using the term customer experience, Cole explained its brand language and focus is on the guest experience. “We are in the business of entertaining people, and that means the seemingly little things, such as the friendliness of team members, play an outsized role in generating repeat business and positive word of mouth.”
Both CX and GX are equally important to the brands that use each term -- as is how those are measured to ensure the tactics being deployed are effective.
Sky Zone has a specific way of measuring its GX. “One is by asking a sample of guests each day to provide post-visit survey feedback," said Cole. "This allows us to track overall satisfaction on both a network-wide and park-by-park basis. We can see which elements of the guest experience are most important to driving high overall satisfaction.”
In order to optimize the benefits of such GX insights, the Sky Zone corporate team must effectively communicate satisfaction survey results as well as other guest research to the franchise partner network. “In return, it's easy for our park teams to understand what leads to high GX. Also, we must provide tools and training to help the franchise network execute against these priorities,” Cole added.
Leveraging Other Entertainment Experience
Prior to joining Sky Zone, Cole was vice president, marketing and ecommerce,
for Universal Studios Hollywood. In that role, Cole led digital marketing, advertising, and social media.
Now, he is putting that experience to work for Sky Zone. For
example, Cole is using highly targeted digital advertising and compelling digital content to get the message in front of the right audience.
“Also, Universal is very savvy at generating publicity to launch new attractions and events,” he said. “I definitely benefited from being involved in Universal's PR initiatives and have tried my best to apply those learnings to how we keep Sky Zone's brand at the forefront of its industry.”
In looking at the alignment in these two roles, Cole noted, “In both cases, marketing must effectively highlight a real-world, entertainment experience in a compelling way that motivates the target market to get in their car (or an airplane, in the case of Universal) to spend leisure time at the given venue in the name of fun. Also, it’s up to marketing to make the real-world experience come alive in a way that makes viewers think they would love to do that with their friends or family.”