At the Intersection of Customer Experience and Marketing

Dan Gingiss is an accomplished marketer. His career marketing experience includes roles at Discover Card, McDonald’s, and Humana. The common thread among those experiences for Dan is learning that when an experience is remarkable, a customer tells others about the experience with enthusiasm, which is the holy grail of marketing. Dan’s book, The Experience Maker – How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share explains how to achieve this through his WISE method, which is what this episode is all about.

A Lesson in Customer Experience from Delivering Pizza to Michael Jordan

Dan tells the story that, when he was in high school, he delivered pizza for Dominos in the Chicago area. One day, he was sent to deliver pizza to one of America’s most well-known professional basketball players, Michael Jordan. Dan was super excited and contemplated how he’d ask for an autograph. But Dan was warned – his fellow delivery drivers told him that he’d have to choose. Dan could ask Michael Jordan for an autograph, which he would receive, but not a tip. On the other hand, Dan could forgo asking for an autograph, and in that case, the basketball star would reward this choice with a generous tip.

When Michael Jordan answered the door himself, he was busy looking around, seemingly concerned about the paparazzi. Dan decided in the moment that he would respect Jordan’s privacy and NOT ask for an autograph. That was a good decision. Dan received a good tip, but more importantly, he learned a lesson in understanding a customer’s need in the moment to deliver a great customer experience.

Marketing and Customer Experience Go Together

Dan draws on his corporate marketing experience. He views himself as being at the intersection of customer experience and marketing. He says that good marketing is the promise made to the customer about the experience they can expect when they do business with us. It communicates how the customer will feel when they buy our products or services. Marketing campaigns are often the first experience a consumer has with a brand. He says that the customer experience has already begun even before the customer has become a customer. 

The WISE Method

Chapter four is titled “Becoming WISE.” This acronym stands for: Witty, Immersive, Shareable, and Extraordinary. Dan points out that a remarkable customer experience doesn’t require each of these elements. His book describes each one with many examples. Let’s dive into each.

Witty. It simply means being clever or using language in a clever way. It doesn’t require a brand to be funny. It means, don’t be boring. Each communication channel is an opportunity to create an experience by showing the brand’s personality. One example from the book is a magazine issued by the State of Nebraska. In one issue, the cover image showed a family rowing down a river in a metal tub. That itself is eye-catching. The tagline is what hooked Dan. It read: It’s not for everyone. This tagline is witty and attention-grabbing because it inspires the reader to want to know more.

Immersive. An immersive experience gets customers to have an emotional reaction to an experience. An example from the book is a bar in Louisville, KY, that serves a drink called the Old Fashion Experience. It’s a glass with an ice cube containing the ingredients of the Old Fashion, but the key difference here is that the ingredients are frozen into an ice cube. The drink is served with a side of whiskey. The idea is that you pour the whiskey over the ice ball, and as the ice melts, the drink formulates in front of you, creating an immersive experience.

Shareable. Customers generally don’t share an experience if you ask them to. But, when a brand creates an experience with a remarkable moment worth sharing, that’s when it happens. The example from the book Dan shares is a liquor tasting event with a pop-up tent and an elaborate garnish bar with many toppings. After the customer creates their drink with the toppings of their choice, the company provides a card and a clip so customers can name their concoction. Without asking, people often take a selfie picture of that moment with their specially-named cocktail.

Extraordinary. This just means being a little bit better than ordinary, or as Dan says, being more than “meh.” The example from the book he shares is a hotel experience. Pre COVID, he was on a business trip, and he awoke in the middle of the night in his hotel room to use the bathroom. When his feet touched the floor, a motion-activated light illuminated his path to the bathroom. Dan was more than impressed with the usefulness of this treatment when upon further inspection, he learned that the illumination is created with a simple and inexpensive stick-on light. This extraordinary experience was a game-changer for Dan’s experience at this travel and hospitality brand.

Responsive. Dan points out that once you learn the WISE method, it’s important to become WISER. That’s where the R comes in — it stands for responsive. When a customer has an experience they share with others on social media, brands should be responsive. Customers want to have a relationship with brands. They want you to acknowledge and respond to them when you post about their experience. Being responsive doesn’t just show appreciation, it has the potential to convert a brand detractor into a brand advocate.

Dan’s book is easy to read, inspiring, and I would even suggest a bit entertaining. You can get your copy of The Experience Maker at

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