Squiz’s Global Marketing Director, Robin Marchant, outlines how customer experience fits into and can support business strategies to drive tangible business outcomes.
Marketing budgets will continue to steadily rise in 2017, according to Gartner, but the question remains around whether marketers are best equipped to use these growing budget to effectively engage, maintain and grow customer loyalty.
If this was to be judged by the CMO Council, who recently found a mere six per cent of marketers have fully aligned and integrated digital and physical customer touchpoints and experiences, the answer would assumedly be a resounding ‘no’.
While a further 42 per cent are planning to better integrate campaigns into a comprehensive and connected customer experience, this should really be a goal of every marketer – no exceptions.
The significant lack of marketers who are already or are planning to prioritise and implement integrated communications strategies should be concerning to all business leaders. When done right, integrated marketing technology platforms and processes can provide a ‘single view of the customer’, opening doors for new revenue streams and lead generation tactics.
It is the business that can create and harness these capabilities that will be unstoppable in 2017. However, this journey needs to start with recognising what the hurdles are, and how to portray the importance of customer journeys beyond marketing jargon.
A siloed marketing tool leads to half-baked customer journey maps
Understanding the end-to-end customer journey enables businesses to pinpoint their exact target customer, what stage that customer is at in their buying cycle, and how to best interact with that customer to influence their behaviour.
Unfortunately, if your content management system (CMS), marketing automation system, customer relationship management (CRM) system, or search tools are functioning disparately from each other, there are significant gaps in the customer journey that your marketing team are undoubtedly missing.
For example, imagine a customer heard of a retail brand from a friend, jumped on their website to browse their clothing selection, and searched for a dress that was out of stock, but then returned to the website a week later looking for the same dress.
How targeted could the next email, instant chat, or even in-person interaction with that customer be if they had all of this data at their fingertips? Compare that with the same brand who may only have insight into the data highlighting the customer had visited and left the site once.
It’s night and day.
The insights that the marketing team can draw from the former scenario could instantly and effectively impact marketing strategies to ensure the next interaction between that customer and the brand is highly personalised and results in a sale.
Not only does this clearly benefit the business financially, but the customer is then more likely to become a repeat customer and generate future sales, as well as become a genuine fan of the brand and contribute to its growing brand awareness.
Predictability of experiences will drive more than sales
An integrated customer experience and single view of the customer provides marketers with opportunities to analyse historical data, and use it to their strategic advantage.
In the aforementioned example, sending the customer an email when the dress that they were viewing becomes in stock is one way to ‘predict’ how to best drive a sale from that individual. But several hours of internet browsing data, combined with weeks of email interaction data (e.g. open and click-through rates), could take this a step further.
Instead of assuming the customer will instantly react to an email notification, by analysing what other channels they are using, from email to social media and everything in-between, marketers can optimise the time, resources, and money spent on their next ‘customer touchpoint’.
For example, if that consumer is a regular reader of the brand’s email newsletters on the weekends but not during the week, sending the dress stock notification on a weekend will provide a personalised and targeted experience without the customer needing to opt into anything new.
On a mass-scale, when dealing with hundreds or thousands of such customers, automating processes can ensure these time and cost efficiencies are optimised on a minute-by-minute basis. This will not only improve sales, but also lead to higher customer loyalty.
Looking at the year that’s passed, we’ve seen organisations from Uber to The Iconic and Netflix capitalise on the hunger for personalised experiences that consumers are demanding.
In 2017, it’s clear that brands who haven’t already started prioritising CX have ground to make up for against competitors already – but it’s not too late to get ahead.
Marketers and business leaders that recognise and prioritise gaining a ‘single view of the customer’ and delivering integrated customer experiences will be able to leap ahead of existing and upcoming competitors, and maintain longer-lasting customer loyalty.