Make the buying experience seamless and make the experience as important, if not more so, than the actual product and you’ll go a long way to winning the modern day marketing battle says Derek Laney, head of product marketing at tech marketing firm Salesforce.
Laney agreed that modern marketers are often bewildered by the array of options today and can be equally dumbfounded by the technology on offer. However, he said those marketers who focused on things from a customer’s point of view, who understood the customer’s journey, were better placed than those whose mentality is “what can I do for you?”
He agreed that the digital shopping experience was an entirely different beast to the ‘bricks and mortar’ one and believed retailers who were doing the latter well had shifted their thinking from simply being about product to the entire shopping experience. “The experience is now the thing you sell and not necessarily the thing that you ship out the front door or from your warehouse,” he said.
The whole idea of marketing, Laney argued, had shifted from understanding the “persona of a typical customer”. Rather, today, it was all about understanding “every customer, to get to a one-on-one relationship”.
And data was the way to get you there. “Data helps you make those intelligent decisions about what is the right channel, and the right time and the right message. Data is there to inform the marketer but you still have to have a creative message and help to deliver something that is interesting and exciting; but data is starting to inform that process.”
Laney didn’t agree with the idea that the old-fashioned marketing way was dead and the only marketers who’ll survive in this brave new world will be data-centric.
“There’s definitely a frenzy of activity in the tech space at the moment but I feel the focus needs to be on the customer experience end-to-end and not on any particular piece of technology,” he said.
However, when it came to technology – or technologies that are working in the marketing space – Laney said it was all about making the experience effortless for the customer.
“It’s all about the customer experience; the reduction of effort. When I think about the cost benefit a customer has with a business it’s all about the great experiences I’m getting from you? Is it an easy checkout? Is it after 12 months you’re offering me the new, updated model? Is it the transactional communications you’re having with me are helping me and guiding me through the process? It’s that effortless experience that brands are trying to create and that’s the type of experience that builds customer loyalty,” he said.