Marketers Need To Walk In Their Customer’s Shoes

Marketers Need To Walk In Their Customer’s Shoes
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B&T chats with Cambell Holt (pictured above), chief customer officer at financial services company Mercer– Holt’s role is to design and deliver the capabilities required to win with future consumers. A recent Mercer project, the ‘customer transformation program’, focused on delivering a personalised and contextualised consumer experience. Find out how they did this using Salesforce Marketing Cloud solutions, while generating NPS scores that are 11 times better than the industry average.

To experience cross-channel customer journey yourself, click here to sign-up. 

Why did you consider customer journey as part of your business model?

At Mercer, we’re really focused on being an experiential financial services provider, rather than transactional. Many financial services, including super, have for decades delivered a customer experience that has felt very transactional. Consumers are becoming more and more conditioned to expect a much higher level of value and quality of experience than the transaction itself.

When we embarked on our own customer transformation we decided that we’d have to transform the sum of all experiences that customers would have with us over the course of our relationship. That meant redesigning and re-platforming every major customer facing platform we had, from digital platforms, insights and analytics systems, CRM, marketing automation, call centre infrastructure, and next best conversation technologies.

More importantly, we had to bring these new capabilities to bear in a meaningful way as it related to the way customers interacted with us. That’s where customer journeys come in, they’re the glue that holds all our retail and consumer capabilities as an organisation together in a way that creates maximum value for our customers and our firm.

Does campaign marketing have a role in the era of the customer? How do you see campaign marketing evolving in the new business landscape of customer centricity?

I think traditional campaign marketing features a lot less in future, even in acquisition. As more and more organisations embrace customer journeys as the benchmark for customer experience and marketing activity, they’ll be thinking less about batch and blast campaigning, or even on the distinction between acquisition and retention.

At Mercer, we’ve already transcended the traditional campaign role that marketing has held in our own business, and journeys are allowing us to leverage a much broader cross section of interactions between our organisation and our customers in pursuit of commercial objectives and creating great customer outcomes.

In the age of the customer, Marketing is CX, and CX is Marketing. Put simply I think ‘campaigning’ gets a lot more personal, and a lot more contextual (right message or intervention at the right time) than it’s ever been when you start using customer journeys. More and more real-time data points can be brought to the interactions and interventions that we can create for customers using marketing automation and customer journeys. That’s great for delivering customer value, and great for conversion.

What’s the key journeys that your organisation embark on? Why did you pick these journeys and how did you start designing them.

Key customer journeys include all the usual suspects – onboarding, cross-sell, up-sell, and retention. All our customer journeys are focused on promoting positive customer behaviours that create value for them first, and then value for our organisation. The best, most tightly defined and executed customer journey means nothing if you haven’t created a great outcome for the customer where they get value.

Outside of that we tend to focus on the customer journeys that can create the most value for our own business. We picked our onboarding journey for example because we know that we have less than three months to engage a new customer and drive them to the most important actions for themselves to ensure the best possible superannuation balance when they retire.

After that first three months their propensity to respond to traditional marketing campaigns or customer engagement activity drops to nearly zero. Traditional marketing just couldn’t physically get all the communications and tasks done with a customer within this timeframe – in a way that felt natural to our customers. Using journey’s, we’re easily and seamlessly (in terms of custom effort and bandwidth) able to get the actions completed.

What technology are you using to help build customer journeys. Any lesson learnt?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is now deeply embedded across our business, and controls most of our customer journeys.

Lots of lessons learnt including:

  • There’s a lot talk about big data and its ability to help marketing produce great insight. We’ve found that small data done fast is a much better way to get started with customer journeys. Pick just one data point that you already have on a customer and start designing a journey from that. It can be as simple as a customer having a birthday, and go from there.
  • Most organisations, including ourselves, start out with relatively low levels of maturity in the marketing automation space. Make sure you’re working with the right implementation partner to help you get traction quickly and avoid some of the mistakes that implementation partners and consultants see a lot of.
  • Never, ever try to automate a customer journey or campaign that you don’t fully understand or aren’t able to properly map through your business. A lot of the most expensive failures with technology enabled customer journeys and marketing automation that I’ve seen have been where people have thought that throwing automation at a business problem was the answer. If you don’t understand the issue or the challenge, don’t throw technology at it.

What is the next big phase of your marketing strategy and why?

We’re focused on continuing to leverage marketing automation into more and more parts of our enterprise. The next big phase of our marketing and CX strategy involves bending the rest of our organisation around individual customers using journeys. Marketers have traditionally focused on the front end of a business – acquisition, getting customers in and keeping them.

But very often marketers have had little control over the experience of existing customers. Operations environments, the ‘back office’ have largely been responsible for customers’ experiences once they’ve been acquired in the financial services industry, and often these are some of the experiences most neglected by CX and marketing professionals.

Marketing automation technology and customer journeys flow all the way through our business in the next phase of our strategy and will help us to produce unique, personalised, contextualised experiences for customers from cradle to grave as it were. The other component of the next phase of our strategy is to bring data points and events that are happening quite remotely in our customers lives such as social media and digital consumption, and then using those activities in a customer’s life as data points in our own organisations customer journey’s.

We’re really excited about the potential of technologies such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud Advertising Studio in this regard. We’re delivering ROI’s of up to 4000 per cent now. We’re 1400 per cent better in some cases at influencing consumer behaviour. We’re generating NPS scores that are 11 times better than the industry average.

To experience cross-channel customer journey yourself, click here to sign-up. 

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