There is a new kind of customer empowered by smartphones, social, and who now have changing expectations of a brand’s role in their lives. Salesforce’s Lee Hawksley, senior vice president and general manager of the Marketing Cloud in the Japan and Asia Pacific region, explains what the ‘age of the customer’ means for brands, the shifting expectations of customers and its Journey Builder tool.
For Hawksley and the Salesforce team, the age of the customer means the consumer should be at the centre of everything a brand does. “The age of the customer is a call to arms and an observation of a trend of leading companies that are putting customers right in the middle of everything they do,” Hawksley explains.
It means customers want their online experience to be seamlessly integrated with their offline experience, with no gap between the various modes of communicating with a brand. But, we hear you ask, hasn’t the customer always been at the centre?
“Yes, the CMO and marketing departments have always been acutely focused on customers and what they mean to a business. But what’s changing is the lines are blurring between all of the different touch points an organisation has with a customer.
“We’ve seen for some time now that great service and great customer experience in and of itself becomes great marketing, and great marketing amplifies customer experience. I think what’s happening now is marketing responsibilities to customer experience is extending beyond traditional marketing disciplines and activities to include way more than just great marketing.”
This means the customer no longer sees a brand in several different lenses; what the offline experience is like, what the online experience is like, what the customer service team is like, what the sales interface is like. What they see, and what they demand, is a unified consistent experience, no matter how they communicate with a brand.
“What we’re hearing and seeing from customers is they don’t want to be treated as a number. They want the brand to know and respect who they are, to some extent anticipate and predict what their needs are going to be in the future and have a highly personalised experience with those brands.
“We’re seeing that emerge a lot over the past few years with digital experiences largely driven by smart marketers armed with great technology platforms. But I think where the challenge for a lot of brands is how do they bring together these physical interactions (like retail? What can a retailer do to make the experience in-store as rich and engaging as it is online?”
And it’s this very concept that Salesforce so strongly stands behind, something that can be seen underpinning its tool Journey Builder that works to make sure marketers understand this shifting importance. With Journey Builder any journey is possible; visit “Any Journey is Possible Microsite” and take a walk in your customer’s shoes and experience the power of cross-channel communication and cross-channel marketing.