Customers want a connected experience. Right from the marketing messages they receive, through to interactions with a brand’s assets. While all companies want to offer that, they often find themselves scrabbling to ride the latest trends in customer-centricity without thoroughly scoping or investing.
There are so many channels to reach customers and so many competing strategies – it can be difficult for a brand to focus on a consistent message, or even have the ability to deliver the right message and experience, on a purely operational level.
Because people change, tastes change. Customers have greater expectations, and it’s a brand’s job to deliver impactful customer experience (CX) and enable the fluidity in a customer’s behaviour, attitudes and wants to translate into a relevant and adaptable CX framework.
The underlying data infrastructure and data strategy is often the root cause of this process being hindered. It needs to change.
Customer data, transactional business data and digital data is still available to brands – customers agree to share information in the hope that they benefit. But brands aren’t using this insight accordingly.
It’s something they needed to get right yesterday. According to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 73% of business leaders say that delivering a relevant and reliable customer experience is critical to their company’s overall business performance today; 93% agree that it would be two years from now.
But wanting and actually being able to deliver great CX is the reason for this chasm between the customer and digital.
The ability to traverse it has been made possible by the emergence of new marketing technologies in recent years. But, still, many brands rely on legacy systems. That’s not to say results can’t be achieved this way – it’s just they’re often clunky and time-consuming, draining brands’ abilities to work at pace and scale to create time-relevant, hyper-specific experiences. It limits a brand’s – and, in turn, its agency’s – ability to respond to shifting consumer behaviour and wider market trends.
Martech plugged into all relevant departments is a sure-fire rebuttal to this. Customers and data will be more easily linked, business operations will be optimised and CX will improve, no doubt. Seems easy, right?
Regardless of how advanced your setup is though, brands need to ask: how good is our customer data? Are we able to unlock clear insights to inform our strategy?
Brands and agencies must work together, understanding how to best operationalise this activity, leveraging data in intelligent ways to deliver relevant, effective CX that aligns with the customer journey as a whole.
Hopping the chasm between customer and digital to optimised CX doesn’t have to be one giant leap – it can be iterative. Smaller proofs of concept can be designed, to learn on the go, validating that the focus is on the right routes to growth. It spotlights the customer journey – the emotive context as to why they do and don’t do things. From that, data can be pulled. And from that, the gap can be bridged.
Ross Hawkes is senior data strategist at Oliver UK
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