Written by: Larry Goodfellow
Customer Experience is the Future
The Path to 2020: Marketers Seize the Customer Experience was an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by Marketo. The report looked at a global survey of 499 CMOs and senior marketing executives from around the world, as well as in-depth interviews. The research examined which technologies and customer trends are expected to change the marketing industry the most in the coming years. The report found that 86% of marketers identified the end-to-end customer experience as being their prime goal by 2020, meaning that they will become responsible for the entire customer journey. It goes on to cite the CMO at Marketo, Sanjay Dholakia, who thinks that the successful CMO will go on to earn an alternate title as CEO-but not chief executive officer- instead customer experience officer. The report goes through the checklist of owning the customer experience, from staying on top of multi channels, learning to understand the customer along the customer journey, spreading information within a company rather than in silos, and understanding the ways in which customers expect to communicate. We believe that in the goals mentioned for understanding the customer comes the need for using market research online communities.
The Multi-Channel Struggle
The challenge for executives has been how to deal with the growing complexities of a growing number of channels. The growing number of channels requires technology platforms within a company to feed into a central database so that customer services can access this information either in the store, on the phone, in chats, or in-store ordering. The study also found that “Mobile devices and networks, at 59%; personalization technologies, at 45%; and Internet of things (IoT), at 39%; are the three technology-specific trends that will have the biggest impact on marketing organizations in the coming years. With these multi channels, marketing leaders are now having to figure out ways to obtain a single, best understanding of the customer, and his or her context so that they can engage with them in personalized conversations over a variety of channels, locations and physical objects, at scale.
The current system within organizations sees data being collected and remaining in silos, but this is expected to change. The growing demand of customer experience and personalization will see this change and allow companies to interact directly with their customers, decreasing the reliance on traditional means of media and advertising, which are being seen as being less and less effective.
The report highlights how customers are coming to react less and less to mass advertising, creating the need for companies to focus more on personalization and the overall customer experience. The challenge to handle this complexity becomes staggering. What used to involve creating a well-crafted one sided conversation has now become a two way conversation with each and every customer. Not only does a company have to now converse with each and every customer but they have to remember each customer and be able to communicate with them through multiple platforms. The report states, “More than half of respondents believe the accelerating pace of technology change, mobile lifestyles and an explosion of potential marketing channels via connected objects will change marketing the most by 2020.”
Speaking to the growing complexities of marketing, Jonathan Martin, CMO of Pure Storage, states that gone are the days when the CMO was the chief megaphone officer. He states, “Today, the primary task of CMO’s is to deeply understand customer buying behaviour and intent; deeply understand the context of where someone is in their decision journey; be able to predict what they’re most likely primed to do next; and be ready to influence them at the right moment.” Companies need to gather information about their customers and then create the most accurate understanding of who they are and what they are looking for. We believe that mobile optimized communities are a great way to listen and be apart of the customer conversation.
The Future of Marketing
The future of marketing has to do with the personalized customer experience. We believe that MROCs are going to be one of the major tools used to solve the challenges posed in the report by Marketo. Not only can online communities allow a channel for customers to be able to converse with your brand, you can also come to understand past history of your customers and be able to predict future trends in the customer journey. The report also talked about co-creation being a key tool in creating products with the customer in mind, and we can’t think of a better way to co-create with customers than through the online community.
If you would like to talk more about ways online communities can help in addressing some of the challenges expressed in the article, please feel free to contact us.