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3 Lessons for Creating a More Unified Customer Experience (CX)

We’re sharing key lessons from our research into marketer and consumer expectations around customer experience and privacy from our global CX report.

“We’re all in this together.” Last year, this statement became the universal motto of brands everywhere as people learned to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances brought on by the global pandemic. While after around the 50th time we heard these words they started to feel like a worn out cliche, the idea of togetherness and unity is incredibly important as we look ahead and start to craft a customer experience (CX) strategy for a post-pandemic landscape. 

Digital and physical experiences have been permanently intertwined. Many employers are now embracing remote work, kids are alternating between in-person and virtual schooling and hybrid events have become a popular way for companies to reach both in-person and online audiences simultaneously. As the world embraces more in-person interactions, things aren’t going to just go back to the way they were before. The great challenge for brands is how to reimagine their approach to customer experience by connecting every point of interaction, uniting all teams across the business and merging the trust gap between brands and consumers. 

To help marketers understand how to bring all these pieces together, Acquia surveyed 8,000 consumers and 800 marketers across Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Our research explored shifts in both marketer and consumer expectations around customer experience and privacy. Now we’re sharing key lessons we learned from this research in our global report: Deliver a Modern Digital CX: A Guide for Marketing Innovators.  

1. Create More Content Without Sacrificing Brand Consistency 

Content was the driving force of 2020 as brands amped up their digital communications to offer customers more educational materials, messages and video content. With live events, trade shows and physical storefronts unavailable, business leaders needed to stay engaged with their audience by expanding their content efforts to new channels and formats. And even as in-person channels reopen, the push for more content continues to grow.

Our CX Trends Report found that 49% of global marketers have created more content for customer engagement in 2021 compared to previous years to fulfill new customer behaviors. But as businesses introduce dozens of new content channels, devices and distribution strategies into the mix, maintaining brand consistency and a clear, overarching brand message becomes more challenging. 

The research shows that 80% of consumers expect brands to have a consistent message and appearance across all their digital platforms. Customers are more likely to trust a brand that they recognize and that has an established reputation and brand identity. But only 52% of marketers say their organization has prioritized consistent branding for customers in 2021. Without strong brand governance and oversight into all the content you’re publishing, the customer journey can become confusing and frustrating, sending your audience off to a competitor.  

For different teams, regions and business units to stay on the same page and put out a unified message, businesses should invest in technology that gives them a connected view of every touchpoint and allows them to manage content and data from an open and centralized platform. Ensuring everyone has real-time access to content and customer insights requires powerful data and content management capabilities. Our report found that 45% of global marketers cited digital asset management (DAM) as an important technology their organization adopted in the last 18 months. By uniting customer insights and digital experiences, brands can provide a consistent, valuable customer experience at any scale.    

2. Empower Marketer and Developer Collaboration with Low-Code Tools

Meeting the rising demand for new, more personalized content requires organizations to eliminate barriers between internal teams and take a holistic approach to creating digital experiences. Our survey found that 83% of marketers still struggle to create content that can be rapidly released across all their digital platforms. If businesses want to reach maximum efficiency and get new experiences to market faster, they need to use their teams to their full potential. 

Frequently, an organization’s workflow requires marketers to define what customers want and what content they need. Then, these content requests get passed off to IT to deliver the actual content experience. Today, 72% of marketers require help from technologists to create digital customer experiences. This heavy dependence on IT and developer resources means longer project timelines and less control over the final customer experience. Rather than waiting for developers to fulfill requests, modern marketers need tools that will put them in control of shaping the customer experience from end to end. 

The need to do more things faster has spawned a growing movement for businesses to embrace low-code/no-code tools. When marketers and other business users can craft and publish content with no coding knowledge, they can expedite campaign timelines and offer more innovative experiences. Elements like drag-and-drop components and libraries give marketers the freedom to create at will, giving developers valuable time back to work on large-scale innovation. With both marketers and developers working in parallel, every team contributes their maximum value. 

3. Bridge the Gap Between Customer Privacy and Personalization with First-Party Data 

One of the greatest points of disconnect our CX Trends Report revealed was in marketers’ and consumers’ perceptions of how organizations use individuals’ personal data. Publicized data breaches and scrutiny over Big Tech platforms have made consumers warier than ever of giving their personal data to companies. Of the marketers surveyed, 82% think their customers trust their company’s use of their personal data more this year compared to last. However, this optimistic view isn’t close to reality. Acquia’s report found that 40% of global consumers do not trust that brands will handle their personal data properly.  

Marketing teams need customer data to create personalized experiences, but customers want to have meaningful experiences with a brand before providing them with this information. This is the privacy and personalization paradox. 54% of global marketers found that increasing personalization efforts led to more engagement with consumers. So how can we bridge the customer trust gap? Our survey points to first-party data as the secret weapon that will keep companies successful in the long-term.

Our report found that nearly all marketers (a whopping 95%) say consent-led personalization strategies garner more trust from consumers. And 81% of consumers believe their data will be more private when web browsers phase out tracking cookies. Rather than view the decline of third-party cookies as a loss, see it as an opportunity to improve personalization efforts while establishing much stronger trust with your customers.

While the future of digital transformation is often unpredictable, the customer experiences your brand offers should feel seamless and trustworthy. Learn more about how today’s marketers are creating more unified customer experiences in our new global report, Deliver a Modern Digital CX: A Guide for Marketing Innovators

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