The longstanding tug of war between IT and marketing is over. Now, the customer calls the shots. According to Acquia’s latest CX Trends Report, the majority of marketers today view the CMO as the driving force behind customer experience (CX) strategy. However, delivering these effective experiences is only possible when everyone across the enterprise adopts a customer-centric mindset.
For too long, marketing and IT leaders have worked on separate islands. Marketers were seen as the “dreamers,” responsible for building the brand and crafting memorable experiences for customers. Meanwhile, technical architects and developers were the “doers.” They were the problem solvers who took marketing recommendations and brought those dreams to life...sometimes. Other times, the IT team would lack the full context of the customer journey and end up re-doing one-off content updates and fixes over and over, introducing more technical debt and risk across the organization and taking valuable time and resources away from digital innovation.
Many brands affected by COVID-19 are grappling with reduced budgets or hiring freezes, and leaders can’t afford to waste time or money by failing to bring IT and marketing together or allowing them to work in silos. The responses to our survey emphasized the importance of aligning people, processes and technology toward the goal of a more agile and engaging customer experience.
We need to distribute the digital workload and empower our employees through integrated, flexible technology. Recently, Gartner published their “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021” and cited the importance of a unified “total experience (TX)” that “combines multiexperience, customer experience, employee experience and user experience to transform the business outcome.” As businesses adapt to new remote working conditions, employees are undergoing the same digital transformation as their customers. As we see reductions in headcounts and less spend on in-person events and advertising agencies, now is the time for brands to double-down on digital productivity by investing in technology that allows marketers, IT and developers to streamline their work, align toward common goals and do more with what they have. This change happens in three ways:
- Operate on the customer’s terms and let CX inform the direction of their workflow.
- Invest in smarter marketing technology that provides a direct line of sight into what customers want.
- Empower marketers to become citizen developers who can build applications through low code tools rather than rely on IT specialists.
Design Processes Around Customer Experience
CMOs need to lead the charge to unite their marketing and technical talent around a single customer experience vision. Technical architects should be brought into CX conversations earlier, so they can develop a deeper understanding of customer personas and audience. When IT can envision the entire customer journey from the user’s perspective, they can better prioritize things like navigation and accessibility, allowing the technology itself to become nearly invisible. When marketing files an IT ticket or requests a change to the site, they should point to how these efforts contribute to the greater aim of the brand’s customer experience. Establishing open and cross-disciplinary communication built around a central vision of improving the customer journey will allow organizations to break free of inefficient, redundant workflows and be more proactive in how they bring solutions to market.
Lean Into Data and Intuitive Technology
It’s unrealistic to expect all teams to develop a CX mindset if a company does not empower them with the right technology to support modern, agile experiences for both employees and customers. At our recent Acquia Engage conference, we heard from today’s global digital leaders that it’s critical to choose technologies that can adapt to the current state of customer behaviors.
With budgets shrinking or remaining stagnant across many industries, we’re seeing companies do away with complex technologies and processes that only a handful of programmers can understand. Acquia found that 43% of marketers today struggle with a lack of data scientists and data analysts on their teams. Another 40% believe they lack the necessary machine learning engineers to fulfill their needs.
Instead, digital leaders are investing more in marketer-friendly technology that expands access to customer insights across the entire enterprise. By democratizing access to customer data and leveraging marketing automation and analytics tools, businesses can reach the right customers faster and be confident that the experiences they deploy will create value.
Give Marketers Tools to Act as Citizen Developers
Empowering marketers to update and launch content quickly means no more waiting around to push updates through IT bottlenecks. This activation of non-professional technologists across an organization is often referred to as a citizen developer initiative. Enterprises create citizen developers by increasingly adopting fast-acting, low-code and no code tools that will enable non-programmers to create and launch new content quickly. As the pressure to digitally transform business operations ramps up, senior leadership should provide employees with the same frictionless technology experiences that they bring to their customers. For example, features like design templates, drag-and-drop functionality or WYSIWYG editing capabilities improve marketing productivity, so marketing teams can increase content volume and stay connected to customers across more channels. More importantly, by freeing up developers from tactical but important tasks like placing images or publishing blogs, IT leaders can dedicate their time to more meaningful, impactful improvements that propel digital transformation across the whole business.
To see how today's digital leaders can transform content operations through solutions that are both scalable and flexible, get our recent e-book: Enterprise-Ready and User-Friendly: The Best of Both Worlds in a CMS.