Marketing has undergone a major shift in recent years from brand building to relationship building, and the customer is now at the forefront of all marketing pursuits. Brands today compete on customer experience (CX) and look for ways to better connect with their customers on a personal, individual level. Good CX begins with a deep understanding of who your customers are as people, what they value, and what they hope to achieve. It also means delivering customized interactions to meet those needs in a relevant, easy-to-access way.
Brands know they need to get better at personalizing the way they engage with their customers. However, with so many new digital channels to use, many organizations are struggling to offer connected, contextual experiences at scale. Faced with both an expanding digital ecosystem and increasingly specific customer expectations, how can brands better identify how to deliver those highly personalized experiences their audiences look for?
Using Data to Guide the Digital Experience
Understanding customer data across all digital channels provides the framework for powerful digital experiences. As marketers work to manage and orchestrate this plethora of touchpoints into a cohesive customer journey, they depend on data to see how, why and when customers are interacting with their brands and how they can best influence those interactions. Getting this right requires businesses to have the data to build out robust customer profiles and take intelligent action at every step in the customer journey. Breaking this down further, a truly personalized journey depends on two key factors: Data collection and Taking action.
- Data collection: Every time a customer takes an action on your site (visits the website, downloads a whitepaper, clicks on a banner ad, etc.) you need to be able to capture and store this information.
- Taking action: Once you’ve formed a clear view of who your customer is from their data, marketers need to glean actionable insights from that information to deploy personalized digital experiences that drive the next step in the customer journey.
Coordinating and personalizing customer experiences across all channels requires the ability to eliminate data silos and unify customer data. Many brands struggle with their data collection due to frequent errors when manually entering data and difficulties migrating data from one system to another. Without a strong foundation for data management and storage, these organizations try to drive customer experiences with incomplete or inaccurate knowledge of their customers. This is where those frustrating customer moments arise that have 72% of consumers saying that they immediately move on after having a bad brand experience.
To be truly actionable, data needs to be consolidated in a single system of record, serving as a single source of truth for customer data. With so many existing marketing tools, companies have struggled to find a single solution that will accurately manage their digital experiences and keep up with new innovations. Connecting all sides of the customer journey depends on a digital experience platform that is open and flexible when integrating with all of the systems that house this data, from CRMs to sales-enablement tools to customer support databases. By building a digital experience stack on an open foundation, businesses can continue to adapt and refine the experiences they offer as they learn more about their customers over time.
Measuring the Impact of Digital Experience
We’ve established that customer experience is a holistic, continuous collection of touchpoints and moments between brands and their audiences. Getting it right means making customers feel understood and valued, as well as offering easy-to-navigate and enjoyable interactions throughout the customer journey. But if so much of customer experience depends on the individual’s personal perception of your brand, how can marketers know if their efforts are actually successful?
To prove the ROI of their CX strategy, marketers need full, regular visibility into all the interactions customers have across channels. Just as brands need to collect, store, analyze and use data to create a 360º view of the customer, they need to take the same steps to analyze and determine the impact of their own digital marketing initiatives. Through data capture and analytics tools, brands collect a wide range of metrics (clickthrough rates, website visits, event registrations, etc.) to track their digital marketing activities.
The true challenge is identifying which metrics are most important to business success and how optimizing marketing performance can improve those metrics. Just as with personalizing the customer experience, the answer is not attempting to leverage every available solution at once, but instead, seeking out flexible and open solutions. The power to pivot and take immediate action when new insights arise allows brands to offer truly personalized experiences and continue to develop relationships that make customers feel heard and eager to engage more.
For more on how to create and implement a data strategy to fuel digital experience management, download our e-book: How Data Drives the Digital Experience.