According to Gartner, 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. However, whilst 80% of companies believe that they are now delivering a ‘superior experience’, only 8% of their customers would agree (Closing the Delivery Gap, Bain & Co).
The truth is there’s a big gap between priorities and execution and clients are constantly coming to us with slight variations on a similar theme:
“How do I manage all my channels efficiently and effectively, creating a seamless experience and delivering content to the right people at the right time.”
With the pace of technological advance increasing and the time of acceptance of consumers decreasing, the multiplicity of new touchpoints created has provided both tremendous opportunity but also challenge for marketers. Whilst each touchpoint provides a new way to connect with customers and influence their decision journey, the task of connecting each micro experience to create one, seamless, macro customer journey remains the holy grail for many.
Not only do brands need to respond to their customers as they make decisions but they must proactively try to shape those decision journeys. They must blend content, technology and data in often unknown and immeasurable parts to create an elusive recipe for success. A constant question from our clients relates to how a modern organisation should be shaped to facilitate this kind of agility.
An Holistic Approach
In the past organisations were set up to deliver more traditional push marketing campaigns, often managed by fragmented marketing teams with IT hovering in the background. However, today’s connected customer journeys require a richness and completeness of experience, delivered with speed and simplicity that is simply not possible in a siloed organisation. The interactions are also two-way, so there needs to be a means of managing those interactions, analysing and refining them.
Today organisations must rethink their process and relationships, bringing marketing and IT together with a shared sense of purpose. Of course, everyone still has their own priorities, marketing are naturally more concerned with creativity and consistency, with data and content and how quickly that can be taken to market, whereas IT more often seek security, scalability, governance, stability and operational excellence. When aligned, this actually serves experience-led, consumer-driven marketing well. Marketing and IT are two sides of the same digital coin. IT provide the platform and enable the storytelling. Marketing tell the stories on well crafted and managed destinations across the platform.
From customer experience to author experience
For the authors of these stories and experiences - the marketing departments and their agencies - agility is the key to success. Freedom to react to situations, analyse and respond to data, stitch this together and then deploy relevant content in the right place at the right time requires planning, process and carefully crafted workflows. It requires a level of governance that ensures that nothing slips through the net. In truth, it is very difficult to deliver a great customer experience without a great author experience. This needs to be at least as rich and responsive as the experience the organisation wishes to create for its customers. So whilst much of the hype is about the customer experience, a huge amount of our time is spent freeing authors to deliver and publish rich, relevant content at the velocity that the connected customer demands.
Multiple digital touchpoints and properties require complex operational management. Businesses can’t achieve the agility that consumers demand across brands, markets and continents without the means to effectively manage - and then manage change. Underneath all the carefully crafted and well-designed consumer touchpoints sits a layer of integration that stitches these different experiences together to create the connected customer journey. This layer consists of a combination of toolsets, processes (workflows, governance, etc), content, asset management and data that are the foundations of the customer experience. The successful integration of these toolsets and processes within an organisation’s digital ecosystem is critical to the the on-going customer experience.
Ninety percent of an iceberg is typically submerged but supports everything that we experience of the iceberg above the surface. In a similar way, managing customer experiences is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a connected customer journey. Below the surface must lie a blended team of cross-discipline experts and agencies, collaborating to ensure that content, technology and data are aligned and that the right processes are in place to marry marketing freedom and agility with platform stability.
How collaborative is your organisation? What do you need to do to increase your agility and free your content creators to deliver exceptional customer journeys. Come and see us for a half-day eye-opener session. To find out more and book yourself in, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.