By Richard Mullins, managing director at Acceleration Middle East & Africa
One of the great benefits that digital media has brought to marketers is its measurability—we can use data and analytics tools to gain accurate insight into how well our marketing investments are performing and optimise in response. However, all too many marketers are focusing on the pre-sales and acquisition legs of the customer journey to the exclusion of the longer-term customer relationship.
Many brands focus heavily on creating content, engagements and experiences that close sales, without thinking about how they can use digital channels to keep customers engaged and satisfied for the duration of their lifecycle with the brand. There is an obsession with immediacy and short-term return on investment and little focus on the customer’s journey with the brand once the sale is concluded.
The marketing strategy should look at the entire journey. The first sale should simply be the first step in a profitable relationship with the customer. The customer experience should be about building a brand value for the long-term, in turn helping to ensure cross- and up-selling, customer retention and brand advocacy. This means that we need to start thinking about customer experience in a more holistic and sophisticated manner.
Getting this right starts with looking at the brand’s customer experience architecture and how it maps to customer relationships throughout the customer journey. This involves gaining a complete understanding of the brand’s marketing channels, systems, databases, content assets and skills—and then understanding their role in the customer experience at every point of the customer journey.
With the right architecture in place, brands can start getting a more complete view of customers as well as how they engage with the brand across different touchpoints, channels and devices. This, in turn, enables them to engage customers with the right, personalised content or experience as they move from one channel to the next and through different parts of the journey.
Customer experience architecture helps create a scalable and automated approach that enables targeting of high quality content across channels (the website, search, display, social email and more) and getting the right message to the right customer at the opportune moment. Without an architecture that connects marketing tools and channels (such as search, apps, web sites, social, instore, loyalty programmes, stores and more) as well as different pools of customer data, it’s practically impossible to gain the insights brands need to create the experiences customers want.
Consumers expect the content and experiences they encounter at each step of the customer journey to be personalised, relevant and engaging—no matter on which channel and when they are engaging with the brand. Getting it right is about putting in place the right combination of data, insights, and digital content to deliver great digital experience across every channel.