Transformation, Apr 20, 2021

Whitepaper extract: Why are you failing to deliver a unified and consistent view of your customer?

James Breeze

This is an edited extract from our whitepaper: Why are you failing to deliver a unified consistent view of your customer?

In a recent blog, we alluded to our engagement with CMOs from two consumer companies. Consistent with prevailing thinking, both cited personalisation and a single view of the customer as their key priorities. They were exasperated by the siloed nature of their data, their technology stacks, and the decision making within their organisation. In other words, they were frustrated at the lack of connectedness.

In this blog, we look at one of the four areas of ‘connectedness’ necessary to build a single view of the customer: Connected Experience.

What do we mean by Connected Experience?

Connected Experience relates to how an organisation connects with their end customer and provides tailored engagement.

Why is it important?

Although marketing’s understanding of a customer is built up through numerous data sets, including email addresses, preferences, and browsing habits, it is important to remember that they are not simply the sum of their data - customers are individuals, and they expect brands to treat them as such.

What are the barriers marketers face in getting in right?

Data and legacy tech

The root cause of the challenge is often existing data and technology. These legacy systems don’t reflect the modern need and fall short of being able to deliver a single view of the customer and the personalisation that follows from it.

They may also be aware of a low perceived value of data within the business, often manifested by no business owner for data or no data strategy. This can make achieving the task even more difficult. Enterprise architecture will be a key ally in this conversation, so building a strong relationship between IT, marketing, and digital is vital in getting your journey underway.

These problems are all exacerbated by the perceived value held in underperforming legacy tech. For example, someone in leadership having chosen a piece of software makes it harder for marketers to suggest change, even if they want to. In a similar vein, there may be an emotional resistance to changing a piece of software due to the company having already invested thousands of pounds and hundreds of training hours into it, creating a desire to ‘sweat the asset.

Legacy tactics

We’ve found that there is still a heavy reliance on traditional marketing, especially when the customer base is traditionally older. However, the 60-year-old of today has been using email for over 45 years, and by breaking down the digital penetration of a customer base, marketers may be surprised by what they find, making justification for digital investment easier.

We also see the need for marketers to adapt how they communicate with their audience when new offerings rise and fall in the market. For example, the younger generation have migrated to apps such as TikTok and Instagram, so how should marketers respond to this when considering their connected experience?

Every new channel or loss of one adds complexity to processes and technology choices, so it is important to ensure there is a true understanding of customer personas. This makes it easier to prioritise which channels you develop and integrate into your MarTech set up.

What should marketers be doing to solve these problems?

To have a truly joined up customer experience, marketers must start with the customer and design experiences to suit their needs. Even then, a customers’ actual interactions may vary from the original plan. Recognising and acknowledging the customer journey and their path to purchase is fundamental.

This approach is called Journey Management and covers the analysis, anticipation, and orchestration of customers connected experiences.

Practical advice for achieving this

Cross-working: Almost every part of your business will deal with customers in one way or another. This means you need to understand large parts of your business and this can only be done by creating a coalition of willing representatives from multiple areas.

Start somewhere: No business, even those held up as industry leaders, have everything fully connected and working perfectly. It is also unlikely you can sweep everything away and start afresh. You should therefore be pragmatic and identify areas of excellence around which you can make incremental improvements. These improvements will establish good will and momentum, helping to justify larger investments or more ambitious changes. Customer use cases that take into account data, analytics, decisioning, interactions, and evaluations are particularly useful as they cut through all the capability layers towards the customer.

Get access to the expertise: Understanding what good looks like is essential to ensure any investment you make in time and money is efficient. If you have the knowledge of how to deliver connected experiences within your business, then you need to access it. This will allow you to build an ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ picture, and the steps needed to get from A to B. If the expertise does not exist in-house, a MarTech assessment is advised.

Benchmark: You need to benchmark against customer expectations - what do they want to see from a customer experience with your business? You also need to benchmark against the competition – are you a pioneer or a laggard? This will allow you to understand how much time you have and how fast you need to change.

In our experience, we’ve found that marketing knows which outcomes they are reaching out for but find it hard to know which steps to take first and which tools will help to get them there most efficiently. We help them break down their vision into a roadmap by undertaking an unbiased assessment of their current state, often helping lead and deliver the transformation so they can ensure that they are still able to deliver their BAU tasks.

Download the whitepaper

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