Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top 3 customer experience challenges for marketers

Customer experience management is fundamentally about providing a seamless and consistent flow as prospects move through different phases of development and points of contact with a supplier. Delivering on this presumes a level of connectedness that many marketing organizations struggle to achieve. The reason for the struggle is that there are three significant forces of fragmentation opposing their efforts: specialization of roles, organizational hierarchies, and tactical technology. These forces threaten every marketing organization with two fatal flaws: they slow everything down and fracture the customer experience.

Three forces of fragmentation that marketers must fight:
1.     Specialization: all areas of marketing execution have become inch wide mile deep endeavors. As a result, there can be many degrees of separation between key roles such as social marketers, event planners, web administrators, technical writers, etc. What do these people talk about when they get in a room together? Does anyone else care how the events person manages food service or logistics?

How to combat the fragmentation of specialization: It is becoming clear that the one thing all marketing roles now have in common is the need to master data and analytics. Each specialized role produces and consumes data from all the others. It is critical that everyone in marketing understand how customer and operational data flows, how others use the data they produce, and the best analytical practices for gaining insight. This should be a key topic of conversation and community building.

2.     Hierarchical org charts: Marketing is no longer a command and control world. Yes, there is an overlay of reporting that has to go "up the chain." For many marketing leaders that grew up with the traditional B-school approach to management, adding layers to the org chart is a natural approach. However it results in compartmentalization that left untended creates a culture of disconnectedness.

How to combat the fragmentation of hierarchies: Marketing organizations should be defined around processes not activities. Marketing processes must be supported by collaborative environments that foster greater visibility and coordination between contributors. Enterprise social networks are becoming essential for creating a culture of openness and connection. Organic approaches are not enough, marketing leaders need to seed the social network with process oriented communities such as: campaign management, sales enablement, content lifecycle management, etc.

Transforming Marketing From Silos...

... To Systems


3.    Technology: IDC identifies nearly 90 different categories of marketing technology (not including middleware and infrastructure!) That alone should tell you the function and the IT market serving it are unsustainably fragmented. The deployment of highly specialized tools can empower people within their specialties but can leave them on a technology island in the greater scheme of things. Major IT vendors have started to consolidate some of the basic building blocks, but there are still many areas in which niche/best of breed capabilities are needed.

How to combat the fragmentation of technology: The two centers of gravity for your marketing IT infrastructure are your integrated marketing management solution and your website. They should be intimately tied to each other and all other marketing systems/tools should integrate with one or both of them. This becomes a forcing factor for integrating processes and data flows. Marketers also need to demand more of their technology vendors to accelerate the evolution of platforms that tie together the systems of engagement, content, administration and data.

The most successful CMOs will ensure the pervasive deployment and adoption of technology increases collaboration, socialization, and systems thinking. They will design marketing organizations around customer-centric processes and exert deliberate efforts at all levels to combat the forces that threaten the connectedness needed to serve up a seamless customer experience. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

80% of Your Customer Data Will be Wasted

Larger and richer collections of customer data are increasing available. That’s the good news. But most of that data is wasted. That's the bad news. Poor data practices remain one of the biggest hurdles to marketing success.

Here are four ways that companies squander data and recommendations about how to stop the waste:

Data is Missing: A huge amount of customer data is available but is just not collected. Your ultimate goal should be to capture interaction and behavioral data at every touch point.
 
What to do: Acquire the data. Invest in marketing technology and services that capture data and in data management technology to store it for analysis. IDC finds that tech marketing leaders invest more than three times the amount of funds in marketing technology than their laggard cousins.  Big data is the marketer's friend.  Providing lots of data to your analysts will enable them to predict the next best offer, discern buyer preferences, determine marketing program attribution, improve conversion rates, and much more.

Data is Unavailable: Some customer data is captured in company systems, but is trapped where marketing can't access it. Marketing needs information on customers from a broad array of sources from both inside and outside the enterprise. Sales data, purchasing data, and customer service data, are examples of internally available data critical to seeing the full customer picture.

What to do: Aggregate the data. C-Suite executives must rush to the aid of marketing if they want to get full value from the function. To stop measurement at the MQL or even sales "closed loop" is insufficient for the full customer picture. Pay particular attention to converting unstructured data into structured data so it can help drive the content customization and delivery process.



Data is Junk: Sometimes customer data is captured, but is meaningless.

What to do: Analyze the data. You must be able to separate the signal from the noise. The first step is to gain a baseline understanding of the journeys taken by your best customers.  This point of view will give you a filter. CMOs need to invest in the tools and skills needed to gain insight from the data and tell a relevant business story.

Data is Late: Some meaningful data is captured, aggregated, analyzed – but the whole process takes too long for any relevant action to occur.

What to do: Act on the data. The point of data investment is to develop a rich understanding of the customer's context so the most relevant response (typically content) can be delivered to them. In a digital dialog, a response is expected on the other side of every click.  Data needs to be made readily available to decision engines and content management systems so that they can take action.