Don't Gamble with Your Customer Experience Strategy

In the next five years, digital budgets will account for more than 76 percent of businesses' total marketing budgets, according to a recent Accenture study. This means that if you are a marketer, now is the time to make a shift in your customer experience management (CXM) approach.

Deciding on the most impactful digital marketing strategy is difficult. Today, it is easy for organizations to get caught in one of two traps. The first is an overly analytical mode, where steps are taken very cautiously and returns are only slowly gained. At the other end of the spectrum, a haphazard and risky approach to marketing strategy execution can conjure up images of casino-style gambling. With fingers crossed, marketers roll the dice as market trends are followed with little certainty of the outcome. While this may yield results in the short term, it doesn't incorporate the overarching strategy needed to be successful over time.

Consequences of Playing the Game

Hopefully your company isn't playing the "casino CXM" game, but there is a good chance it is. To find out, ask the following questions:

  • Are you able to provide individual customers with a tailored and personalized experience?
  • Are you using truly actionable insights about your target segments?
  • Is your media buying scientific?

A "no" response to any of these questions indicates that you are participating in a casino CXM game. The implications for this type of strategy can be extremely detrimental, especially considering how easily customers will move on from your brand after they have had a negative experience. A Zendesk survey found that 95 percent of consumers share their bad customer experiences with others, and about 40 percent avoid companies for two or more years after a negative experience. Unfortunately, such experiences occur more often than they should. Type "recent examples of poor customer experience" into any search engine and you'll find numerous references to this phenomenon. The unfortunate fact is that many brands behind these bad experiences aren't even aware of the damage being done as a result of their companies' nonstrategic and risky approaches.

Getting in Tune with Customers

Knowing which part—generally—of your marketing works, but not precisely which part, is a common aspect of this dilemma and one notably experienced by pioneering car manufacturer Henry Ford. "You can have any color as long as it's black," Ford's customers were famously told. The problem of not being fully in tune with market needs still applies for many companies, despite the huge strides technology has made when it comes to capturing customer and prospect data. To become more in sync with consumer preferences, marketing campaigns must be carefully constructed around customer intelligence. CXM technology can help marketers accurately identify which marketing tools and programs are working and which are not, identifying where to invest in resources for maximum ROI. In the words of management guru, educator, and author Peter Drucker, "What gets measured gets managed." So, why do some companies persist in playing casino CXM and risk losing market opportunities (along with their reputation)? Perhaps many do not realize where to start when it comes to customer data.

Kicking the Habit with Data

Some companies still undertake campaigns intended to produce a given response, usually measured in the number of sales leads. A score of around 5 percent is generally considered a fair result. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many questions around customer behavior and preference remain unanswered, such as the process customers take to connect with your brand, factors that inhibit them from buying, and what the key moments of opportunity are for connecting your message to your customers. Access to this kind of data is crucial to the success of a company's marketing strategy and plan. And by managing the data gathered in one central dashboard, a complete picture can be built of the customer profile and journey.

Marketers don't have much time. Consumers are looking for a relationship with brands, not one-off campaigns—and especially not one-off campaigns that are irrelevant. If you're not already, it's time to shift your approach from casino CXM to one that is strategic and grounded in insightful customer data. Your customers will thank you, and so will your bottom line.

Garry Levitt is the vice president of alliances for SDL, a provider of customer experience management solutions.

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