Digital Transformation’s Secret Ingredient: Ambitious Marketers
Most brands recognize the need to meet customers’ needs and deliver positive experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has taught many marketers that consumers’ expectations are ever-changing and increasing. Experiences must be perfect—relevant, personal, helpful, timely, and delivered on the right channel. This is often easier said than done, and to truly execute on this mandate, brands must act with urgency and ambition.
In times marked by evolving, unpredictable consumer behaviors spurred on by rapid digital transformation, marketers can take solace in knowing that there is a way to quickly and successfully implement bold engagement tactics. While there may be hesitation to be bold, radical change is required to survive and succeed. Take, for example, Microsoft, whose CEO noted the company experienced two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months, or Accenture, which shared similar sentiments.
Ambitious marketers have a role to play. Now is your time to rise to the occasion, answer the call, and bring forward ideas that drive omnichannel personalization in real time and put the empowered consumer in the driver’s seat. Not only will you drive revenue for your organization, but you’ll drastically improve customers’ experiences and boost your personal contributions. It’s time to showcase that ambitious marketers are primed to take a leadership position and have the power to transform businesses.
The Rise of the Empowered Consumer
According to a Harris Poll, 73 percent of consumers say that brands are not meeting their expectations for a personalized, omnichannel customer experience. This gap is likely expanding due to the pandemic. As the coronavirus flipped industries on their heads, brands rushed to adopt or enhance digital solutions in suboptimal ways.
We’ve always known that consumers have power, but unlike a decade ago, they’ve now come to realize it as well, and are demanding more from their experiences—especially as emerging technologies consistently push the envelope of innovation and prove to enable truly great experiences. There are also more ways to shop than ever, and empowered consumers are increasingly demanding that the experience should be equally as excellent no matter which touchpoint they choose to use. If this demand cannot be fulfilled, consumers will take their business to a brand that can better meet their needs.
This is where the ambitious marketer comes in. The ambitious marketer recognizes this power shift and is ready to adapt quickly and efficiently—to satisfy increasing expectations that are fundamentally led by the consumer.
Becoming an Ambitious Marketer
To engage and retain the empowered consumer, marketers must rise above the status quo. True differentiation stems from offering a relevant experience for each individual consumer at any stage of their omnichannel customer journey, regardless of when or where it happens.
For example, businesses are seeing an uptick in curbside pickup service as consumers avoid stores. Can they deliver the same experience, though? It must be seamless, from the online purchase to the pickup—ensuring logistics are properly coordinated so that the right product is available at the right time and communications are timely and accurate. No one wants to receive a text message telling them to pick up their order when it won’t actually be ready for another 20 minutes. To get it right, brands need an up-to-date record of every transaction and behavior combined with every identifier—all devices, emails, addresses, social media accounts, etc.
This example of how brands need to adapt to a rise in curbside pickup illustrates the broader point that customer journeys are becoming more unpredictable, with more channels, devices, and options than ever before. The potential combinations of personalized journeys—across mobile apps, websites, email, social media, in-store, IoT devices, and more—are dazzling. With this in mind, it’s crucial to understand consumers and their context in the moment and have the ability to quickly adjust strategies accordingly.
Laying the Foundation: Customer Data and Understanding
Truly understanding consumers on an individual level has always involved having the right data. What’s different today is not just the sheer volume of data that’s available; it’s having the right technology in place to see, use and take action on data in real time. Delivering the right next best action (e.g., an offer, a message, content) must be done at the speed of the customer—not too far ahead where they can’t keep up, and not too slow where they leave you behind. The window to provide a relevant experience is a short one, and brands must act quickly. A highly relevant interaction could mean making a specific offer based on a web page the customer visited two seconds ago, or personalizing an email.
Analyzing all data—behavioral, transactional, demographic, and sentiment from first-party, second-party and third-party sources across the consumer’s anonymous and known journeys—is the difference between being customer-centric and being persona-centric, which typically leaves out behavioral data, lacks speed, and fails to integrate touchpoints. This customer-centric approach isn’t just to enable the top-notch experiences mentioned above or make the customer happy, but to benefit the business too. Recent Gartner research proves that customer-centric brands can achieve up to 20 percent lift vs. roughly 6 to 10 percent for persona-centric brands.
Breaking the Mold to Drive Ambitious Ideas
New engagement models—seen across industries—with new digital channels are empowering consumers and will continue to increase expectations over time. Given this, there’s a growing need for ambitious marketers that can bring forward bold ideas and turn them into both action and revenue.
These ideas may be met with resistance at first, and some of it may come from within—marketers whose vision of a perfect customer engagement is blocked by siloed data, touchpoints, or journey stages. Or a failure to know all that is knowable about individual consumers, which masks a true understanding of each customer. But what relationship worth having doesn’t come with pushback? In fact, it’s when met with pushback that ambitious marketers may find an innovative technology ally to break through limitations and barriers. Will you rise to the occasion and be the ambitious marketer your business needs?
John Nash is chief marketing and strategy officer at Redpoint Global. He has spent his career helping businesses grow revenue through the application of advanced technologies, analytics, and business model innovations. At Redpoint Global, Nash is responsible for developing new markets, launching new solutions, building brand awareness, generating pipeline growth, and advancing thought leadership.