On any given day I’m continually answering emails and WhatsApp messages on my mobile, checking social media for breaking news and booking business trips on my tablet.
We’ve never been more connected than we are today, and we expect the brands in our lives to engage with us in exactly the same way – with personal, real-time communication across all channels.
We expect to be reached when WE want to be reached, HOW we want to be reached, and about the topics we care about.
This type of one-to-one customer experience is becoming critical for a company’s long term success. In fact, our latest Connected Customer report shows that 45% of consumers and 57% of business users say that by 2020 they will switch brands if a company doesn’t actively anticipate their needs.
Delivering this type of experience relies on data and lots of it.
In our big data world marketers need to make sense of the information and use it to deliver content to customers that’s relevant, timely, personal and most importantly, in context. Marketing is no longer based on gut instinct; it’s data-driven and digitised.
I believe it’s time for the CMO to step into the CIO’s shoes – to become more tech savvy and understand the governance the CIO works under.
Marketing is embedded in technology
These days marketing goes hand-in-hand with technology – and I’m not just talking digital marketing here.
Even traditional tools like trade shows and in-house events rely on back-end automated processes and data analysis – all with the goal of driving each and every campaign down to a one-to-one personalised engagement.
That’s why I think it’s inevitable that as marketers use more and more marketing tech – or what we term as ‘martech’ – they need to work collaboratively with the IT department and the CIO.
The CMO has to take into account the IT governance and existing systems when purchasing a new piece of martech or rolling out a tech-based campaign, to ensure that it performs optimally.
Equally, the CIO needs to consider prioritising the development or integration necessary to successfully deploy marketing-critical software.
It’s a bit like a car, where the design has to take into account what’s under the bonnet. A high-performance engine is suited to a Formula One car, while something smaller and eco-friendly is better for a run-about.
The customer journey is the responsibility of everyone
Almost every customer journey, from initial research through to purchase and onto post-sales care, touches more than a traditional marketing team is responsible for.
Customers interact with a business through so many different channels – from a receptionist’s tweets, to the contact centre team’s phone chat. As a result, marketing, sales and service all interact with customers these days.
This means it’s now essential that businesses create a single view of each customer so that all these divisions have a 360-degree view of the customer. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than when a company fails to acknowledge a customer’s previous interactions and conversations with them have to start again from zero.
Achieving this single view of the customer relies on connecting their data from different touch points and channels.
Company data may flow through the marketing department, but the CIO is really the company’s information architect. The two need to work together to make sure customer information, from across all channels, can be captured, analysed and shared across departments quickly and efficiently.
Ultimately, the customer experience should be the primary focus of everyone in the C-suite. With the CMO and CIO working together, companies are in a much stronger position to stay a step ahead of rising customer expectations in our increasingly connected world, by making sure the customer journey is seamless and personal.