You’ve probably heard it before that ‘data is the oil of the 21st century.’ We’re operating in a digital economy where data is more valuable than ever and in today’s connected world, marketers are sitting on a data goldmine.
The challenge is, how does one turn data into insight and action and use it to return the customer to the heart of the business?
The new digital economy dictates that old rules don’t apply and this is evident in the evolution of the customer profile.
Customers aren’t necessarily buying a product, they’re buying an outcome. There is an abundance of products in the world, but a finite number of customers.
Avoid the commodity trap
Establishing meaningful customer connections is a requirement to compete in an increasingly commoditised market, and businesses that fail to provide excellent customer service and experience will fall into the commodity trap.
The idea of “customer experience” transcends “good service.” It is based on the concept of a culture and the mind-set of a business, driven by a desire to provide holistic and authentic experiences to each customer and reaching the emotions of the customer at each touch point.
This is now all possible thanks to the explosion of data. Data is the new value asset and, when interpreted properly, can deliver the right experience as well as bring new consumers through the door.
the idea of “customer experience” transcends “good service”
Case in point is Under Armour, a company that manufactures activewear apparel that has expanded its brand into a lifestyle management hub and experience – not just selling a product but really addressing the broader needs of customers. The innovative, moisture wicking athletic undergarments and apparel on which the company was founded have completely changed the way athletes dress and perform. But now the company is also innovating digitally to improve the way people live.
The vision is to combine all its data and users into one fitness tracker app called Under Armour Record. The app connects with any wearable device and enables users to monitor sleep, fitness, weight, activity and nutrition.
Combining the data in Under Armour Record with customer purchase history will empower the company to provide a better customer service. Seeing fitness and health trends emerge in real time will also help it identify and react faster to customer needs based on actual activity and offer a personalised product assortment and buying experience.
The vision of connected fitness and the Under Armour Record app isn’t about technology or sportswear. It’s about improving people’s lives. It’s a complete system that includes a tight relationship and constant communication with consumers.
Authenticity will win hearts
Customers are naturally drawn to brands that project authenticity, and the key to achieving this is data. By analysing data in real-time, a business knows what the customer purchased as well as what they abandoned.
By creating a rich context, a business can deliver a great experience. When a business delivers great experiences, it can transform the engagement it has with customers.
It’s no longer good enough to just pay lip service to customer centricity, marketers must take data and combine it with technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to truly put the customer at the centre of their business.
it’s no longer good enough to just pay lip service to customer centricity
This sentiment is supported by a Watermark Consulting analysis, which found that 10-year investment returns from publicly traded customer experience leaders (measured by Forrester’s Customer Experience Index) were 43%, while investments from customer experience laggards generated negative returns.
This demonstrates that bringing great customer experiences to the marketplace will be rewarded – by both consumers and investors.
Marketers now have a common language across the C-Suite, and that is data.
Connecting the dots across the various customer touchpoints is now a core skill, given the C-Suite is more aware than ever before of technology and the importance of data in driving business outcomes – no longer the lonely domain of the CIO.
The data that customers generate in interactions with brands, regardless of what channel or device they use, is valuable in determining the next step to maximising customer engagement. The key to surviving and thriving in the digital age is improving customers’ lives and creating an authentic and seamless experience across all touch points.
This is the age of the individual and those that can deliver authentic engagements, which return the customer to the heart of the business, will be the ones that prosper.