I don’t think there’s much dispute that two of the biggest trends disrupting business are “big data” and “customer centricity”. For the technology-minded this means an enormous amount of pressure to get business software to work much more seamlessly. They must help the business take advantage of all the consumer data they are accustomed to storing, while simultaneously developing new ways to manage new unstructured and transactional data. It’s a process that can, in many cases, be simply overwhelming.
Likewise, the CMO’s mandate has expanded, now covering the creation of optimal experiences across every conceivable channel. And not only is the CMO now responsible for this omnichannel strategy at the top of the funnel – but they are now on the hook to develop service, loyalty and even content that goes well beyond the scope of the product or service. This latter “content marketing” strategy is requiring CMO’s to learn brand new skills and adapt quickly.
So, you’d think the CMO and CIO would be best friends at this point; kindred spirits working together to bring these concepts together. You’d like to think they’d be just like two kids riding in the back seat to Disneyland; working together to make the car go faster.
Yes, you’d like to think that.
But the reality is (as every parent knows) quite different. These days the CMO and the CIO are both screaming “are we there yet?” from the back seat. The CMO is holding his finger in the CIO’s face saying, “not touching, not touching”. And the CIO is saying “mine, mine, mine” to every single thing the CMO picks up.
Me – I’m about ready to turn this car around.
So – what can we do to ensure that we have a safe and productive journey? Well there are four layers we’ve seen, when implemented well, provide a bit of sanity to this process.
Four Layers In A Customer Experience Focus
Both the marketing strategy and the tools that it supports must be focused on a common goal – facilitating the customer’s journey in the most simple and compelling way possible. It’s the CIOs job to make that journey easy to facilitate, scalable, and flexible for the CMOs team. And it’s the CMOs job to understand that journey so well that they can communicate their needs to the CIO and also create the experiences that will be compelling and relevant. Together they’ve got to focus on:
1) Awareness & Introduction
Today, new “owned content” platforms like blogs, social and websites are yesterday’s media buy. Before the customer is even a “known” visitor, the marketer can make value out of tracking the consumption of content, and patterns in usage to understand their interests and what is valuable to them.
The technology strategy here should be lightweight, flexible and – quite frankly – often disposable. Things change rapidly here – and collaboration with any number of external sources, from people, channels, languages, and styles will be required. This is where marketers will need to move the fastest to be the most effective. In short: The CIO should care the least about this layer.
2) Engagement & Relationship
As visitors become leads (either physically in a store, in a long B2B process or even a transactional Ecommerce shopping cart) more emphasis is needed on utilizing data and the insight it can provide to develop a more delightful experience that will pay dividends down the road. The ultimate goal here is to feed back to every other part of the organization how the business can operate in a way that meets and exceeds the customer expectations. This is where a unified customer experience management solution is so critical. Having a management process that can integrate into the fast moving technology of the Awareness and Introduction stage, but also scale to meet the solid optimization, data and insight requirements of every stage through to the CRM system is key here. Put simply the CMO needs to understand this process much more deeply and design more carefully here. This is different than the awareness stage – and thus more care should be put into fewer experiences that change less often. A more holistic process is needed here.
3) Intelligence & Insight
After customers actually become customers, developing a methodology and process that is continually focused on learning how customer’s needs evolve is critical. It’s not only developing strategies to feed this data back into the acquisition of new customers, but also how to retain, upsell or cross-sell additional products and services – with the ultimate goal of creating brand evangelists. Here the technology and process focus must be on how the customer experience system can draw data out of other, more enterprise back-end systems in order to optimize experiences for customers that are well known. Integration is the key here, and the CIO must work hand in hand with the CMO to understand “what data is needed” to optimize the experience before developing the integration strategies to actually go and get it.
4) Shared Values And Exceeded Expectations
This is less a physical layer – than a final attribute that is the foundation to the other three. Developing a shared vision with both marketing and technology to see how partnering with customers and the business, rather than working in subservience to either can become an integral part of the business strategy. Put simply, it is not enough for the CMO to simply understand the CIO’s strategy and acronyms and vice versa – it is about the two teams coming together with a joint strategy for customer-centricity and the technology needed to facilitate it.
The goal of these four layers is to help the CMO and CIO understand and communicate the “approach” to technology and customer-centricity. It’s easy for the CIO to get caught up in the “we have a tool for that” mindset and myopically decide that because it’s a “content tool” it can solve any and every content problem. Conversely, the CMO can easily get wrapped up in the “I need everything yesterday because it’s always about more” state of mind. Moving the marketing team beyond the “content-as-campaign” mindset and into a more “content-as-process” state of mind can help develop a more considered approach to deeper customer engagement infrastructures.
In summary: the CMO should focus on the WHAT – and make it as compelling, relevant and resonant as possible. The CIO focuses on the HOW – making it as easy, fast and flexible as possible.
Ultimately, getting these kids in the back seat to focus on the promise of compelling content experiences for customers can be the thing that gives them joint focus. How they can utilize software to optimize and personalize these experiences, and expand the nature and depth of their customer data is the game of iSpy that just might make the ride to Disneyland worth it.
This article originally appeared on The Customer Edge.