How many times have you bought a product from a company you didn’t like, or navigated an outdated website to make a purchase? You could probably count those experiences on one hand. After all, why would anyone spend money on something that doesn’t resonate with them?

At the recent Future of Marketing event, Salesforce APAC’s head of product marketing, Derek Laney, told spectators that customer experience has quickly become the number one decision-making factor when purchasing – overtaking price or product. And it’s all thanks to the meteoric rise of technology.

Keynote insights

During the keynote presentation, Laney told us that today’s consumers are hyper-connected, better informed and more empowered than ever, and it’s up to brands to offer personalised experiences throughout the customer life cycle. We can no longer offer a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy to consumers. Rather, we need to utilise data and technology to provide one-to-one communications that cater to the needs, interests and location of the customer.

“No matter what industry you work in, your customers are on a journey, and in the digital age they expect you to be with them every step of the way,” Laney said.

He shared case studies of some of the biggest brands in the world and how they’re walking hand in hand with their customers. Take, for example, Mattel with its “Choose Your Car” campaign, or L’Oréal’s “Makeup Genius” app. Consumers want to be a part of the experience, and it’s up to the brand to provide it.

“There are seven billion unique people in the world, and we have the opportunity to customise their world and enhance their journey as customers through technology and digital marketing,” Laney said.

One case study that stood out was McDonald’s, which was presented in detail by Salesforce’s Regional Practice Lead, Strategic Services and Marketing Consultant, Stuart Coleman. Coleman showed how the fast-food company is utilising a variety of new technologies, such as Active Audiences and Journey Builder – as well as combining CRM data with marketing information in the cloud – to create ‘trigger ads’ to put in front of potential customers. 

“Previously the customers of brands like McDonald’s were unknown,” Coleman said. “Now, thanks to technology, this is changing and digital marketers need to be utilising this customer information to ensure the right content is reaching audiences at the right time and in the right place. That is the future of marketing.”

In fact, Coleman went on to reveal that Salesforce recently compiled a study with Facebook that examined a number of campaigns for different clients. The research revealed that sending an email and a social ad for the same campaign to the same group resulted in 22 per cent uplift in conversation and a 77 per cent jump in reach.

Later that very same day…

Salesforce’s principal business consultant, Karli Smith, spoke in the second session of the day, Beyond the Whiteboard, about building your customer’s roadmap – or visualising the customer’s anticipated experience – and how to influence those consumers to your desired business outcomes. Smith posed three important questions when designing a roadmap:

1. Where can you be inspired?

2. What are your business goals and customer value proposition?

3. What customer interactions will help deliver your value message?

In the third session, Who Killed Creativity? co-author Gaia Grant explored how creativity and innovation are stifled in the corporate environment. By involving the audience in several exercises, she demonstrated how a business can encourage divergent thinking by rewarding outside-the-box work that includes originality, flexibility and abstraction.

With over 1,840 marketers attending the national event, the day in Sydney was thoroughly entertaining and informative. If it interests you, you can view the slides from the presentations (including the other brand case studies), or you can take a look at some of the products those brands are using to take their customer experience to the next level.