We all know that digital is the great disruptor. Despite the endless opportunities this has created, CMOs still seem to be missing the customer experience sweet spot. This may be because, as marketers, we tend to be self-centered. We contemplate worldviews from multiple angles — but not necessarily from the customer’s perspective.
That lack of empathy is one of the main reasons many marketers have trouble being more customer-centric in the digital world. Many just don’t have the right elements in place to provide relevant and personal digital experiences to customers at scale. CMOs either haven’t invested enough resources to integrate information delivery successfully or are paralyzed by too much data and don’t know where to start.
Fortunately, tools exist to help CMOs collect and categorize data across all digital touchpoints. By utilizing these tools, brands can successfully create a unified view of consumers to personalize their digital and physical experiences.
The Good Side of Big Data
Consumers today absorb content from different brands across several different channels on many different mediums. In the digital realm alone, this includes websites, ads, emails, posts, and apps through desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets (you get the picture). For companies to remain relevant and credible with their customers, they must be consistently unique across these mediums.
Personalizing every customer’s journey drives longer-lasting relationships, greater loyalty, improved customer experiences, and more sales. To that end, a data-focused customer-centric approach allows a company to deliver the most relevant and consistent view of itself to each customer. With such a wide variety of channels to consider, the key to unlocking pertinent consumer data is often as simple as an email address.
When consumers visit a website for information, sign in to social media, or download and log in to an app, their email addresses can be converted into an encrypted format. The encrypted data can then be matched to cookies and profiles on any of their devices.
With permission, companies can use that data to send relevant messages on social media and deliver highly customized experiences on their websites. They can recognize their customers whether they access those channels through laptops at work or phones at home.
As a prime example, Google has mastered the technique of digital integration through emails with its Chrome browser. Signing in to the browser with a Gmail account allows Google to more precisely target the online content that it delivers to users in nearly every format.
This form of encrypted email authentication makes it easy for companies to piece together the puzzle of who their customers are and talk to them across every applicable channel. It also provides actionable behavioral data for companies to better understand individual preferences, creating opportunities to connect with customers on an unprecedented level.
3 Steps to Improving Your Digital Experience
Excellent customer service is more than just smiling at your customers. It means creating a consistently enjoyable experience for each customer, from the first point of contact to well beyond the final sale. The key is personalization and relevance. In the digital world, that relies on building a unified view of each customer’s identity. These three steps will offer a good start to creating a truly customer-centric experience, using data to form more informed views:
1. Make your organization customer-centered
Focus more on real data to understand who your customers are and how they behave. Where do they come from when they visit your website? How do they rank their experience with your company on social media and review sites?
Researchers have found companies with a strategy that focuses on customers were nearly 60 percent more profitable than those without one. Companies such as Zappos and Amazon are a testament to this. They owe much of their success to designing the shopping experience around user needs and behaviors.
2. Test your digital experiences
Don’t just assume that your advertising will automatically lead folks to your website or successfully engage them on social media. Dip your toe in the water to test how well those strategies work.
You might think everything looks great, but a customer’s experience can vary greatly from your own, especially the first time. Services such as UserTesting, which collects feedback from customers on their experiences with websites, apps, and other products, can help weed out such discrepancies so you can unlock customer insights and update your strategies on the basis of what works and what doesn’t.
3. Build unified profiles of your customers
Using resources such as LiveRamp, Google Analytics, and Facebook Analytics, pull in as much data as you can from your email, website, social media, and apps (if you have them). Then, use this data to understand your customers and how they interact across your owned channels. Onboard and target those individuals across channels as a single identity.
As you build more unified customer profiles, you can deliver more personalized experiences that are important to the folks you’re trying to reach.
Creating great customer experiences can seem difficult in an age when many companies rarely see their customers face-to-face. However, the same digital revolution that made digital consumerism a way of life also makes it possible to unify customers’ identities across all digital platforms and channels. That unified view will allow you to customize your outreach and connect with them in ways that were never before possible.