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What is the experience you want your customers to have with you as a company? Balancing what customers want and where you need to be evolving your business is becoming increasingly challenging, and marketing is a key figure in the change.
CMOs are juggling a lot of priorities these days. Key issues are numerous, including:
- Orienting the company towards customer experience (be it in media, sales, customer support, executive suite, or elsewhere),
- Creating consistency in customer experience across lines of business,
- Developing and scaling customer experience tactics, and prioritizing,
- Onboarding sales and customers,
- Creating consistency in pre/post sales and customer success,
- Defining and normalizing sales and marketing collaboration, and
- Empathizing with customer needs and earning trust, loyalty, and advocacy.
Conversations that influence direction are occurring at the top of companies to define:
- What is our purpose and reason for existing with our customers?
- How do we deliver on the brand promise?
- What have we been successful in doing historically?
- Is it enough? Needed? Relevant going forward?
Ultimately, CMOs are adapting to a customer-led marketplace that requires frictionless communications to adapt, or react, to ever-changing customer needs/wants/wishes/desires/demands.
Agile marketing has become a real thing, namely the ability to quickly identify customer needs, prioritize activities, deliver solutions, measure results, and iterate.
Agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time. – Google
Customer experience understood by continuously validating customers needs, generating new ideas, and implementing tactics to create value based on ongoing, sustained research enables the enterprise to address challenges and remain relevant to the customer’s journey with the brand.
The translation of the brand story through the collaboration between sales and marketing is paramount. Working towards a shared goal that drives revenue, and maintains a collaboration in a harmonious way, is easier said that done in many organizations.
Defining the customer demands in their own words, with defensible research, and with data from the customer journey is the glue that binds the sales and marketing partnership.
Sales values having a happy customer who is loyal and becomes an advocate, be that through testimonials or simply continued partnership. Marketing’s responsibility is in building a team and culture that empathizes with the customer.
Three out-of-the-box ideas
To bind the customer experience with culture, organizations are employing some vibrant ideas.
- Transform physical space as part of the guest/partner/employee experience. Leading companies like PTC are creating corporate experience centers. Literally seeing, feeling, and engaging with the products and services becomes palpable.
- Deliver technology/physical objects as the storytelling canvas of your company. The tactile nature of an experience brings the story to life. One such example of using physical objects or machines in the natural habitat to engage in storytelling with customers is Sage Automation’s use of robots to evidence the safety and reliability of their practical solutions for manufacturing and material handling solutions. Video is used to extend the experience to the digital world and online media.
- Developing experiences that provide first-hand experience of how the product or solution works to establish an emotional connect. Several of the most compelling examples of this are the Microsoft free summer camps, events, and workshops for students, or Apple store’s development of a town square experience.
Changing business demands and models
Marketers are challenged to expose, deepen, and bring together the physical and digital world in an ever changing environment. Coupled with the need for the intellectual, physical, and emotional connection, is the changing business demands.
Subscription models are pushing marketers to become business visionaries and assist the CEO and leadership to evolve the culture and the business direction. This transition requires time to consider what is going to be different, how will customers absorb the change, and what will be intentional versus tested to lead the organization towards success.
Process changes required to create (innovate), test, validate, iterate, and evolve require collaboration across the organization.
Saas (Software-as-a-Service) or other subscription models also change the way the business can grow, renew revenues, and expand the customer base.
A key question that needs to be addressed is, “How will the transformation change the way marketing reports back the success?”
How should metrics be re-instrumented in the company, for its people and systems?
For example, how will marketing pivot the way to measure and what will be celebrated as success inside the company? Or how does marketing help investors awaken to lifetime value, CAC (customer acquisition cost), renewal, churn, customer engagement?
Part of the expectation setting is to recognize that in transition, some metrics will not be accessible. It will be critical to set the framework, improve, and engage as formally as put in place and make sense for you and your business.
For example, segmentation of buyers to drive account-based marketing and personalization will take time as research and trial and error are undertaken to deliver the right message, in the right channels, at the right time, and on the right device (in context).
Further, there are considerations about how to manage and control the change through partners and channels. Marketing will need to educate and train partners and channels in new models and modes of delivering value and conducting business.
Areas like support training post sale and how to instrument user engagement success – what customers are using, what parts/features/functions/software, how they are engaging – all play into the credibility and customer success. This also impacts the potential to upsell or cross sell to the customer base.
B2C customers inform how we like to experience things-B2B follows.
It is marketing’s job to truly understand how a customer wants to use a product or service and bring that to life. Marketing is the orchestrator of an experience – tactile, emotional, functional, and relevant. In today’s censored world, it is important to be good listeners and learners, and also not over-rotate to address fringe, or every, customers’ needs. Differentiating the signal from the noise is the next great challenge.
- Delivering the experience in an authentic and transparent way from all directions – online, offline, on the website, through the salesperson, when downloading a datasheet, or watching a video on a 3rd party site like YouTube – must fulfil a consistent task, conveying and fulfilling the brand promise.
- Trust is the currency of the consumer, and the manner in which marketers talk about product and the way they help a customer succeed is the customer experience.
- Balancing what customers want and where you need to be taking your business is becoming increasingly challenging, and marketing is a key figure in the change.
What is the experience you want your customers to have with you as a company?
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