Given our love of retail and digital marketing disciplines, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we think a lot about the customer experience, and the changing, interconnected journey consumers take.
Two reports recently struck a chord for us. Gartner for Marketing Leaders published a series of fascinating white papers about “Customer Experience Marketing”. Inside, we found a model that we see immediately applicable to our clients and ideas, approaches that show real potential for marketing leaders.
But marketing leaders are busy people. So we had a read on your behalf and made some notes to share. (We might make this a regular thing. Got an idea? Let us know!)(We might make this a regular thing. Got an idea? Let us know!)
If you have full access to Gartner Marketing, here are the reports in question. They are chock full of awesome:
- Key Customer Experience Foundations for Marketing Leaders
- How to Align Customer Experience With Marketing Channel Operations
Customer Experience Marketing — What are we really talking about?
Gartner defines customer experience (CX) as “the customer’s perceptions and related feelings by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier's employees, channels, systems and products.”
Clearly, the importance of customer experience is on the rise, and guess who is expected to lead this charge? Yep, Marketing. But what does it mean to lead customer experience?
Buy, Own, Advocate
The customer experience journey features three connected cycles: Buy, Own and Advocate. From discovering your product to recommending it to friends, every step customers take while engaged with your brand comprises their whole CX.
This cycle begins with a consumer having a need, but not yet aware that your product or service addresses it. It ends with the purchase, at which point the person becomes a customer.
Seem familiar? It should. Optimizing the Buy cycle is what marketers traditionally do. However, digitally empowered consumers are changing the stakes.
Key question to consider:
- What are the near and mid-term opportunities to better understand the Buy cycle and impact each stage?
The purchase kicks off a new cycle, which only ends once your customer isn’t just satisfied, but totally in lurve with your product. As her relationship with the brand deepens, you’ve earned a loyal customer. Sweet!
Key questions to consider:
- How do you take care of the customer post-sale?
- What can you do to improve onboarding and deepen ties with your customer?
Loyal customers deliver two powerful, self-sustaining benefits for your brand.
First, your loyal customer stays in the Own cycle. She’s going to make more purchases, without fully returning to the Buy cycle to consider alternatives.
But the second benefit is increasingly vital: advocacy. In the era of word of mouth, online ratings, blogs and social networks, marketers must pay close attention to this stage of the overall CX journey.
Key question to consider:
What is your product’s opportunity to foster loyal advocates?
Bringing Customer experience altogether
As you may have noticed, the customer journey is held together at two key junctures:
- Purchase — If a prospect never purchases, she cannot enter the Own cycle, which is a crucial CX phase.
- Love — If your brand fails to lead customers to Love, it’s much more difficult to deepen the relationship. Deliver love and you increase repeat purchases, spending and share of wallet. This is how you create profitable customers, reduce churn, and can then capitalize on the kind of word of mouth that ultimately helps to fill your pipeline with new customers.
The potential is inspiring
The scope of the potential opportunity for marketing leaders to embrace CX is huge.
As a discipline, CX goes way beyond traditional boundaries of marketing. It starts with the very first interaction with a brand — whether that is direct through a brand-controlled channel or through an intermediary such as a customer, reviewer, advocate, distributor or agent — and extends well beyond the sale.
coming back down to earth
Clearly, CX-driven marketing transformation isn't going to happen overnight. Gartner identifies four domains related to the customer experience that marketing can lead or influence:
- Foundational — What data and insights will drive customer experience efforts? Consider customer data, customer voice, customer insight and competitive insight.
- Strategic — Your CX initiative starts here, with goal setting, persona development, journey mapping and customer experience architecture.
- Tactical — Primarily marketing-controlled programs and customer touchpoints, including the content supply chain, web, mobile, and loyalty and advocacy programs.
- Operational — How will you orchestrate and optimize customer experiences through cross-functional digital and human interactions? This is where automation, orchestration and analytics come in.
You probably don’t have everything in place right now. Not to worry, most organizations are in the same boat. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t start to reframe your CX marketing thinking and broaden your mandate as a marketing leader.
What kinds of customer experience marketing plans do you have, and what’s holding you back? We would love to help! Book a chat with us.