2020 vision: CX and the future of marketing

Mike Handes looks at future developments in the ways technology, complexity and customers influence the profession of marketing.

This article was contributed by Marketing Content Partner Marketo to let readers know about ‘The Path to 2020: Marketers seize the customer experience‘ »

mike handesPerfecting the ability to understand the customer through personalisation has long been a focus of marketers. By 2020, it is expected CMOs will match this understanding with direct action that drives engagement.

That’s one of the findings from ‘The Path to 2020: Marketers seize the customer experience’ a report by Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned by Marketo. It includes responses from 499 CMOs and senior marketing executives worldwide and explores which technologies and customer trends are likely to change marketing organisations the most over the next five years.

The report’s results classify the elements that contribute to a personalised customer experience, and how it creates value for a customer and for a marketing organisation.

Other insights from the research show a large majority (86%) of CMOs and senior marketers believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020.

As customer experience overtakes mass marketing, however, CMOs must learn to manage staggering complexities. Most believe that developments in technology, mobile connectivity and media and marketing channels will change the profession vastly by 2020.

Channels they believe will excel are those that lend themselves to further personalising this customer experience: social media, mobile apps, and mobile web. Further predictions by the respondents included the growing importance of customer experience as a driver of brand equity and that future innovations in technology will focus on small screens and no screens.

 

Customer experience is marketing’s game

Being able to engage and delight customers with relevant, streamlined experiences is the new competitive high ground. It’s important for a brand’s CMO and marketing team to own, plan and develop its CX. No function other than marketing interacts with customers during their entire lifecycle – from awareness, to engagement, to customer, to advocacy.

EIS’s survey found that a personalised and relevant customer experience was considered by respondents to be the most important priorities for a winning customer experience. This was followed by a fast and efficient CX.

As the survey results show, two-thirds of customer experience leaders appear to be marketing performance leaders, and half of the leaders who reported being profitability leaders are also CX leaders.

If CMOs are expected to own the CX outright – as 86% of participants believe will be the case by 2020 – they will need to be more deeply involved in decisions that a ect the entire organisation. Ninety percent of respondents believe marketing departments will exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020, and almost 80% say marketers will exercise similar influence over technology.

Blending new areas of involvement within brands, as well as constantly evolving technologies and platforms with which to engage with consumers, has meant an increasing amount of complexity in defining the role and necessary skills.

A key word to focus on here is ‘scale’, in multiple dimensions. CMOs need to ask themselves, ‘Do I have a platform that can grow? Have I got a platform that will be able to scale to a volume of customer interactions in 2020 that is an order of magnitude greater than today and find the nuggets of interaction that are important and can trigger the tight engagement that will resonate?’

CMOs need to start thinking like CIOs, in that they need to consider what strategy they can take that will provide them with the scale and agility to adjust to future opportunities and threats.

Finally, does the CMO have an engagement platform that has an organisation behind it that will continue to invest and innovate, and is this platform open so that it can be extended to encompass capability beyond the core vendor platforms?

A single, best version of ‘customer truth’ is derived from inputs such as demographics, psychographics, clickstream or purchase behaviour, customers’ devices or locations, the content they’re viewing, and many other inputs. To build the best version of truth, we recommend constantly evaluating data against the following criteria:

  • Uniqueness: Is the data specific to the user of common to a target segment?
  • Privacy: Does the data require a customer’s permission and consent?
  • Applicability: Does the data apply across marketing and business processes? 
  • Value: Does the data help a marketing meet KPIs or goals?

 

A best version of customer truth can be used as a strategy for integrating marketing analysis, creative development and marketing automation capabilities with customer management and support.
Externally, this resource helps marketers be where the customer is in his or her path to purchase.

Is personalisation really a top priority?

Personalisation was commonly believed to be the number one priority for CMOs in the survey when it came to perfecting CX. Personalisation blends a deep understanding of a customer’s needs and wants with timely and tailored delivery of relevant content, products and services. Media platforms which enable marketers to provide personalised engagement and communication with customers have made it to CMOs’ front-of-mind when it comes to their efforts and focus. Old media avenues of television, print and radio are falling by the wayside.

Aside from communicating with customers, personalisation also plays an important role in customer acquisition. The last great CX sets the baseline for all future CX, regardless of industry.

Leading disruptors like Netflix, Uber and Airbnb explicitly focus on CX, and they understand that to win in the future, you have to master the engagement economy.

The engagement economy is one where the organisation delivers value through authentic and personalised experiences to every customer at every touchpoint, and the reward for this is returned in revenue. It’s paramount to remaining relevant, and CMOs and brands who refuse to recognise this will be left behind.

This is the engagement economy, and if you aren’t delivering CX, you aren’t participating in this economy and you will fail as a business.

 

The Future

The survey results show mobile devices and networks (59%), personalisation technologies (45%) and the Internet of Things (IoT) (39%) are the three technology-specific trends that will have the biggest impact on marketing organisations by 2020.

Mobile and broadband technology, social media, data, analytics, IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) look to further disrupt the marketing profession, and the way brands must engage consumers. This will involve leveraging small- screen and no screen media.

So how can marketers change their approach to personalisation, CX and marketing in general as we shift towards 2020 and beyond?

For me, it goes back to driving, owning, and being accountable for CX. By taking accountability the marketer earns the right to orchestrate the CX.

Marketers need to consider in delivering a differentiated and personalised experience is to think beyond the scope of customer channels and instead think in terms of ‘environments’. An environment is the intersection of the communication medium (the device), the location and the time. A mobile device on public transport at 8am, for example, is a different environment to a mobile device at home at 8pm at night.

The marketer that gets this right will set themselves up to capitalise on the engagement economy.

 

Mike Handes is director of customer success, Asia Pacific, at Marketo

 

 

Image copyright: kantver / 123RF Stock Photo

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BY Partner ON 15 May 2017
This article was produced by or on behalf of a partner and does not necessarily reflect the views of Marketing Mag or Niche Media.