The State of Engagement: Meeting Expectations of Today’s Omnichannel Customer
The modern customer journey involves an ever-expanding list of touchpoints as consumers turn to a slew of phones, tablets, smart speakers and in-store experiences to complete their path to purchase. They also may use a combination of websites, mobile apps, digital assistants and social media networks across those channels. Despite this proliferation of touchpoints, customers still expect personalized, contextually aware interactions from retailers at every point of engagement. Heightened expectations around the customer experience has led to new marketing strategies, but not all brands are able to effectively execute their strategies and deliver hyperpersonalized experiences across channels and touchpoints.
In fact, 47 percent of chief marketing officers admit they're failing to deliver on the customer expectation of personalization and contextual engagements across the customer journey. This was one of the key findings in our recent study done in partnership with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, The State of Engagement: Bridging the Customer Journey Across Every Last Mile. Failure to deliver on this new marketing imperative not only hinders a CMO’s ability to attract, retain and grow customers, it also instills a fear for their job security. Seventy-six percent of CMOs said their jobs are on the line if customer engagement doesn’t satisfy digitally demanding consumers.
This insecurity stems from the fact that while marketers recognize customer experience as the new frontier for competitive advantage, they're finding it difficult to measure the success of customer experience initiatives on bottom-line improvements like overall revenue growth and increases in individual sales. One reason is because they don’t have a complete understanding of a customer’s path to purchase and how each interaction and touchpoint played into the customer lifecycle. According to our recent report, 80 percent of CMOs are unable to, or can only sometimes, connect channels of engagement back to a business impact. An additional 10 percent are only able to measure against business goals using time-consuming manual processes that involve just select channels.
This disconnect is mainly due to fragmented tools within an organization that keep data in silos. Our study found that 41 percent of study respondents noted the greatest roadblock to the successful execution of a customer experience strategy is fragmented platforms and systems that fail to connect or deliver a unified view of the customer across all touchpoints. This patchwork of point solutions has caused gaps within the customer journey and left marketers struggling to meet customers in real time wherever they are in the path to purchase. When organizational silos are present — in the form of business function, technology or data silos — omnichannel customer engagement is weakened and marketers are unable to deliver a connected and cohesive customer journey.
In order to meet business goals, as well as the expectations of mobile, savvy and fickle consumers, retail marketers must focus on eliminating silos and creating a single point of control for data, decisions and orchestrating interactions. The foundation for this is an organizationwide, single view of the customer that will ensure uniform and consistent engagement. When brands obtain this complete, continuously updating view, or Customer Golden Record, it becomes their most valuable asset and offers a single point of control that can power personalized, omnichannel customer experiences. It's only with this single view that a marketer can bridge the gap between their strategic intent and their ability to optimally execute.
Marketers will finally begin to see returns on their technology investments once they’re able to treat each customer as a segment of one and use the Golden Record to intelligently orchestrate the right messages, offers and actions at the right cadence across all touchpoints. But it all starts with the rethinking of business processes and technology solutions and putting the customer experience first. CMOs who prioritize capabilities that provide a single point of control over their data and engagement activities will be more apt to deliver experiences that increase revenue while lowering interaction costs. These experiences will not only keep consumers coming back for more, they'll help retail marketers meet and exceed the business goals by which they're measured.
John Nash is the chief marketing and strategy officer at RedPoint Global, a customer data platform and engagement hub.
Related story: Sweet Experiences Drive Lolli and Pops’ Success