Technology has changed the game for marketing - we all know it. It's expected that companies will engage their audiences and cater to their needs, while also implementing this in real time. Nowadays, marketers must be nimble, flexible and innovative. We must consistently come up with ideas quickly and execute them even quicker. This is part of the reinvention of marketing.
But, what has stayed constant in marketing? What is still needed now in our digital age more than ever? That's right - excellent customer service. Except today's consumers want more than an FAQ page. They expect a whole integrated experience. Today, we are creating more than marketing plans - we are creating experiences for consumers, which is why customer experience innovation is leading marketing reinvention.
Last month, I spoke at Integrated Marketing Week (IM Week) and moderated an awesome panel on customer experience. If you don't know, IM Week is a conference that draws the world's business leaders to participate in dozens of sessions about integrated marketing. It's all about what's hot (and not) right now and what top leaders see for the future. Thought leaders chose from different tracks including Optimizing for Insights, Engaging your Consumers and Driving Change, which was the track for my session.
Our panel talked about how customer experience innovation is vital for businesses that want to increase customer engagement and achieve sustainable growth. Many B2B and B2C companies may ask, "What's the right customer experience?" The answer is that each company must innovate their own customer experience that will best engage their specific audiences. It doesn't work unless customer experience is tailored to the company's audience. So, you have to know what your audience wants. Many companies like Carhartt, Dropbox, and Whole Foods, have implemented brand advocacy programs that let consumers interact with other consumers who can also answer their questions and deepen their relationship with that brand. My panel agreed - this is a great way to create a strong customer experience.
The session also looked into the good and the bad of customer experience innovation. Panelists were from Verizon and Oracle. It was a great discussion about what the best customer engagement looks like at different companies and whether engagement needs to exist in a full spectrum. The biggest takeaway from the panel was that if a company isn't engaging customers through innovative experiences, their customers were going to leave and find companies that will because this is how marketing looks today.
This was one of the similar themes at the 2015 Adobe Digital Marketing Summit, one of the world's largest digital marketing conference. Brad Rencher, Adobe GM and SVP Marketing Cloud opened with some remarks about the reinvention of marketing today. He talked about how we've moved on from simply broadcasting messages to interacting. "In an age of digital everywhere, consumer behavior is getting more complex and technology is changing the definition of marketing," he said.
Rencher ended by summing up marketing reinvention. This echoed what I saw at IM Week and in my own work in tech and marketing. He said: "Customer experience has become the brand of your organization."
Do you have any success stories about companies implementing innovative customer experiences? I'd love to hear about them!