By Zimm Zimmermann, Vice President, Personalization, Merkle
If you haven’t celebrated it yet, you should. Marketers are delivering one-to-one personal experiences! It is true! Yet, a large percentage of companies are still driving to a “one-to-all” or “one-to-many” customer relationship.
In today’s society, this is not sustainable for any company fighting for its share of attention in a world of always-on customer engagement. Instead, companies must adapt and grow to be competitive. They must evaluate and update their programs so that they are delivering “one-to-few” or “one-to-one” experiences.
Companies need to evolve their marketing strategies, technology, collateral, and operational approach. They need to break down the channel silos and reevaluate business goals, key performance indicators, and marketing objectives. They must turn away from experiences dictated by line of business and align behind a unified branded customer journey.
Marketing should take a step back and rethink, well, everything. In doing so, there are three core competencies that should be reexamined.
From journey mapping to journey optimization
Quite a few industry experts are discussing journey analytics; however, one needs to look at the implications of both journey mapping and journey analytics to understand their customer experiences. Mapping provides us with the path. Analytics informs us about what is occurring throughout the path. Optimization leverages the knowledge to identify areas of development; isolate weak spots of concern; locate new areas of engagement; and so on.
Journey optimization changes any journey mapping exercise into a living document. This document evolves and changes as analytics provide the insight into what is occurring within the customer engagement. Testing and optimization need to become a standard practice for every stage and channel of the journey. Conversions then grow beyond simple acquisition or purchase. Smaller conversions need to be defined to designate movement of the customer through the journey. These conversions become part of the analytics that help optimize the entire experience.
With anomaly detection utilizing analytical insights
Anomaly analysis is not something new. In fact, anomaly detection is slowly becoming a standardized offering within marketing analytic platforms. It has become an automated analysis, easily accessible by any marketing team. However, the challenge is that marketing must evolve from simply monitoring anomalies to studying and responding to them in a timely manner. Detection is not enough, one must understand what happened. Why it happened. What potential changes may need to take place because it happened.
Recognizing something out of the norm will provide companies with the ability to foreshadow changes in the market. Anomaly insights gives marketing the opportunity to be proactive versus reactive. Anomalies can provide marketers with the ability to see potential trends. Trends that require attention, investigate – and potentially even prepare.
Customer experiences growing into personal experiences
Customer experience is not a new concept. With ever-growing online capabilities, the digital experience has become paramount in the success of any company – small or large. Customers expect responsive websites. They want you to remember what products they browsed or placed in their cart.
But I would challenge that digital experiences or customer experiences are not enough. Personal experiences are more in line with customer expectations. Additionally, a personal experience reaches beyond digital and into all channels. If a customer researches something on your website and then calls your service center, the information should be shared – the experience should be continuous. Traditionally, customer experiences tend to focus on the positive impact between a company and the customer. Personal experiences imply focusing on a relevant positive experience.
It connotes that the entire experience should be personalized to meet the customer’s needs and expectations. It moves personalization into a broader context – adapting the experience to a more personal engagement at each point within the journey.
While some may argue that these are but nuances or semantics, underlying strategy and process changes are needed to support them. Thinking differently about something that has already been completed or is even engrained in your marketing program is the only way you are going to break down the “one-to-many” campaigns and move toward a “one-to-few” or “one-to-one” experience.