Digitalization, customer experience, and marketing
Customer experience is a key driver and catalyst in many (if not most) digital transformation projects. User experience and user adoption play the same role in IT projects. Successful application scenarios are the key to the success of the entire project.
We know how important customer experience is and what role it plays in marketing activities, so it is not surprising that many companies start the digital transformation in marketing. Its goal is to increase the number of points of digital contact between the customer and the product and to improve customer experience by aligning marketing campaigns more closely with other business processes.
There are a lot of things we do not know yet
The crucial role of customer experience in digital transformation is undeniable. In this regard, analysts focus on digital transformation in terms of digital customer experience. According to a survey conducted by the i-SCOOP portal, 88% of executives claim that they are implementing digital transformation based on customer experience improvement measures. However, only a quarter of respondents were able to provide a customer journey map and described it. In short, the majority of respondents do not know it.
Unsurprisingly, many companies fail to understand how and what to change in their marketing processes. They have no idea what their customers actually see or how to optimize their customer experience, how to manage it, and what is its ideal vision.
Hard truth: even if you know your customers, you can't always be sure that the changes you invest in will really benefit them. So be prepared to make a bunch of mistakes.
To improve the customer experience, businesses need to focus on making a customer journey map, displaying the stages that the customer goes through, their emotions, goals, and contact points with the brand. One of the main tasks of customer journey mapping is to understand the way the customer selects the company or its product and make their experience flawless to minimize the possibility of deal cancellation. Of course, by improving the experience of one particular customer, you cannot magically improve it for everyone.
An interesting fact: over the past few years, marketing managers have substantially changed their opinion on the most relevant tasks of their role—but their opinion goes cyclic. Long ago, it was believed that marketing is a business tool with a mission of making money. Today we are talking about a goal that stands above money: the improvement of customer experience. However, this era is also becoming history, giving way... to the good old profitability.
An independent customer who can compare prices online, find independent reviews, etc. is smart but disloyal. How to change this? Only by strengthening the customer-centricity and mastering the art of making personal offers. This is only possible if a company knows its audience from A to Z and is ready to play on their terms. One of the most important things is maintaining communication and giving continuous feedback.
The transformation of marketing is as endless as digitization in general. Marketing experts are irreplaceable, but they need automation tools that can handle routine tasks (for example, lead tracking or forming a customer profile based on data from many sources) while the people perform global tasks. At the same time, marketing is a creative process, so personal human contribution must remain prevalent in it. The customers will appreciate it. But remember that the goal of automation should be process improvement, not replacement. An AI that attempts to conversate too much with customers still sounds very "cold." Unlike dialog with humans, this may deteriorate the customer experience.
However, it is undoubtedly true that competent automation of some marketing processes opens up new horizons for increasing their efficiency, allows you to reduce costs, increase profits, and offer customers compelling context-based content via the most relevant channels. Automation becomes one of the essential elements of almost any marketing technology. In the next five years, more than a third of marketing materials will be created not by marketers or copywriters, but by artificial intelligence. The number of analysts in large companies will also be reduced. They will be replaced by specialized IT systems, which will observe customer behavior in real-time, create and send marketing messages on specific criteria.
The power of digital
The work of marketing managers becomes more and more interesting from year to year: tasks and their solutions are so unpredictable that many companies totally change the paradigm of relationships with clients and partners. For example, some marketers start working with end-users directly, without intermediaries, for the first time in history. New sales and promotion methods emerge, and consumers that embraced digital values expect much more from businesses. For example, they want to get emotions from a product that does not imply any emotional link, expect interesting native content, or a full spectrum of additional services. The scope of marketing managers’ duties includes working with feedback sites, bloggers, social networks, e-commerce platforms, and all the technologies associated with it. Successful communication with the customer through all digital channels is guaranteed if the company meaningfully integrates IT into its tasks. For example, it uses solutions for monitoring events in social networks and sees the right analytics in real-time.
Let’s strike a balance on digital transformation in marketing:
prepare a clear customer journey map and put the client in the center of your world;
automate routine operations;
look for technologies that solve your tasks, do not tailor the tasks to technology;
accumulate transformation ideas;
engage top managers from all areas of business, integrators, partners, and clients;
support discussions and collect feedback.
We have already covered solutions for smart advertising and targeted offers right from the online store or from anywhere else, as well as about the ways how neural networks improve customer experience.