Customer engagement must stretch beyond the sale
Measurability is one of the greatest benefits that digital media has brought to marketers. With data and analytics tools, we gain accurate insight into how well our marketing investments are performing and optimise in response. However, too often marketers focus on the pre-sales and acquisition legs of the customer journey to the exclusion of the longer-term customer relationship.
For many brands, the objective is to create content, engagements and experiences that close sales, without thinking about how they can use digital channels to keep customers engaged and satisfied for the duration of their lifecycle with the brand. There is an obsession with immediacy and short-term ROI with little focus on the customer’s journey with the brand once the sale is concluded.
The big take-out:
Marketers need a more complete view of their customers and should be taking a longer term approach in terms of building engaging relationships with their customers throughout their experience of the brand journey.
Ultimately, this is a flawed approach. The initial sale should simply be the first step in a profitable relationship with the customer. The customer experience should be about building a brand value for the long-term, helping to ensure cross- and up-selling, customer retention and brand advocacy. This means that we need to start thinking about customer experience in a more holistic and sophisticated manner.
Getting this right starts with looking at the brand’s customer experience architecture and how it maps to their relationships throughout the journey with the brand. This involves gaining a complete understanding of the brand’s marketing channels, systems, databases, content assets and skills—and then understanding their role in the customer experience at every point of the customer journey.
With the right architecture in place, brands can get a more complete view of their customers as well as how they engage with the brand across different touchpoints, channels and devices. This, in turn, enables them to engage customers with relevant, personalised content or experiences as they move from one channel to the next and through different parts of the journey.
Customer experience architecture helps create a scalable and automated approach that enables targeting of high quality content across channels (the website, search, display, social email and more) and getting the right message to the right customer at the opportune moment. Without an architecture that connects marketing tools and channels (such as search, apps, web sites, social, instore, loyalty programmes, stores and more) as well as different pools of customer data, it’s practically impossible to gain the insights brands need to create the experiences customers want.
Consumers expect the content and experiences they encounter at each step of the customer journey to be personalised, relevant and engaging—no matter the channel or when they are engaging with the brand. Getting it right is about putting the right combination of data, insights, and digital content in place to deliver great digital experiences across every channel.
* Mullins is Director at Acceleration Middle East & Africa.