Despite all the advantages digital technologies have brought to modern marketers, for too many companies, the customer experience remains broken with many customers still subjected to a fragmented or non-integrated experience across all channels.
This is an issue explored in detail in a Modern Marketing Essentials Guide on Cross Channel Marketing released earlier this year by Oracle Marketing Cloud.
According to a study conducted by MultiChannel Merchant: 89 per cent of consumers and prospects said it was important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose. But there is a problem as revealed in a study by Accenture which found that more than three quarters of consumers it surveyed say they receive a fragmented customer experience when they move between channels.
The guide also highlighted results of a study by Blue Research which found that that 94 per cent of consumers and prospects discontinue relationships because of irrelevant ads or promotions.
Regardless of channel, consumers and prospects these days have a more refined appetite for marketing and higher expectations. They expect and desire more than a generic product experience—they want to feel an affinity for their investment and attraction to a brand.
So what are some of the resources marketers can use to match this customer expectation?
Data in the driver’s seat
The need for marketers to get control of all the available (and ever growing) data is paramount. Ultimately this is the only way to overcome the problem of fragmented experiences. (To learn more about the importance of data from an overall perspective please refer to the (LINK) Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management.)
When Forrester, asked marketers about their biggest challenge with their cross-channel marketing programs, understanding customer interactions across channels topped the list.
Marketers in that same study were also asked where their current marketing technologies fall short. The top three answers all dealt with the subject of data:
- Having the ability to use cross-channel analytics to improve performance.
- Tracking standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across channels.
- Having access to a unified customer view based on in house data
Attribution is riding shot gun
If the data is in driver’s seat then attribution is riding shotgun.
Many marketers are now turning to the emerging field of attribution modeling and analysis to more efficiently allocate their marketing spend and drive ROI.
Forrester defines cross-channel attribution as: “the practice of allocating proportional credit to all marketing communications, across all channels that ultimately lead to the desired customer action.” The marketing communications interact with the end user at various touch points, like email, display advertisement, SMS message, TV ad, flyer in the mail, etc. across the paths that lead to a customer action, or a conversion.
The main objective of an attribution model is to offer a simple mathematical formula to measure the impact of each marketing communication at different touch points throughout the conversion path. For example, if a user received an email, saw a TV ad, clicked on a sponsored listing, and used a coupon code within five days before purchasing a product, the attribution model is used to assign credit to each of these marketing touch points.
Attribution model analysis provides marketers with insights to more effectively orchestrate a cross-channel, multi-touch marketing program to increase conversions that in turn lead to higher ROIs
Experience is the engine
Customer experience is the engine that keeps the marketing machine running, or at least it should be. But for many that experience is broken. The reason why it is broken is quite simply because the marketer experience is broken. When you have thousands of products—and millions of customers with different affinities that you want to connect with those products—building personalised experiences is a tall order.
To do it right it helps to understand the roadblocks you might encounter on the path to improving the customer experience;
Simplistic journeys fail to build long term relationships : Today’s legacy automation and journey builders enforce binary, yes/no decisions, forcing marketers to build one unsustainable campaign after another to support the customer experience. That makes automating the customer experience at scale am lost impossible because of the binary way in which they configure a customer experience. Most of today’s automation and journey tools force the marketer to implement binary decisions that cause the customer to run their course very quickly. If a customer purchases, they get one message. If they don’t, they get another.
Marketers can’t utilise valuable data to individualise experience: Despite a plethora of data points, most marketers only leverage one: Did they purchase? The other issue is around the data utilised today to message customers and build personalised experiences. Today, most marketing and rudimentary automation systems only leverage limited data about the customer, such as whether or not they purchased, or whether or not they opened and clicked on any link in an email. It doesn’t look at what channel that customer prefers to be messaged on, or on what device. It doesn’t go deeper into their purchase history, or specific content they may have engaged with in a message that says something more granular about their interests.
Disparate resources create disparate messaging: This isn’t just a technology problem. All around the enterprise, marketers involved with the many different channels often sit in isolation from one another. In certain cases, digital marketing and email might be lock step. In other cases, they may be running efforts completely in parallel, and often create redundant messaging. Because each of them has a job to do, they create new campaigns with separate applications to bombard customers with different promotions—and it turns out the majority of these aren’t hitting the mark with customers.
The experience needs to be consistent and orchestrated across all channels. Loyalty is threatened when a consumer or prospect has a positive web or social experience only to then be bombarded with irrelevant or overly promotional email marketing by the same company.
For more useful insights download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide on Cross Channel Marketing today.
About the authors
Andrea Dixon is the marketing manager, Japan and Asia Pacific for Oracle Marketing Cloud, Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit
Oracle Marketing Cloud is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights to Which-50 for the benefit of our senior executive audience. Membership fees apply.