A strange title from the technology guy but stick with me and it'll all make sense.
Over the past few years we've watched the age of disruption [there's possible a whole other article on disruption] occur and a plethora of new tech hit the market. Businesses, apps, devices, experiences all flipped on its head by disruptors.
Adding to the disruption are the multitude of screens and ways in which people are consuming brands. This is creating a issue where not only cutting through is challenging but communicating effectively with an audience is more overwhelming than ever.
How can we compete?
We can't do everything?
Do we focus on email, crm, our website?
What is our mobile strategy?
Do we have a digital strategy?
Where is our content strategy?
What about personalisation?
This and many questions like this I heard frequently and are usually followed with statements like 'we need an app', 'we need proximity marketing', 'we need marketing automation', 'data is a must' or 'personalisation is king'.
However, there are two ways that conversation can go; one is technology focussed and the other isn't. If you start with the tech you've already failed.
If you start with tech you immediately enter into the 'dude we should do' territory
You know, that territory where a handful of people have had far too many beers and start solving the world's problems with sentences starting with 'dude we should do'.
I hear you asking — So if we don't focus on technology what should we focus on?
Your customer and their experience!
The key to unlocking the right technology for any business is to step outside of the four walls of your boardroom and into the shoes of those you are trying to communicate with.
You need to develop the customer experience with the customer in mind, not your primary business drivers. Those get considered later in the process. Your ideal customer experience needs to deliver against your brand promise while providing a commercial return. When done right, it will be frictionless and add immense value to the consumer. Added value creates engagement and engaged customers have a higher propensity to (repeat) purchase.
To create an exceptional customer experience there are four key capabilities required:
Automate and streamline what you can. Whether it be a 90 day on-boarding series to cashless payments.
It's more than 'dear firstname' in an email. It's remembering past interactions and tailoring the experience on-the-fly. eg: Netflix's recommendation engine.
Using the knowledge we have about a customer to nudge them along the desired journey — physically and digitally. This could be changing an interaction button or sending targeted messaging based on the current customer context. eg: Virgin Hotels 'Lucy'
This can only occur through experimentation, testing and analysis of business services, customer needs and the technology stack to identify opportunity for adding more value.
To deliver this capability you'll need a game plan/roadmap that keeps the customer experience central — even if that game plan is 18 months long. Be prepared for the game plan to change as you test and learn.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is to do what you can and when you can (as budget and capability permits).
Written by Mark McCarthy, Technical Director