It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. Like most of my colleagues, be it in sales, product marketing, IT or HR, I see that digitization happening all around us is not just disrupting the companies where we work and the industries in which we compete, it’s impacting our roles and responsibilities. Customer service is a great example.
Have you noticed the new marriage that has developed between marketing and customer service? Traditionally we’ve viewed these as two distinctly different departments, but lately they seem to have morphed into a single entity with one overarching goal—ensure flawless customer experiences that span the entire business—from before the first click through fulfillment of an offering and beyond.
So how did we get here? At what point did I become part of my company’s customer champion team? It began with data. Right now, the marketing organization has access to more data than ever. In my last blog, I talked about the balancing act that exists between how and when you put these insights into use. On the outbound effort, marketers need to avoid oversaturating audiences with content because too much is just that, too much. But customer experiences? Well that’s a completely different beast.
First off, customer experiences are more important than ever. Salesforce.com recently conducted a study which found that 80% of customers believe the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. The research even found that 57% of buyers have stopped buying from one company because they found another that provided a better overall experience.
Think about that for a moment. We are operating in the era of tightening budgets, yet many buyers will skip the best price in exchange for the best experience. This is where marketers like me come into the equation. Right now, we have insights into each customer’s full journey with the brand. I’m not just talking about the basics (where they’re based, what they’ve purchased before, etc. …) but more detailed information such as when and where they are likely to buy, what price point will drive them to act, how they are using our solutions, whether they are having issues on the website, and much more.
When you add the pieces together we are gaining an incredibly detailed view of each customer, which we can use to bring them the features they want on the products they need and when and where they want them. But these insights aren’t just for me and my fellow marketers. They have incredible value to the broader organization.
By becoming the company’s customer champion, we can knock down some of the silos that exist between many departments, ensure customer centricity everywhere and see that every single action that is focused on meeting a client’s need. For example:
- Sales: Instead of leading with products, marketers can help sales better understand the very specific needs of each customer and then come to them with the right solution at the ideal the price point so the transaction can be closed as quickly as possible. Just imagine getting both the best price AND a great customer experience
- IT: Today we can see how customers are interacting on our websites. We can also see if there are areas of the site that are causing problems. It could be a coupon code that’s not being recognized at checkout or a product page that’s not loading on their smartphone. Now we can share this data with the online team to resolve issues immediately and ensure only a handful of customers are impacted.
- Product Development: Imagine taking the insights given by your customers when it comes to your products and using them to add features and functionality that address specific needs or eliminate customer frustrations. That’s how data can impact your solutions.
Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C company, our businesses must be organized around the needs of our customers. This shift begins with marketing but that’s just the beginning. We are sitting on an incredible pile of data and insights and we can share them to benefit the entire organization and, most importantly, our customers.