Do CMOs understand what makes creative customer experiences?

Whilst the customer’s experience changes, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t

“For organisations of all types, the migration towards digital marketing operations offers a host of opportunities and threats – the winners will be those that best understand the technology landscape and how it can influence the customer experience,” so says Jon Williams, Senior Vice President at Aprimo.  

The challenge facing all enterprises is to create and maintain the best consumer experience in a digital landscape that is becoming increasingly chaotic. I believe that there is a strategic need for Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) to lead their organisation through the change process and this requires insight from these business leaders.  

To date, customer experience (CX) technologies have been focused primarily on creating and mapping customer workflows, with some focus on analytics to drive the journey. But how do marketing organisations align to match each journey’s step with the right campaign, message, or content?

Whenever was CX simple? What an organisation needs in their customer experiences is a mixture of innovation and creative flair, the correct blend of emerging technologies and consumer convenience. One thing we know for sure is that our experiences with brands have changed and evolved over recent decades. However, whilst the customer’s experience changes, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t – there is still a lot of work to do to ensure a marketing organisation can align to and match the wide array of activities from its brand. 

This is further compounded when driving a synchronised customer experience. Consumer communication channels have grown exponentially, so what do we do when the communication landscape is this chaotic?

Marketing operations support

As we know, channel complexity and content needs are on the increase. Yet our resources continue to remain a constant, which directly contributes to a CX gap. It’s just not possible to deliver a great consumer experience at scale, in the best areas, in a cost effective, efficient manner without operational support.    

So, what kind of marketing operations support is required? There are several issues that marketing organisations need to address. To be consistent marketing organisations must understand what is going on and when. Without this there is no way of knowing or controlling the communications eco-system.       

  • Design: Anything that is designed must be tried, tested and reviewed. CX is no different. Are organisations applying the same rigour to CX as they do to other marketing activities?
  • Data Driven: as with everything, the better the data the better the output. CX initiatives should be driven from insight and strategy which works for the business, not against it.
  • Aligned: The driver for an ultimate experience is alignment. CX must work in partnership with the other things organisations do and it shouldn’t be considered as a separate silo.

The CX solution

So, how do CMOs help their organisations move from chaos to an ordered existence? To date, CX technologies have been focused primarily on creating and mapping customer workflows, with some focus on analytics to drive the journey.    But why is it that we ignore the fundamental steps necessary to get there? The CX machine is missing an engine to power it. When we consider CX in its environment it’s an important piece of the puzzle yet still just one thing for marketers to wrangle with.   

We still need to plan, budget, create and distribute campaigns whilst measuring performance, this must be part of an overarching strategy for all CMOs. CX Operations is that machine, that driving force - facilitating, governing and distributing CX initiatives whilst aligning it to everything else happening that affects the customer in one way or another.   

How can CX Operations deliver a set of essential capabilities? To start, how do organisations plan their CX operations? Are they well formed, aligned to the business objectives?   

Next, do they know how much initiatives for CX actually cost the business and how can the CMO attribute this to ROI? And during the creation process do they apply the same rigour to ensure it meets the demands, and are they able to catch problems before they enter the public domain?   Once completed, how do marketing organisations ensure their CX operations are distributed correctly and accurately? And arguably the most important of all, do marketing organisations have an engine as the heart of CX strategy to ensure they are performing and they can prove it? 

 A question of CMO mindset

Some marketing teams think they are just getting on with it like everyone else and they don’t need that engine complicating things. But actually, a recent study found that only 16 per cent of CMOs questioned were delivering customer experiences that truly fulfil their brand promises, so what about the rest?   

Two thirds say their efforts are hit or miss. Wouldn’t they like more visibility into what is going on from a CX perspective so that they can concentrate on the things that make a difference?   

CX Operations exist to manage the multitude of resources required to execute against the many content and channel requirements of CX interactions. Today, there exists an operational backbone that enables organisations to deliver a consistent high quality customer experience efficiently and cost-effectively. One of the biggest CX challenges facing CMOs is to identify the need for change and to trust in the transformative potential that marketing operations technologies can bring to their customer’s experience and thereby their organisation’s bottom line performance and profitability. 

Initially, it is a question of mindset – once we overcome that we can start to help these organisations exploit the considerable opportunities that are present in today’s digital environment. 

 Jon Williams, Senior Vice President, Aprimo