Personalization has played an increasingly essential role in successful digital business models for some time now and the growing reliance on digital channels in times of a pandemic has only heightened that critical aspect of modern digital engagement strategies. Recent studies like The State of Customer Engagement 2020 from London Research show that providing increasingly targeted experiences is the key trend for marketers across various industries. While this has been true for most consumer brands for a while now, it’s becoming increasingly important for B2B models as well.
Customer Data Platforms (“CDP”) or Customer Intelligence Platforms (“CIP”) and Customer Experience Platforms (“CXP”) have received significant funding and market momentum with the promise of delivering a single view of the customer from a single platform to manage multi-channel experiences. This has been a dream for sales and marketing managers for more than a decade. The question is: which of these technologies should your company be investing in? Let’s start by breaking them down.
CDPs focus on three specific benefits:
- Unifies – Matches all granular customer behaviors across online and offline channels, creating a single customer view
- Analyzes – Democratizes insights, increase organizational agility, and augments human intelligence with AI
- Activates – Orchestrates, tests, and measures experiences across all customer touchpoints
CXPs focus on these three benefits:
- Elevate – Integrates content and customer data to deliver more meaningful experiences, usually requiring integration with one or multiple data stores such as CDP, CRM, ERP, and/or others
- Augments – Expands content authoring and publishing beyond traditional channels to include social, mobile, IoT and more possible channels for engagement to evolve
- Streamlines workflow – Orchestrates complex processes across teams and business functions for creation, approval, publishing, and analysis of content and data.
While these technologies can provide significant value, they are costly and complex. There is more you can do to get ready for a larger tech investment. With that understanding we’ve successfully helped clients evolve their business models by following these principles:
- Put your clients, customers, and partners first; technology second.
Too often organizations fall for the false promise of a shiny new system and redirect budgets to tech when more conversations are needed. Traditional research and actual conversations with your clients, customers, and partners yield critical information about their needs and expectations that even sophisticated technology simply cannot replace. Do this work; then determine which technology can best amplify what is already working, augment areas where your business struggles, and provide new opportunities.
- Big data equals big headaches. Know why you’re collecting it.
Data is a critical component of modern marketing, but the key is to understand what type of data and how much of it you really need:
- Data management software to manage large amounts of data like CDP and MDM are expensive to procure and maintain; additionally, increasingly tight regulations will place constraints and additional administrative burden on any organization storing consumer data.
- Being viewed as an intruder into a customer’s privacy can actually hurt your brand (as recent events at Facebook and others have shown). The most critical data needed lets us determine which persona we are dealing with and at what stage of the journey they are currently on – a lot of which can be learned through traditional approaches versus costly technology investment. Once the best actions for each persona is determined, these actions can be automated with well-established tools at very reasonable costs. Additionally, after a prospect has become a customer, developing a database that is capable of tracking their behavior, capturing their history of purchases, assigns a profile and anticipated preferences & behaviors can be a very worthy investment.
In some cases, at the right level of maturity, upgrading to a modern CDP or CXP can make sense but much can be done to significantly improve customer experiences before making these large IT investments.
- Content still leads. Invest in quality or bust.
And the final hard-learned lesson is that even the best AI retargeting algorithms and abandon cart messages do not sway many customers to return unless there is a real perceived value in the message and content presented. We do know that rich imagery is more engaging than text and that video or animations are the most likely to receive attention. But the call to action (CTA) we solicit and how we convey it is equally important.
For a financial client, we saw the biggest interest and response was, in fact, not any of their products but general financial education. Hence building out and maintaining a high standard of that content became a key focus for the organization. For a retailer, a simple, funny and authentic video of a customer engaging with the product can be worth 100 times more than a written review.
In short, developing a comprehensive communication and content strategy is the absolute most critical task for any organization when it comes to guiding customers through discovery, decision, purchase and loyalty stages of their journey. If you’re not ready to invest in quality content, you might not be ready to invest heavily in technology.
At MOJO, we have worked with some of the world’s leading brands on content strategy, overall operational alignment and strategic initiatives in technology and operations around the content and data needed for real-time multichannel engagement and commerce. The insights described above have been hard-won and we are happy to share more of our experience and case studies with you at any time.