Gaining a 360° view of your customers and brand touchpoints requires an end-to-end analysis of where and how your customers relate to your organization—experienced CMOs know this is no small feat.
For most companies, 2022 planning is well underway. Chief Marketing Officers are working with product and customer success teams to strategize ways to predict and meet their customers’ current and future needs. Yet, this goal is considerably more challenging than in previous years. Why? Because endless chimes, dings, and alerts compete for our attention, making fear of missing out a daily collective energy zap. That’s why disciplined focus on the most impactful strategies is more crucial than ever.
The right strategy
Customer-led companies are the clear winners because they focus on strategically gathering customers’ sentiment and subtle emotional differences while connecting those insights to behaviors that maximize customer understanding and influence their brand tactically.
Unifying customer input helps to guide the creation of excellent products and services resulting in better outcomes. From basic third-party intelligence to past and present purchasing behavior to customer success interactions — through to social media — this information helps guide customer improvements. But how do you get better outcomes when the number of customer touchpoints keeps growing?
Wrangling the touchpoints
The vast number of customer touchpoints and related data that can be collected is challenging to manage. By assigning the right resources to analyze customer touchpoints, brand and marketing teams can then be armed with the intelligence they need to successfully develop a strategy to deliver on the customer’s purpose.
Armed with these insights, organizations can better understand how their customers feel at each step of the funnel. Key customers can be envisioned as personas to design and build for, as well as test, and learn from. The deeper your understanding of your key customers, the greater your chances of success.
Seeing the Brand in 360°
When you have a 360° view of your brand, you can see everything around you free from blind spots. When we apply this to our clients, a 360° view is a complete view of who they are from a brand experience perspective, including visual, tone and messaging, sensory, and interactive qualities. And when we apply this to every angle of their relationship with their customers, we look at; Who, what, when, where, why, how in a time-sequenced way.
For example, leveraging interactive technologies like Drift helps by including real-time conversations providing brands a better understanding of the actual sensations, feelings, thoughts, and behavioral responses to brand stimuli that occur in a specific moment along the buyer’s and customer’s journey.
We see the brand as a multidimensional sphere with multiple connections—connecting people both internally and externally. Each touchpoint is a way for customers to interact with and experience a brand. And, each connection is also a way for individuals to use tools to interact within an organization to break down departmental silos while internally connecting all customer-facing organizations — for example, Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Product. That way, individuals talk to each other, grow new or unexpected alliances, and realize different ways to grow and expand their business, increase skills and accelerate revenue.
So what’s the end goal? To understand the desired outcomes that might compel a customer to engage with your company. When Sales, Marketing, Operation, and Product teams collaborate, they collectively work toward delivering the ideal customer outcome for each point in the customer journey. And this is where you can increase your Customer Performance Indicators and begin mastering your customers’ purpose at each point of intersection. Understanding this provides more value to an organization than knowing every aspect of your product offerings. Start asking: Why are they there? What do they need? What questions can you answer for them? Think, “I need…,” “I want…,” “How can I…,” or “Can you….”
Collating past and present data to build better relationships
Understanding leads to empathy, and if your organization can map out what a prospect is looking for to satisfy the pain points that need to be addressed, you can connect on a deeper level with them and, in turn, promote long-term retention. To get there, you’ll need previous customer data like communication support channels, human-powered chat, AI chatbots, phone, website interactions, marketing campaigns, recently viewed products, and services purchased.
If you’re like most brand leaders, you strive to build brands that inspire while building customer loyalty — but how do we get there? It happens at the micro-level — in real-time moments of understanding — these moments of intersection have the power to be transformational rather than just transactional for both the customer and the brand.
When we meet buyers and customers with empathy in real-time, we can achieve a more profound understanding making that interaction meaningful and informing how we can better meet their needs and other customers’ needs in the future. When real-time experiences are combined with data, we can better understand customers’ needs and preferences. And when it crosses all customer-facing points of intersection — for example, within marketing, sales, and support — we can integrate this understanding organizationally.
An agile organization can make incremental and iterative adjustments to better service all buyers and customers—and apply it at the macro level with scalability.
In 2021, companies spent a lot of time thinking about their vision, mission, tone, and messaging. They also took a deep dive into how their employees experience the brand values and culture and how that impacts what they bring to their customers on a day-to-day basis, in a real human sense. 2022 will be defined by real-time contextual moments that focus on understanding the customer’s purpose at each moment of interaction and how their employees and system can be better aligned to deliver this at scale.
A plethora of benefits
Analyzing buying patterns and recently viewed items can help organizations map possible purchase behaviors. Grouping customers into segments based on common attributes can lead to an analysis of how each segment behaves with your organization — and later on, which segment produces the best outcomes for your bottom line. You can gain valuable insights about how your customers interact with your brand, what messaging best resonates, what motivates them to make a purchase, and what keeps them coming back.
Over time these insights can predict how prospects with similar characteristics might behave in their customer journey. Creating a 360° model requires collecting a wide range of information and combining it into one system to form a comprehensive view of your customers.
The benefits of a 360° all-around system are myriad. Firstly, they can change the level of personalization that your customers experience. If you take a 360° approach, your sales, customer service, and technical support teams will all have access to the same information about each customer, including basic demographic information, contact preferences, purchase history, and more. You can tailor the brand messaging to address the personas and pain points that drive outcomes at every touchpoint. The more you define your personas, the more accurately their preferences can be tailored.
A high level of personalization delights customers like nothing else; it drives loyalty to your brand and impacts customer LTV.
Your teams can use this information to adjust their interactions based on the customer persona, creating a more customized experience. A high level of personalization delights customers like nothing else; it drives loyalty to your brand and impacts customer LTV.
WebOps: an important piece of the puzzle
The same progressive thinking needs to be applied to how teams think about, work on, and iterate on the most critical touchpoint — the website — collectively; this approach is known as WebOps. The old waterfall-style approach governing website development dulls a team’s reaction to the moving target of real-world business conditions — often leading to months of planning, and time-consuming website relaunches that can take years to realize. This is a Jurassic concept now.
Today sales, marketing, product, and technical experts must all work in concert with agile processes built-in so that continual experimentation keeps your site vibrant and adaptable to a changing environment. According to Accenture, 91% of today’s consumers are more likely to shop with brands that offer relevant information catered to them. It’s safe to say; consumers prefer personalization. And that sort of thing can only come with data, research, and agile teams built with the modern ethos of iterative changes that lead to optimal results.
WebOps is defined by agility and iteration amongst key teams in your organization: marketing, product, content, designers, and developers. Since a website supports the business needs of many stakeholders and collaborators, it can’t be managed under the old ‘waterfall’ approach.
Instead of waiting endlessly for large-scale website rebuilds, the WebOps practice embraces the idea that a website is never truly finished. It is continuously being iterated to adapt to new realities. Resources are spent on innovation, confident deployments, lessening infrastructural inefficiency, and improvements around data-informed decisions with far fewer launch wait times.
An agency with expert knowledge of the WebOps process like Molly Duggan Associates can help transform an outdated approach into a cohesive modern operation. This includes cultivating new employee expertise in agile thinking and working. We must abandon siloed ‘us vs. them’ thinking among cross-functional teams while educating teams to have basic conceptual knowledge of the challenges cross-functional partners face and must overcome. Start by dividing up the parts of the website amongst teams that can own their piece of the larger whole. This is the start of a well-oiled WebOps machine.
Another method to aid in this process is to embrace Conversation Orchestrator, powered by Drift. With a trusted partner like Molly Duggan to help you along the implementation path — the conversations you’ll have with visitors on your site will be highly contextual and continuously build on the knowledge you’ve built up about your customers. By creating playbooks that can contextually communicate with prospects, you’ll be able to meet them at specific points in the customer journey and offer unmatched personalization, drive dramatically more customer interactions, and generate more revenue for your business.
We see your brand as a multidimensional sphere with multiple connections, connecting people both internally and externally.
Each intercept or touchpoint is a way for customers to interact with and experience a brand. And, each connection is also a way for individuals to use tools — like Drift or Pantheon — to interact within an organization to break down departmental silos. That way, individuals talk to each other and realize different ways to grow and expand their business and skill and accelerate revenue.
Customers are more knowledgeable than ever and most do significant research prior to purchase. When they arrive at your website or experience your culture, their prior experiences with your competitors will shape how they will judge your offering. Today’s buyers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer relevant information catered to them. Making the customer feel like they are in the right place helps them build confidence in your brand. You want them to feel a sense of, ‘Ahhh! I’m in the right place now.’ That is your opportunity to build loyalty and affinity for your brand.
The truth is, this doesn’t happen by accident. A good experience happens when you’ve planned for it through a proper discovery process that includes the right internal and external stakeholders.
Even then, once you have collected your discovery data that then informs the way you design the customer experience, you need to iterate upon it and become a test and learn data-driven organization. And, leaders that actively listen to their customers and turn these insights into actionable goals create resilient and future-proof organizations.