The report, the result of input from nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide, reveals how the industry is changing in this age of the customer – who now has more access to information, choices and power than ever before. Marketing, which once focused on delivering outbound campaigns, is now more about building, nurturing and sustaining customer relationships, elevating the customer experience and achieving customer satisfaction, which has become the number one success metric for marketers today.
To do this, marketers are quickly embracing a customer journey strategy as a part of their overall business plan versus a traditional campaign strategy. In Canada, more than two-thirds of marketing leaders (68 per cent) have already adopted a customer journey strategy and 67 per cent are actively mapping the customer journey, both numbers slightly higher than the aggregate average of high performing companies surveyed globally (65 per cent and 61 per cent respectively). Those Canadian companies who have committed to the customer journey have seen positive impact on customers’ willingness to recommend products and services (75 per cent), overall customer engagement (74 per cent) and revenue growth (73 per cent).
Developing a customer journey strategy requires a strong and diverse toolkit. Here are three ways top performing marketers are implementing this journey across their organizations according to the report.
Integrate the customer experience. Customers view companies in a singular way and don’t tend to differentiate between departments or divisions: a brand is a brand is a brand. Yet, many companies continue to operate their sales, service and marketing operations in separate silos and view their customers from these disparate lenses. The State of Marketing report found that high-performing marketing teams are far more likely to cross boundaries between business units to take a single view of the customer in order to provide a seamless customer experience. In fact, it’s this high performing cohort of marketers that are 7.7 times more likely than underperforming teams that strongly agree they’re leading customer experience initiatives across the business. Achieving collaboration requires more than good intentions – it means having the right tools in place. The report shows that high performers are 3.3 times more likely than underperformers to use CRM solutions to bridge the gap and provide a single, shared view of the customer to marketing, sales and service teams. Conversely, more than a third (35 per cent) of under-performing marketing teams say they have no future plans to use CRM solutions. By providing a unified customer experience across all channels and touchpoints, companies are well ahead of the competition in the eyes of their customers.
Tap into technology. The report reveals that the top marketers are consistently those that keep up to speed with technology. In fact, 72 per cent of top teams indicated that they’ll increase spending on marketing tools and technology in the next two years, and of those, 48 per cent will increase spending substantially. What are they spending on? The report finds that high performers will outpace underperformers across the board when it comes to investing in technology like marketing analytics, predictive intelligence, marketing automation, data targeting and segmentation, and the employment of lean/agile methods. Additionally, the report shows that high performing teams are at least 13.7 times more likely than underperformers to pioneer marketing use cases with emerging technology, including IoT, podcasting, wearables and beacon technology. Having these tools on hand means having information about customers on hand and allows marketers to not only pivot and react quickly, but predict a customer pain point before it even happens.
Get personal with your advertising. While many marketers continue to target digital ads primarily with Web cookies, top performing marketers are moving beyond this impersonal, unreliable approach and are leveraging first-party customer data to create a more unique and personal experience. One way marketers do this is by taking CRM data in Salesforce and matching it against groups of Facebook users that align most closely with their current customers. This approach is much more likely to lead to conversion, with a study from last year revealing that these types of CRM-targeted campaigns have a 27 per cent higher engagement than traditional targeting. More than four-fifths (83 per cent) of the top teams surveyed are already using customer data such as email or phone information to segment or target digital ads.
By shifting mindsets, knocking down silos, and embracing technology, marketers have the ability to update their proverbial toolkit, allowing them to not only enhance a customer journey strategy but also catapult them ahead of the competition.
Vala Afshar is the Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce. In his current role, Vala collaborates with industry analysts and business thought leaders on opportunities for digital change.
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