Digital channels move at the speed of social: THINKING about CXM

Executive SummaryConsumers expect any brand communications to happen as quickly as communications in social networks.  With the ultimate goal of increasing customer engagement, new tools and practices calle Customer Experience Management are emerging to help brand marketers observe, orient, decide and act in the digital channel. Taking advantage of these new developments will help brands increase sales and satisfaction in a fast paced, multichannel environment.

Many companies are beyond thinking of CRM as a solitary outbound messaging tool. As social networks reached mainstream usage, companies were forced to develop faster communication strategies to accommodate clients’ and consumers’ expectations for personalized, rapid attention.

Not only have social channels sped up expectations, they have also become the trusted source of news, information and product recommendations. According to Eldelman’s , “Social media, which consists of social networking sites, content-sharing sites, blogs, and microblogging sites, saw the biggest percentage increase (75 percent) in trust among media sources.”

Social media is more than marketing communications… Social media is really about engaging communities in new ways to achieve otherwise impossible business value. It is about strategy. It is about thriving, surviving or disappearing in a new age of human behaviors fueled by mass collaboration.

Carol Rozwell,
Gartner, VP Distinguished Analyst

The Age of the Customer & Splinternet

Empowered buyers demand a new level of customer obsession.

As companies grapple with the speed of social, one thing emerges across all category segments: we have entered the age of the customer.  Today’s empowered customer can communicate brand likes and dislikes at an alarming speed, and the potential reach of one well-connected individual can be in the millions.  Today’s brands must meet consumers in the stream of social conversations. Brands must find ways to connect with and engage their customers in ways that build trust, delight and evangelism.

Forrester’s Josh Bernoff defines this level of relationship as “customer obsessed.” A customer obsessed company invests in four areas:

  1. real-time customer intelligence;
  2. customer experience and customer service;
  3. sales channels that deliver customer intelligence;
  4. useful content and interactive marketing.

If this seems pedestrian and obvious it is, but not when viewed against our second dimension, Splinternet.

In May 2011, Webtrends commissioned Forrester Consulting to study the phenomenon frequently referred to as the “Splinternet.” Forrester’s study yielded three key findings:

  • The Splinternet disrupts the marketing landscape. Technology and channel fragmentation are a very real phenomenon; marketers know that adapting to a multichannel environment is critical and are racing to understand the effect of the Splinternet.
  • Marketing strategies need a reboot. Firms must take a fresh look at their foundational strategies to evaluate how they will create mutually beneficial relationships with customers in light of new channels, technologies, and the expectations of sophisticated consumers.
  • Multichannel success requires mastery of multiple disciplines. Firms must take a multidisciplinary approach to harnessing the opportunities that the Splinternet presents. Technology, organization, process, and measurement are all interrelated contributors to a marketing organization’s effectiveness.

The age of the customer and the challenges of Splinternet combine to present marketeers with a host of new technical challenges but also offer the hope of attaining a new level of understanding, dialog and influence with their consumers.

Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management is a concept that describes how we are integrating all dialogues with our audience. The idea is to have a central marketing hub that holds information about the interactions that an individual has had with your brand. It encompasses your website, your mobile app, your e-mail channel, and any other online (or occasionally offline) channels that you might hookup to it.  Ruud Verstraeten, iMediaConnection

Finding success in digital marketing initiatives has always been a cross-discipline effort. With the requirements of social speed and the vast array of digital channels the challenge continues to grow, simply staying on top of each channel can be a daunting task. Managing campaigns across channels and measuring individual customer needs may seem out of reach.

“In response, a new concept in marketing has appeared. It’s called Customer Experience Management (or CXM for short). And while it may be a new concept, the principles behind it have existed for a long time. Now, however, the tools and techniques to deliver on the promise are new and powerful, and rapidly emerging and evolving, making CXM truly possible for the first time.

CXM requires web content management, on-site search, commerce, customer service interaction management, marketing automation, analytics, testing, optimization and personalization to deliver Forrester’s vision of CXM. To truly deliver a strong customer experience that maximizes business results, you need to understand what your customers want, and deliver them a one on one experience and relevant offers across channels and touchpoints, when they want it.”

CXM components as defined by Forrester

The New Rules of Engagement

The term engagement first found its way into the mainstream in a Forrester article from August 8, 2007 called “Marketing’s New Key Metric: Engagement,” by Brian Haven. Haven called for a new method for analyzeing customer interactions with brand communication pieces. He stated, “We believe that marketers need a new approach to understanding customers and prospects. This new type of measurement — engagement — encompasses the quantitative metrics of site visits and transactions, the qualitative metrics of brand awareness and loyalty, and the fuzzy areas in the middle best characterized by social media.”

“Engagement goes beyond reach and frequency to measure people’s real feelings about brands. It starts with their own brand relationship and continues as they extend that relationship to other customers. As a customer’s participation with a brand deepens from site use and purchases (involvement and interaction) to affinity and championing (intimacy and influence), measuring and acting.”

The four parts of engagement build on each other to create a holistic picture.

  • Involvement: an individual’s relationship with a company or brand, visits to a site or a physical store, time spent per page, and pages viewed. Often the first point of interaction an individual has with a brand.
  • Interaction: individuals contribute content about a brand, provide contact information, or make a purchase. Interaction measures actions. ·
  • Intimacy: the affection an individual holds for a brand, likes, shares, opinion or perspective. Intimacy can be tracked in real time, providing the opportunity to correct a problem or seize an opportunity.
  • Influence: individual’s likelihood to encourage a fellow customer to consider or buy a brand, product, or service.

Take control of your Digital Channel

THINK specializes helping brands satisfy consumer expectations across multiple communication channels.  In leveraging CXM, brands can confidently navigate today’s fragmented communication channels and ultimately create a higher, more profitable level of customer engagement.