Customers Want a Personalized Experience. Can Marketers Deliver?

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Customers Want a Personalized Experience. Can Marketers Deliver?
Customers Want a Personalized Experience. Can Marketers Deliver?

There's a revolution happening in business: More and more companies are making customer centricity truly central to their operations. They're transforming their organizations to put customers at the core— restructuring staff, reengineering processes, altering compensation plans, and breaking down silos to do it. And marketing is changing as a result, said Merkle CMO and EVP Craig Dempster when we recently spoke about marketing trends.

“We're seeing an increase in engagement campaigns,” Dempster said, citing companies in consumer goods and electronics among those firms shifting more of their marketing toward customer engagement.

Along with this growing interest in customer experience and engagement marketing is an increasing affinity for analytics, and a renewed interest in using data to drive marketing performance, Dempster noted. But all is not rosy.

“The data is there to create personalized experiences, but what are those experiences going to be?” he asked. “Marketers don't know; they haven't caught up.”

This is understandable, Dempster said, because personalization in term of customer experience is complex. “Marketers need to create customer experience journey maps based on personalization,” he said. “The customer experience needs to be consistent across channels, and need to have a payoff for both the company and the customer.”

In other words, customer experience isn't a nice-to-have; as with their other marketing efforts, marketers need specific, measurable goals for customer experience initiatives and any related customer engagement marketing campaigns. “Integrated customer experience is the next mile,” Dempster said. “But marketers need to travel that mile [sidestepping] the constraints of what exists today. They need to think differently—about silos, measurement, attribution, marketing channels—to get to tangible results.”

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