Business Transformation is Pulling Ahead of CX

Customers are the lifeblood of business. Companies say they want to provide customers with solutions, and many do, but to dumb things down to their simplest component, customers need to buy things for companies to survive. And with more choices, lower prices, and shinier marketing, the customer is flooded with more choices that are becoming increasingly personalized. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, CMOs might be moving away from customer experience and on to something else — business transformation.

It may seem like senior and C-suite marketers are swapping out one set of buzzwords for another, but there may be some merit for doing so. According to research by Denstu Aegis, marketers are well aware of the challenges that face them and understand what they are tasked with: increasing the bottom line for their businesses. Easier said than done. More customers buying things means the company makes more money. But that process —  providing excellent customer experiences, may be giving way to something else entirely. According to the research, customer experience is set to decline to the point where only 47 percent of CMOs will say CX will be a top three priority by 2022. 2019 is more than halfway done.

I wrote yesterday that the marketer’s journey is becoming much less linear, but I didn’t really go into significant detail as to why that is the case. Here’s the reason why, or at least part of it: in order to construct an integrated solution that incorporates data, a marketing stack, and a marketing strategy that aligns correctly with overall strategic initiatives, marketers must create an effective ecosystem that attracts and retains customers at a consistent pace.

In other words, it’s not as simple as sitting in front of a software solution fiddling with digital knobs and levers, trying to get people between the ages of 25-34 to purchase more magenta cashmere sweaters. It’s a more fundamental mindset shift than that. Marketers are now expected to be like CEOs of mini-startups in larger business, with a hustling attitude and an ability to scale. The name of the startup game is creating value in cold hard cash, and you do that by having white-hot demand from a devoted customer base.

But how do you earn this devotion? Aside from asking customers to shave their heads, wear white tunics, and chant the name of your brand, how do you convince them that you need them?

Simple: convince them they can’t live without you. For example, I spent the first 24 years or so of my life without Uber. I walked, took taxis, or subways to get where I needed to go. But now, I’m convinced that I cannot function without Uber. They’ve penetrated my decision loop, and I incorporate them. And I don’t think I’ve seen a single digital ad for Uber itself. I have seen plenty of ads for Uber Eats, which I’ve used in the past but no longer. Why? Because when I lived in Arlington, Virginia and ordered from the nearby McDonald’s, they always got my order wrong. Not only was I sad not to get my Oreo McFlurry, I felt like I didn’t matter. So now I just use it for rides.

Marketers may need to go beyond providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience: they need to incorporate their products into customers’ lives to the point where they are indispensable. To achieve this, marketers must find the opening in their customer’s lives, and find a way to fit into it. So instead of standing out from the crowd, brands can better learn how to fit into customers’ lives.

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