Brands must carefully plan how to advance customers through each stage of their lifecycle. Marketers must develop a consistent, repeatable approach toward optimizing customer experience. One such engagement framework is:
- Listen: Recognize customers and their interactions across an ever-expanding range of traditional, digital, mobile and social channels.
- Analyze: Develop new insights about customer behavior and preferences using advanced tools and methods.
- Plan: Leverage best practices and strategies for managing campaigns and programs.
- Speak: Deliver personalized interactions using state-of-the-art tools for coordinated, cross-channel experiences.
Of course, companies will have different takes on framework pillars. The point is not the names or number of components; rather, it is that a single construct is embraced by the entire organization, providing a methodical approach for implementing end-to-end marketing initiatives — all centered on individuals.
Decisions should be made with an eye toward value added within each area and overall impact on a customer’s brand experience. This is not just a linear series of steps but an ongoing process to be repeated across channels, over time and throughout the life cycle.
Applying it effectively, however, requires an objective view of the organization’s execution capabilities, marketing prowess and ability to innovate. Marketers should adopt a structured means of assessing a level of marketing sophistication, identifying opportunities for improvement and building a plan for “moving up the curve.” Major capability milestones and associated characteristics include:
- Channel execution: Focus on getting messages delivered effectively across channels and connecting data sources.
- Channel optimization: Aim to increase results within channels and build solid processes and automation.
- Multichannel marketing: Be present and active in multiple channels, coordinate messages and offers, and move toward a single contacts database.
- Cross-channel optimization: Be consistent and coordinate across channels. Shift your focus from outbound campaigns to interaction management. Communications should be coordinated and correlated, and personalized based on consumer profile and the context of interactions. You should function with a full understanding of revenue and outcome causation.
Dave Duszynski is the director of sales support and client relations at Experian Marketing Services.