The rise of consumer reviews, market reviews by clients, and social media influencers, means that companies can easily lose control of how their brands are viewed in the marketplace. Companies are increasingly participating in social media, analysing social conversations and evaluating ways to influence and increase brand perception. The customer experience for brands is driven by consequence: when customers have a good experience they continue to engage with the brand; if the experience is bad they disengage, often telling others about their disappointment and spreading a message of general discontent.
This makes for some pretty precarious brand relationships. However, the issue that so far no-one seems to be addressing is that the very notion of the customer experience is fundamentally flawed. Marketing leaders see customer experience as their number one priority, but they are rarely in control of all of it, or even enough of it to make a difference. Organisations calling themselves customer experience experts encourage companies to increase the number of transactional messages, but is this really leading to better, worthwhile and relevant experiences for the customer?
The fact is that global use of adblockers is rising while trust in brands is rapidly declining. What then is the answer? To start with, people must be respected as human beings with fairly low thresholds for unwanted buying messaging. The transactional experience previously locked into consumption and category gives way to one that connects with culture and allows for meaningful, useful and relevant communication, with the selling left to the right place and the right time.
If the human experience is the answer, how do we get there? The brain is an astonishingly connected piece of hardware. As much as we may try and separate it into left and right hemisphere, or occipital and frontal lobes, or neocortex and limbic system, every part of the human brain is connected to another part to improve its understanding and response towards any situation. This connection ensures an integrated response, a mix of logical and emotional consideration, instinct and intelligence.
The interconnectedness of the brain serves as a model for understanding how to create better, balanced and truly human experiences for brands. Approaching any experience with a whole-brain mentality means finding a way to connect everything with everything, from consumption to category to culture. Now consider once again the classic customer experience — an experience that ushers customers through the consumption and category phases of their relationship with a brand, but stops short of connecting to the culture of the wider life they lead.
Without the insight and intelligence required to understand the implications — the consequences — of the brand experience, the experience itself breaks or, worse, is biased towards buying rather than being. This is the fundamental reason why customer experiences are disconnected.
We need to move to the age of human, to human-centricity where what the human wants and needs can be fully, relevantly connected to the relationship that brands want to have. Not every sector is using digital marketing to the same extent. In the past 10 years, companies in the technology, media and telecommunications, professional services and financial services sectors have generally undergone greater digital transformation than consumer goods and industrial companies.
Our survey indicates that within the consumer goods sector, 65 per cent of companies spent less than a quarter of their marketing budget on digital. By contrast, 45 per cent of respondents in professional services firms said that digital takes over half of their marketing budget.
Whole Brain Marketing
While all the marketing leaders we spoke with agreed that digital will significantly shape the future of marketing, many saw traditional marketing as still vital, and urged caution in being too technology- focused. The good news is that even the big guys e. It is difficult for a company to accrue data on customers they do not sell to directly. Unless the company forms partnerships with retail chains and similar channels, the data remains with the intermediary. Applied to marketing, these terms are somewhat useful in describing what feels like a division of intellect in the marketing function.
Left- brain thinkers are seen as fact- based, data- oriented, rational, logical, workhorses. Right- brain creative marketers may find it daunting to make use of the great proliferation of data, the disciplines of zero- based budgeting, and the need to demonstrate ROI. They would offer the full armoury of creative and analytical skills; be shrewd, agile and culturally sophisticated commercial operators who are calculating and rational, yet visionary and intuitive.
Such people are rare and extremely valuable. Rarely do marketers possess all these qualities. A digital native with extensive training in data analytics may not yet have the experience to provide marketing wisdom and depth of insight. Experienced traditional marketers may feel displaced by the amount of value placed on data analytics. To create an optimal mix of skills in the marketing function, leaders need the self- knowledge to understand where their own natural bias lies — towards logic or magic, so to speak — and be willing to cultivate new skills and understanding within the organisation, as well as to look externally for talent.
CMO and CDO need to think digitally
Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said that they would need to combine developing their existing team with hiring expertise from outside sources. It is not always easy to hire and retain the talent required. Our best people are aggressively headhunted. We hire young Europeans with strong academic credentials who understand brand proposition. Increasingly, we are also looking for highly specialised skills in the area of artificial intelligence AI and advanced analytics. A study by the CMO Council found that 80 per cent of marketers and 88 per cent of IT professionals believe that working together is critical to ensure customercentricity.
Micha Medendorp, chief marketing officer of Rituals, concurs.
Actian Solution and Product Portfolio
Some companies help to foster understanding within their groups by as much cross- exposure as possible. Cigna does a lot of test- and- learn around ideas, big and small, as well as sending out problem statements to the entire organisation and inviting responses from their 35, people. This same flexibility is expressed by Massimiliano Benedetti, chief marketing officer of online fashion retailer Yoox. He too finds that internal job rotation fosters the development of both analytic and creative approaches to marketing decisions.
Indeed, Benedetti has experienced first- hand the benefits of learning to think in ways far outside his initial training, as his own background was as an engineer. His initiation into the fashion industry, attending shows and getting to know designers and entrepreneurs, required significant adjustment. This can make it difficult to trust and understand the output of big data approaches and to convince others of the value and accuracy of the insights the tools produce. Marketers can reduce the mystery around big data — and increase buy- in — in a number of important ways.
First, by building capabilities that are intrinsically reinforcing and relatively easy to use. Second, by providing a number of smaller applications for using advanced analytics data that demonstrate its value and invites buy- in across functions. Finally, by collaborating with other functional leaders on which questions the organisation should be trying to answer with data, and creating transparency around the process. Because digital technology can expand radically the scope and power of marketing, it is easy to imagine any digital initiative as an improvement.
However, data is only as valuable as the intelligence applied to it. And as previous competitors, it was much to my surprise that we had been very like minded in the decade leading up to this merger.
Both Unica and Coremetrics had been working in parallel to make sure web analytics delivered not just reports for optimization but also provided individual customer insights for refining relevancy of marketing messages. This tight integration is the secret sauce that enables our users to execute more relevant digital marketing campaigns driven by analytics. The IBM Coremetrics suite inherits this product design from the Coremetrics side where this combo had been available for years while other vendors were merely talking about it in Powerpoint presentations.
This is being achieved thanks to experience and technology assets coming from Unica NetInsight OnDemand. Not only can marketers extend their analytical lens by combining online and offline insights using the new IBM Coremetrics Multichannel Analytics add-on , but now they can also target digital marketing execution programs, e. All marketers have web metrics available to them. Competing on analytics requires us to be cleverer with our use of analytics than the next marketer.
Our customers also have another growth path to go from analytics to digital marketing execution, and from there to integrations with their enterprise e.
- Unlocking the power of big data in new product development;
- Data, creativity and the leadership challenge.
Now the ball is in your court. How are you going to put all these multichannel analytics and digital marketing opportunities into the race for beating out your competition? Existing NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics customers, please keep your eyes peeled for further information by email.
Using Big Data to Build an Integrated Voice of the Customer Program: A 6-Step Guide
Please register for the upcoming customer-only launch webinars. There is no requirement to move to the combined solution immediately. IBM plans on continuing support of the existing Unica NetInsight OnDemand and Coremetrics versions into the future, accompanied by the same industry leading service and support you have come to expect.
IBM believes there are compelling components in the combined release that are meaningful and important to your business. In the launch webinars, you will learn about all the great business benefits that our Unica NetInsight OnDemand customers that upgrade will have available. For example, all customers can use their current and new release in parallel during their upgrade process. Please keep an eye on Unica.