In the last two years, everything has changed in digital marketing. Not only was there the obvious (the pandemic and its effects), but the global economic market and threat of recession. Add to that the constant state of change in technology and you have an environment that is at best, fluid and at worst, a complete cluster. As the world has changed, so have customer expectations – leading to today when customer centricity is no longer an option, it’s a demand. In fact, the organizations that are thriving in this new environment are those that have figured out how to put their customers at the center of literally everything they do.
If you’re feeling like your own go-to-market motions still have room to improve, here’s a look at how best in class organizations are thinking about customer centricity, the role technology plays, and what you can do to move your organization into the future by mastering your approach to both.
In order to put your customers front and center, you have to first back up a bit. The first piece of the puzzle is capturing all available digital signals throughout the customer lifecycle. Then, they must be centralized and made actionable. All of this needs to happen in a way that serves your organization’s go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Customer data platforms (CDP) have gotten a lot of attention recently because they can be used to connect these dots, but there’s a big caveat here: implementing a CDP and hoping for the best is fruitless. Instead, you need to start with your business’ and customers’ goals, and then architect your system and data strategy accordingly.
Marketers that are truly seeing value from CDP, first recognize that it’s not simply a marketing initiative, it’s an organizational data strategy. As such, it needs to serve the entire customer journey. These successful teams first map those journeys and then architect and operate engagement layers on top of CDP to facilitate the conversations they need to have with the buyer each step of the way. Just like Marketing Automation before it, the technical implementation of CDP either enables, or hinders, what can be built on top of it. Now is not the time to be short-sighted.
Connection and Dependency
One important note is that, disparate departmental level technology implementation only exacerbates silos. Look at what has transpired in the last decade. Marketing has a database, Sales has a database, then Finance, Product and on down the line. Everyone seems to have their own source of truth and engagement tool. Marketing is one dig dependency, and therefore tech stacks need to be architected at the business level – to ensure all of the buyers digital signals are captured, understood and actioned upon in one cohesive conversation. To achieve this, all departments need to be working together collaboratively and cohesively so that each input along the way, informs the next output. Everyone must come together to enable the conversations necessary in this new ecosystem. At Shift Paradigm we call this methodology of each element being purpose built to inform the next as Connected Delivery and it’s critical in ensuring that strategy sees the light of day as process and tactics.
Facilitating a Great Customer Experience
As you think about how to make your organization more customer-centric, remember that buyers are always changing. So, you can’t keep things static on your end and expect to create an excellent experience. Today’s high performing organizations are thinking about things like programs and campaigns, even budget on a quarterly basis, or less. The same goes for buyer insight as it’s critical to refresh your total addressable market (TAM), serviceable available market (SAM) and ideal customer profiles (ICP) regularly. Find out what’s mission critical to them and how your organization is critical to them. Then, make sure you have the infrastructure to facilitate the necessary conversations that guide them through the buyer journey.
Future-Proofing Your Business
By designing systems and platforms to ensure Data Fluidity along with implementing innovative technology like CDP with your buyers’ needs and business goals in mind, you’re creating one shared environment upon which you can layer any sort of engagement tools you need. The data you capture is frankly one of the largest assets in modern business, and will be used to fuel the conversations you need, whereas what you use to push those conversations out (e.g. marketing automation platforms) is becoming less relevant.
In the past, marketing platforms have all been point ecosystems. You’d have one database for your MAP, one for your CRM and so forth. But then you grow and migrate to a different solution and lose all of the action data around the buyer. CDPs fix this, future-proofing your business and protecting your data. It keeps the knowledge about your customer intact, and creates a highly valuable data asset that’s its own unique ecosystem.
The single best way to put your customer at the center of all you do is by using CDP to capture and catalog data at the organization level – but only if you’ve architected your data capture in line with your buyer knowledge, business goals and GTM strategy. When you do this, you can achieve true customer centricity.
In closing, perhaps the strangest twist given all of the change taking place is that after decades of promise, digital marketing has finally become, digital. But as this long awaited milestone is finally ushered in, the margin for error has shrunk exponentially. We’re simply no longer in the learning phase, instead it’s time to apply the trial and error learnings from the past decade and get to work.
If you want to apply this within your own organization, it’s time to embrace data fluidity and explore a thoughtful implementation of a CDP, then share access across your business. This is our specialty; we’d love to help you get started.