How can companies create personal, one-on-one long-lasting relationships while deploying digital, automated technology that all but eliminates the human factor? Ahead of her session at TFM 2019, Payal Raina explains how businesses can use the latest marketing technologies to deliver powerful, seamless and personalised customer experiences
In 2020, customer experience (CX) will overtake price and quality as the key brand differentiator, according to a Walker Study.
Forward-thinking companies who have invested time, effort and resources into listening, understanding, and anticipating their customers’ future needs are going to be the winners of longer-term client commitment.
Today, consumers expect more from the brands they choose to follow and engage with and are demanding smarter and savvier experiences. Big businesses are using customer insight in elevating the customer experience but, marketing technology (MarTech) presents a unique challenge. How can companies create personal, one-on-one long-lasting relationships with customers while deploying digital, automated technology that all but eliminates the human factor?
The key is to deliver a fully integrated system that intersects marketing and technology to deliver the seamless experience the consumer is already expecting.
A centralised, cloud-based MarTech stack to streamline customer experience
Over the past decade, the number of commercially available MarTech stacks has grown by 4500 percent, from 150 separate MarTech stacks in 2011 to 7,040 in spring of 2019 according to chiefmartech.com.
The truth is that without an optimised MarTech stack, companies fail to deliver a consistent CX, leaving marketers feeling stranded. An all-in-one platform allows marketers to perform all of a company’s marketing solutions in one place with the same consistent look and feel, streamlines the process and ensures the customer is receiving an end-to-end seamless, well-designed experience.
The key technologies trending today are cloud, application programming interfaces (APIs) and microservices. Luckily, there are software-as-a-service (SaaS) management platforms that help marketing and IT staff consolidate and manage the entire MarTech stack. Bear in mind: a simplified internal process goes hand-in-hand with a positive customer-facing experience.
Although many marketers still prefer stacks that utilise different vendors, a centralised cloud-based MarTech stack designed to suit a company’s strategic needs provides significant advantages.
A cloud environment is fast to deploy, easier to maintain and more adaptable. It enables improved IT governance and resource allocation, allowing internal teams to focus where it matters most: The customer experience. Automation, which can create great efficiencies in processing speed, can only be enabled when systems are able to speak to each other easily.
While centralisation arms marketers with deeper and more meaningful insights into customer behaviour, it also enables them to engage in more efficient and effective marketing, creating a unified view of customers as opposed to the fragmented view that can come from choosing one of the 7,000+ separate MarTech stacks.
“When applied to digital advertising and marketing – such as programmatic ad buying – ML can supply personalised content, create e-commerce recommendations, and predict customer churn”
One-to-one marketing cannot be achieved without automation. Creating frictionless experience at scale across massive databases requires next-gen technology capable of handling enormous amounts of customer data and crunching out intelligent insights. Global marketing firms are using AI, machine learning (ML) and deep learning within their strategies to integrate the entire customer experience.
Through AI, marketers can analyse substantially more personalised data and create hyper-personalised experiences. According to research by VansonBourne, “a total of 65 percent of marketing leaders agree that their businesses are not mature enough when it comes to personalising their customers’ experience; a clear sign for the need of AI-driven CX.”
While ML and AI make predictions and decisions concerning intricate, non-linear patterns, ML can accommodate the whole spectrum of purchasing behaviour, rather than just reiterating a binary choice. And when applied to digital advertising and marketing – such as programmatic ad buying – ML can supply personalised content, create e-commerce recommendations, and predict customer churn.
As the VansonBourne report states: “Over three quarters (77 percent) of respondents acknowledged that their organisation needs support to implement and integrate machine learning, and support comes in the form of data,” while more than half (66 percent) of marketing leaders agreed that, “their businesses are not mature enough when it comes to data and analytics (57 percent the US vs 74 percent in the UK) and this disparity has the potential to slow AI adoption further.”
As automation and machine learning only work well when the available data can inform the correct decision, the C-suite must gather as many data points as possible to help make strategic decisions.
Transforming customer data into emotional connections
Building an emotional relationship with customers is paramount to CX success.
According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, “95 percent of our purchasing decisions are driven by emotion.” Customer emotions determine brand loyalty and attrition rate. It’s no secret that disruptive companies are already using emotional connections to drive superior CX.
Consumers expect relevant, relatable content catered to them irrespective of the channel and MarTech uses data to create emotional connections in real-time.
Uncovering and analysing human emotions are game-changers and businesses have started using it as a secret weapon to get inside customers’ heads to offer clients world-class experiences. For example, Disney has been using AI-powered algorithms and technology to determine how audiences experience its movies.
These techniques require advanced insight into customer journeys, and that’s the reason that applying AI and ML techniques in a CX lifecycle are essential for building intelligent connections.
For example, ‘Sentiment/Facial/Speech analysis’ is a powerful way to get customer feedback without their intervention. This approach uses algorithms to determine human emotions, body language and tone of voice on a specific topic/theme (whether it is neutral, negative or positive). Global brands like Unilever are using technology not only for customer purposes but also for hiring employees.
Analysing the emotions and making appropriate changes to optimise customer assistance at every stage of the journey can help marketers’ bond better and ultimately improve relationships with the customers.
To wrap up:
MarTech plays a key role in unlocking data, allowing marketers to understand the customer journey in greater detail and in near real-time, creating the opportunity for increased use of Al and ML to automate data monitoring and manage processes, which leads to better decisions to improve CX.
As MarTech catapults us into new dimensions of understanding and customer analysis, it is crucial to maintain a human element in customer acquisition and retention.
In this tech era, people crave human connections and will abandon brands that offer poor service or lacklustre marketing. When the customer experience is placed at the centre of every interaction, there is a greater opportunity to offer added value that can increase sales and maintain retention.
By using CRM, lead generation, and customer service MarTech tools, businesses can increase productivity, gain better data and insights, and engage customers consistently to create positive lasting impressions.
If you would like to learn more, then don’t miss my upcoming session at ‘Technology for Marketing’ event on 26th September 2019 in London, UK at 10:25 am on the topic “Leveraging MarTech to deliver frictionless CX.” I cannot wait for you to join over 15,000+ delegates globally. I look forward to seeing you there!
This article was first published by https://www.ecommerceexpo.co.uk/tfm