Research from Gartner shows that best practices in customer-centricity often yield greater than 20 percent increases in response rates. Best practices include using transactional, preference and historical data along with behavior across devices, IoT and sentiment analysis, and data of every type and from every source in order to deliver a personalized, omnichannel customer experience.
Firm evidence that customer-centricity drives new revenue explains why marketing is increasingly viewed as a mission-critical organization, aligned with overarching enterprise goals. Digital transformation acceleration spurred by short-term and long-term disruptions make it even more important to personalize the customer experience, and further elevate marketing as a partner to the enterprise. As such, marketing technology – particularly mission-critical, customer experience software – is no longer relegated to marketing as the traditional sole user/buyer. Rather, a strong collaboration between IT and marketing is a necessary foundation for creating a digital experience platform.
Be Ready When Disruption Strikes
Because customer data has always been associated with high value and high risk, a marketing-IT collaboration is not an entirely new proposition. A myriad of disruptions that alter the customer experience landscape and bring customer experience to the forefront simply increase the urgency. Disruptions include Amazon’s imprint on traditional brick-and-mortar retail, a shift to a service economy, GDPR, CCPA and other privacy compliance mandates, and the demise of the third-party cookie, among other factors. Overshadowing all of these challenges is the immediate disruption caused by COVID-19.
Each of these factors heighten the need to interact with customers with relevance and consistency across multiple digital channels, while using data in accordance with an individual’s preferences and recognizing the customer as the ultimate authority of the customer journey. In this context, the capabilities of a data-driven, digital customer experience platform must clearly exceed tasks traditionally assigned to “small m” marketing – the shiny new toys, if you will, that might offer incremental, single-channel or single-campaign enhancements.
New Partners, New Roles
If we accept the premise that a digital experience hub is becoming a mission-critical platform, then this clears up some questions around how IT and marketing should partner to deliver on the promise and opportunity of a digital customer experience.
With marketing now operating on equal footing with the enterprise and no longer independently pursuing departmental or local means to its own ends (stitching together identities, scattershot collection of customer data, etc.), IT’s role is to cement the new partnership by owning the enterprise aspects of the underlying customer experience platform. This includes tasks and capabilities such as reliability, security, locality and universality that ensure that a digital experience hub is properly designed to deliver high availability, scalability and high performance.
IT must also own the quality parameters and customer-facing metrics of the business. With customer experience in the enterprise fold, IT must be responsible for making sure that those previous independent tasks (data collection, etc.) have an enterprise purview, and will thus meet customer requirements for a consistent, seamless experience beyond traditional marketing interactions. IT becomes the ultimate arbiter of ensuring that the quality, consistency and performance of information used for such purposes are adequate to the task.
Collaboration Unlocks Ambition
What role does that leave for marketing as a “first among equals” organization largely responsible for driving new revenue? With IT delivering the data-driven customer experience hub, marketing is better equipped to seek out innovative use cases. With tools, people, and processes in place to enable digital transformation, marketing can dive into what it really means to understand the cadence of the customer, to map the omnichannel customer journey, and to build the automated machine learning models that will be necessary to meet the particular goals of each innovative use case.
Marketing must, in other words, break out of a “business as usual” mindset, shifting its primary focus to gaining a deep understanding of a customer’s needs and wants as they relate to an omnichannel journey. Operationally, this will – or should – replace traditional spray and pray strategies with more thoughtful, more experimental and more measurable ways of interacting with a customer with consistent relevance. This “agile marketing” mindset also requires that IT itself goes beyond “Big IT” project to deliver a fast, flexible and customer-friendly development and deployment model to avoid forcing marketing to slow down innovation.
The need for IT and marketing to partner in driving a digital customer experience stems from an acceleration of short-term and long-term digital disruption, which alters long-standing roles. The partnership strengthens when each player adopts somewhat new roles; IT’s responsibility is to ensure the underpinnings and the customer, organization and jurisdictional requirements of the digital experience are met, and marketing’s responsibility is to become more forward-looking, agile and flexible as it makes the delivery of a consistently relevant, personalized customer experience its main focus.
By bringing these elements together, an enterprise’s digital transformation initiative will meet customers where they are through the current disruptions, and through disruptions to come over the next decade. Redpoint recognizes the challenges brought on by an emergence into a data-driven, digital-first new reality, which is why rg1 was built from the ground up as the enterprise-ready, digital experience platform of record that fosters a strong partnership between marketing and IT in pursuit of ambitious customer experience goals.
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