Advances over the last 10 years in social networks, e-commerce, and mobile devices now provide consumers with a degree of control, immediacy, and access that has completely upended their interactions with brands. Where brands may have once controlled the message through a limited number of channels, customers now have dozens of choices for how, when, and where interactions happen.
The abundance of choice has sparked increased consumer expectations for a real-time, seamless experience, which enterprises are ill-prepared to deliver because of their fragmented customer engagement technology stacks. This technology fragmentation has led to a gap between customer experience and expectations, which must be closed if marketers are to recapture lost business and increase long-term loyalty.
The Customer Engagement Struggle Is Only Getting Worse
Marketers have strained to keep up with the number of customer engagement touchpoints, adding new solutions to their stacks piecemeal over time. Recent research from the CMO Council (produced in partnership with Redpoint Global) puts this struggle into sharp relief: 42 percent of marketers have installed more than 10 new solutions in the past five years alone, with nine percent installing more than 20 new solutions in the same time frame.
Not all the new solutions have been in response to new touchpoints; 44 percent of marketers spend more than 25 percent of their budget ripping and replacing existing technology to improve their customer engagement efforts. Failing to integrate their marketing technology into a cohesive whole has led directly to an inability to engage effectively with today’s always-on, always addressable customer.
The problem is widespread. Only three percent of the marketers the CMO Council surveyed had a fully integrated marketing stack, which includes legacy solutions sharing data and insights seamlessly with new technologies. The remaining 97 percent have varying levels of success:
- 34 percent have limited connectivity with some manual work required
- 15 percent have total connectivity among newer tools, but no connection to legacy solutions
- 24 percent are working on connecting all systems and technologies
- 25 percent have little to no connection
Marketers have missed the mark on customer engagement because of their channel-specific approach to technology; only one percent of end consumers believe brands consistently meet their expectations, but 86 percent of end consumers say they would pay more for a better customer experience. This gap between customer experience and expectation costs brands up to $300 billion in lost revenue per year, according to research from Frost & Sullivan, most of which is tied to the fragmented customer engagement technology stack and the channel-specific data silos it creates.
Where a Customer Engagement Hub Fits In
Imagine a solution that provides a single point of control over data and operations, enabling brands to deliver highly personalized and consistent engagement across all touchpoints, all while allowing brands to keep existing technologies. That solution exists, and it’s called a customer engagement hub. Effective customer engagement hubs work as an overlay, such as the Redpoint Customer Engagement Hub™, which sits on top of the existing marketing stack. Customer engagement hubs unify data and allow interoperability with other solutions, but do not replace legacy technologies.
We call this an “open garden approach” to marketing technology, which contrasts with the “walled garden” of marketing clouds and all-in-one suites that often require companies to re-platform existing systems. Customer engagement hubs offer the ability to ingest all forms of data, regardless of structure, at either batch or streaming cadences, while also orchestrating contextually relevant interactions across the entire marketing stack. Because the hub adopts an open garden approach, the hub is faster to install than an all-in-one suite and even allows marketers to optimize their current technology stack and future proofs investments to take advantage of new innovations in customer engagement channels, devices, and networks.
The level of personalization and relevance enabled by customer engagement hubs has the potential to significantly impact revenue; Boston Consulting Group recently found that personalization in retail, healthcare, and financial services will push a revenue shift of $800 billion over the next five years to the 15 percent of companies who get it right.
The hub as a central point of operational and data control empowers marketers with the most complete customer information possible, enables them to leverage that information to interact with consumers regardless of touchpoint, and consistently engage in a seamless real-time manner. In this way, customer engagement hubs eliminate the fragmented marketing stack and empower marketers to close the gap between customer experiences and expectations.