The typical company has an array of disconnected technologies that serve specific functions, but rarely serve the greater good of the organization to the full extent possible. This is especially true within marketing, where teams and their technologies are often siloed by channel. This structure inhibits the marketing function’s ability to optimize its overall performance. In addition, marketers often lack access to data from other teams (e.g. sales, service) that could help them better personalize their communications and deliver a more relevant, personalized omnichannel customer experience.
In this age of customer empowerment, it’s imperative that marketers overcome their siloed technologies and processes to enable a more direct relationship with consumers. Currently, according research from Forrester, although 90 percent of organizations are focused on delivering personalized experiences, only 40 percent of shoppers say the information retailers provide is relevant to their interests.
The solution is to implement a real-time synchronous interaction model, supported by the single-point-of-control over data and real-time interactions, that will enable it. By using a customer experience platform to create a holistic view of the customer, marketers can gain that single-point-of-control over customer data and interactions and can overcome many of the challenges they currently have in meeting customers’ expectations.
Get to the Point
Single-point-of-control is an approach that combines people, process, and technology — supported by a customer experience platform — to enable a real-time, holistic customer view and support omnichannel marketing. Think of a customer experience platform as a central hub from which marketers can make decisions and then push them out to the channels. It’s a blend of equal parts data, decisioning, and intelligent orchestration. And it comprises a single point of control for aggregating and understanding customer data, as well as a single point of intelligent control over customer interactions that spans every enterprise touchpoint.
As consumers take more and more control of the purchase process, brands are at risk of increasingly losing control. It’s possible to create a balance by focusing on a two-way dialog with customers instead of simply ceding power to consumers.
The single-point-of-control approach to data and interactions is the foundation of that two-way dialog. By using a single-point-of-control to aggregate customer data, marketers can orchestrate personalized omnichannel experiences and create that virtuous cycle of iterative experience improvements as customers share more and more data over time.
Clearly, consumers want a dynamic path to purchase. Research from consultancy McKinsey & Company found that more than 50 percent of customer journeys are now multi-event and multichannel. Having a single-point-of-control over data and interactions allows marketers to create a unique path to purchase for each consumer. It also enables marketers to optimize consumers’ paths to purchase over time as they gather more data on customer behavior and preferences — and as those preferences change.
Building a single-point-of-control starts with bridging organizational, process, and technology silos that create friction in the path-to-purchase. Fortunately, these changes no longer require tearing down silos, completely overhauling processes, or ripping and replacing technology. The right technology enables building bridges to connect existing silos, and then taking a phased approach to making any necessary changes. For instance, begin with just two processes, such as acquisition and onboarding. Overlay technology that provides a single-point-of-control to create the links between those processes. Create a cross-functional team to address and related organizational and process changes.
The ideal technology to support a single-point-of-control is a customer engagement platform that comprises a customer data platform (CDP) and an interaction hub. A CDP is an enterprise solution that helps marketers know all that is knowable about their customers. That knowledge allows marketers to get a deep understanding of customers and recognize individual customers across multiple channels and interaction touchpoints. The interaction hub then enables marketers to deliver relevant, hyper-personalized offers whether customers are in a physical location, online, or on their mobile device. Empowered consumers become more engaged as the two-way dialog of information sharing that the engagement platform supports optimizes a path to purchase that is unique to them and is delivered in real time.
A robust customer engagement platform makes real-time one-to-one marketing a reality. There’s zero latency; it processes all data — batch and streaming, internal and external, structured and unstructured — in real time and uses machine learning to handle the personalization. It uses in-line analytics, which processes information while the customer is taking some action and provides the needed context (e.g. where they came from and where they are in their journey) to personalize and optimize their journey.
A customer engagement platform that uses an open-garden approach simplifies the orchestration of linking the data and technologies needed to personalize and optimize omnichannel customer experiences. It allows marketers to execute personalized customer journeys in the context and cadence of the customer. It also enables marketers to get more from and future-proof their technology investments.
According to Accenture Interactive, 80 percent of consumers polled say no brand has communicated with them in a way that was too personalized or invasive. Even within the 20 percent who did say a communication was too personal or invasive, half say they felt uncomfortable because they didn’t knowingly provide the data used in the communication.
Clearly, the majority of customers expect and enjoy personalized interactions with brands. It’s time for you to get personal with your consumers. A customer engagement platform can help.