Customer experience continues to take center stage within a growing majority of B2B organizations. The change is so apparent in organizations that Gartner has reported that more than 50% of organizations will make significant business model changes in their efforts to deliver customer experience. These changes and focus should come as no surprise as Forrester has reported that 72% of businesses have stated that customer experience is their “top priority”.
As a means of delivering on the promise of customer experience, many organizations are tapping the CMO to lead the charge. This fundamentally changes the role of the CMO who, if indeed is responsible for customer experience, now also wears the hat of the Chief Customer Officer.
In order to fulfill this new mandate, CMOs and their teams, as shown in the Gartner Research, are looking to implement new process and procedures, gain deeper insights into their customers, acquire new skills and adopt a more data driven mindset. However, there are also things that marketing teams would benefit from stopping and in so doing would be in a better position to deliver customer experience. Below is a list of three things marketers should stop doing in order to deliver marketing experience.
Stop Creating More Content
According to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ latest content research study, 91% of B2B organizations state they are using content marketing and 38% of the respondents stating they will increase their spend on content marketing in the next 12-months. However, only 24% of the respondents stated they would rate themselves as “very” or “extremely” successful at achieving organizational success with their content marketing. This may be why, according to the Content Preferences Study by DemandGen Report that only 34% of B2B buyers are “willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy”.
Delivering customer experience is not ever going to be achieved by turning up the volume on the content machine. What will make a difference, however, is delivering timely and relevant content based on the full end-to-end customer journey. This necessitates the following:
Understanding the end-to-end customer journey
Knowing what roles within the customer are involved at every stage of the journey
Tailoring the content for every customer stage and touch point
Rather than just creating more content, CMOs and their marketing teams should put their monetary and time investments into creating the right content which will result in improved customer experience.
Stop Viewing Sales As Your Customer
Two weeks ago I was in a conversation with a marketing director answering the question, “who is marketing’s customer?” During the conversation, he sent an email to his CEO and CMO asking that question. The two replies came back with the same answer, “sales is your customer.” That is the wrong answer.
Who is the customer of marketing? THE CUSTOMER!
Numerous research studies have shown that B2B customers and buyers are no longer as reliant on sales as in the past due to the access they have to information. Additionally, customer experience extends far beyond a customer’s purchase experience.
If B2B marketers want to be successful in leading their customer experience initiative, the mindset of sales as the customer must change. Rather than serving the needs of sales, they need to begin to focus on the needs of their customers and enable sales to do the same.
While many still hold fast to the belief that marketing’s function is to serve sales, the organizations that are growing and will win are those who understand marketing’s need to serve the customer; the same customer that sales is selling to.
Stop Housing Your Data In Silos
According to Oracle, the average B2B organization has 15 different marketing technologies. The challenge with these technologies is that many house their own database and not all are integrated, which makes it nearly impossible to have a data driven, single view of the customer. Without a holistic view of the customer, it is not possible for an organization to be able to meet customer expectations and the experience will eventually be disrupted.
While many organizations still have a myriad of data silos; CMOs need to begin the process of migrating to a Customer Data Platform (CDP) as a means of synchronizing their data to get a complete look into their customer. To quote Kyle Duford, VP of Digital and E-commerce for Doc Martens, having a full view into your customer’s data is the “difference between treating people ‘like targets and clicks’ versus ‘like individuals.’”
Data is foundational to delivering a great experience across all customer touch points. When it resides in different systems and there is no single source of truth and no data governance process, customer experience will suffer.
According to Walker research, by the year 2020 “Customer Experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator”. Given this reality, CMOs need to shed some of the thinking and tactics of the past and develop new approaches and skills to drive customer experience that will lead to revenue growth.