A Gartner, Inc. report from 2018 found that “52% of marketers with CX responsibility expect their budgets to remain the same or decrease … while expectations for the importance of CX are rising.” How do marketers address customer experience (CX) responsibility with less budget without giving up important technology needed for other aspects of marketing?
This research appears to demonstrate a clear truth: It is often easier to say something than to do it. I remember, a few years back, exploring CX at a health care company. We either had to cut a significant amount of our marketing tech stack or receive more budget. Which do think was more likely to happen?
We explored for months how to cut pieces of technology that overlapped, weren’t necessary anymore or that we couldn’t track the return on investment from. All of this to come to the realization that, by cutting those technologies, we might not be able to be as efficient internally.
So, how do business leaders start developing a customer experience strategy that keeps the engine of marketing running with the least amount of friction?
The answer, to me, is easy: Do nothing without input from customers.
I am fortunate enough to lead our marketing at CloudCherry, where we focus on the customer experience. I don’t focus on this topic because it is relevant to us as a company, but because, if we all do not shift our focus to the human experience of marketing and make efforts to provide memorable experiences, we will all be left behind by the consumer.
Your content, website, design, emails, etc., should have input from customers on what they want to get, not what you think they want or need.
Here are a few ways to align CX in your marketing.
Align technology to provide a better experience for your customers, not for you. As marketers, CX competes with current technology must-haves. Some of us don’t have a dedicated budget, but we’re asked to make it a priority. Find tech that complements the experience and doesn’t create friction points.
Take, for example, exit intent on a website. Do you like it when this happens to you? I hate it when I am shopping for business-to-business tech, but I love it when I am shopping for clothes for my wife. Definitely give me that extra 30% and free shipping — I’m all about it!
Just because there is a channel available to market on, doesn’t mean you should. Build the relationship with your customers so there is real value in what they engage with you on.
Let’s take your email automation, for example. It is meant to make it easier for you and other marketers, but it should never be at the expense of the customer. Emails blasting to thousands of people at a time (it doesn’t matter how great your content is), ads running with no value, calls being made with no context, etc. Give people value and you will get value in return.
The old saying “treat others the way you want to be treated” is cliché but true. I have 4,000 unread emails in my inbox — not on purpose. I don’t have time to click each one, let alone read them.
If you aren’t actually trying to listen to your customers to take action on what they say, what is the point? How do you listen to your customers and potential customers if you don’t have an avenue to capture the data when you do?
Implement small processes to poll people on your processes and functions within marketing. Ask them things like “How are we doing in marketing?” or “What would you like to see more of?” or “Tell us what you think about our brand and your experience?” I have had our sales development team ask questions like this in their opening statement with people, and I can’t tell you how amazing the feedback was.
Develop, design, innovate and adapt to change. Change is always occurring. Align your product to change with the trends to serve your customers.
One way to do this is to hold a quarterly customer session with your executives and current customers. Allow the forum to be totally open to pain points and challenges that customers are having. Let them have a voice and simply ask them, “What do you wish you had that we haven’t provided?
Are we, as marketers, the dog on Disney’s Up, distracted by a squirrel running by in mid-conversation? Are you doing marketing tactics just to say they are running?
We have to bring the focus and priority back to the customer in our marketing. The way I like to do this, with my team of 19, is by asking this question: “How does this benefit our customer?” I have never heard anyone suggest that this question is unfair or unreasonable. After all, who is our audience again? This can help us say “no” to things that really don’t benefit our audience.
6. Everyone Has Ownership
I find it fascinating to read comments from certain brands on their social media pages. You can truly tell if they take the customer experience seriously and if their marketing efforts and support align to that. It is fascinating to see a dozen comments of bad experiences with no responses, no signs of resolve with the brand and the customer and no efforts by the brand to help them.
In our digital world, these types of social media experiences can create the opposite of fans. People want to have a voice, so give them one that is mutually beneficial to your brand. Encourage customers to share their experiences, but be sure your team is there to engage with them and accept the feedback.
If we provide a memorable experience, the question “how do we do this and still hit numbers?” goes away. The lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, revenue percentage, etc., in marketing will likely be better. Those fans may be your best marketing ever. Be genuine and you win.