We are starting a new round of the “Expert Talk” series on our blog. Here, we let experts from the digital industry have their say. With contributions on the topics of customer experience, personalization, and much more, they provide tips and tricks for improving the shopping experience along the entire customer journey. Today with a guest post by Fabian Bologna, Consultant at valantic CX.
Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve can no longer avoid the much-discussed discipline of customer experience (CX). The expectations that the connected world creates for a company on the part of consumers are huge. Since a contemporary CX is inconceivable without the appropriate technologies, technology offerings are constantly growing. The result: a jungle of technologies that can only be tapped with the right mentality. This is clearly illustrated by the example of marketing technologies, or MarTech for short.
MarTech is more than just marketing and technology
Digitization is transforming society and changing companies and organizations substantially. This is nothing new, as corporate change has never taken place in a vacuum. What is “new” is that technology issues have been increasingly coming to the fore for years and are now particularly taking over marketing. Whereas for decades creativity reigned supreme, nowadays, it can no longer take hold without the right technology.
This raises two questions:
- What competencies must be brought in and gained to create the path to a holistic customer experience through modern marketing?
- And how can companies create the right space to successfully follow this path?
These questions can be answered by gaining an understanding of the essence: What is customer experience by MarTech actually all about? Simply put, it’s data. Data of any kind and type. Master data, behavioral data, consent data and more. If an organization wants to make the leap to the growing consumer expectations, it has to transform to data-driven work. And this path leads us straight into the technology jungle – in this case the MarTech jungle.
Expedition into the MarTech jungle: a transformative journey
It should be clear that an expedition team moving into the MarTech jungle embarks on this journey with a long-term ambition. The goal is not to explore the landscape and finish the journey after believing they have succeeded. Creating a holistic customer experience through a data-driven approach is not about a one-time salvage of a coveted treasure. Instead, it is about acquiring tangible competencies based on the milestones that grant long-term access to the treasure. These competencies can be defined along the buyer and customer journey:
- User Identification
- Consent Management & Identity
- Data Consolidation
- Data Segmentation
The objective only becomes tangible when all competencies have been mastered. The question is: Where should we start? Without concrete use cases, the competencies as such are ultimately only part of the foundation of an initial settlement in the MarTech jungle.
Diversity in the MarTech jungle: Of data and use cases
As previously described, not all data is the same. Learning how to use data effectively for a holistic customer experience requires a consistent understanding. Being able to identify a user on your own website is different from being able to optimize your online offering based on user behavior, or even being allowed to do so at all. The various pieces of information needed form the basic fabric of the flora and fauna in the MarTech jungle. They are the essence that gives the individual terrains their form and property. The terrains can thus be understood as disciplines of Data-Driven Marketing. The largest and most important disciplines in the topography of the MarTech jungle are as follows
- Consent Management
- Customer Data and Engagement
- Customer Feedback
- Customer Loyalty
Whether and how far a terrain should be developed is only a question of time as we move towards a holistic customer experience: holistic is to be understood in a holistic way. Depending on the maturity of the business model and the associated industry of a company, as well as on the basis of other factors, concrete approaches can be derived for the starting point and the route.
The expedition team and the first settlement
The first objective, the establishment of a settlement on one of the described terrains, depends on who is actually starting the journey. The first objective is to establish a new organization on a greenfield site, as the increasing number of MarTech providers makes the landscape more and more like a jungle, and the existing organization does not allow for a sudden ad-hoc change. The evolved structures of an organization must always be taken into account when putting together the expedition team, and the settlements that are to be built must be tailored to the circumstances of the entire organization that is to be followed. Tools and building materials are needed. Being attracted to promising silo capabilities alone may be tempting. If, for example, technological enablement is considered without the functional and organizational aspects, such an initial settlement will not survive the first quake, the first storm, unscathed. The light-footedness of a Sunday stroll in the sunshine will then result in the safe sinking of valuable resources. And, as we all know, these are in short supply, especially with regard to developer resources in the IT environment.
To achieve the desired result unerringly and reliably, organizations must act as one. MarTech and the marketing of the future are not just a question of technology; organizational and functional enablement must also be thought of in tandem. Which means that, at best, all business units are involved in the process. Probably the most important are the IT, sales, service and marketing departments. Last but not least, on another level, the general business roadmap must be considered with fundamental issues such as product and service development. In this context, the production and distribution process with all its data cannot be ignored. If this effort is mastered, however, a glittering prize beckons: the transformation to a data-driven organization which, in times without 3rd party data and cookies, can master the challenges in marketing on the basis of its own insights and self-acquired skills.
About the Author
As a consultant at valantic CX, Fabian deals with a wide range of individual challenges in the implementation and strategic use of customer engagement technologies on a daily basis. Before joining valantic, Fabian worked for one of the world’s leading media holding companies, advising a wide variety of brands in the FMCG, telecommunications, entertainment and more sectors on the transition of communication and brand strategies into media strategies. His heart beats for customer engagement technologies and holistic CRM, as empowering organizations and their employees from within, is the pillar of successful transformation into the digital 21st century.