Technology is a Vital Link to Customers

PersonalizationAre you preparing to be relevant to individuals used to get things done
on screens?

Any screen they chose to search, share, or involve and complete a transaction. Is your business ready for a marketplace of net natives?

Retailers have been doing e-commerce for years, but they now face a more intense customer expectation for a digital relationship that crosses store, Web and mobile channels, says Information Week#.  

How important is that integration? Drugstore giant Walgreens finds that a shopper using mobile, Web and store channels spends six times more than the typical store-only shopper.

Sephora offers a personalized experience that links direct email communications, mobile app, the Web, and its stores through its rewards program. In the process building a strong community through reviews and recommendations. (Even I signed up and when it comes to marketing at me, I'm made of Teflon.)

With mobile, customers are already blurring the line between digital and in store.

More than a mere trend, technology is becoming a vital link to customers in a number of industries, and not just for retail.

We've seen how marketing jobs of the future require analytics skills develop over the last five years. I used the expression continuous customer conversation, which I defined as a flow of constant awareness about where your customers are in their
preference cycle, and where you stand in the permission spectrum.

Do you
have the keys to the cellar or
only the foyer? Most importantly, when they unlock their account, or loyalty program room what is their experience? Think past the unlocking and into the room — actually beyond it, to the whole experience with your business. How is their life better because they signed up with you?

The Information Week article cites the results of a survey among CIOs, so its lens is focused on the information technology side of the house. Another discussion about the roles of CMO and CIO at William Mougayar's site skews the other way — the cloud empowered the CMO and minimized the role of the CIO.

Marketers do need to understand digital, behavioral/cultural taxonomy (we're in a
global competitive environment and growth is often across markets), and
social as a business lever, starting with an understanding of how to close the gap between what people say online and what they do, often still mostly offline.

It takes data, it takes time to build — and/or to integrate across systems — and yet it doesn't have to take forever to yield results because we live in a "both/and" world.

While classifying tactics in buckets makes it easier to highlight those possible through new-er channels, it is also an artificial division of activities many of which go across domains or have shifted into more personal types of communication sitting on top of intelligent platforms.

Take for example email — a direct and personal communication tool between customer and service representative. Rather than going away, it evolves into a repository of account history, for example, with prompts for next steps for advisors (with more than their fair share of customers to connect with) and a reminder of requests made for customers (with plenty of other things to think about).

Digital at the core means the business changes how it operates, and regardless of whose title wins at the top, the ability to ask the right questions, or the correct query set, to prove or disprove a theory, will be a prized skill.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.