Kazuki Ohta, CEO and co-founder, Treasure data.
During periods of inflation and recession, such as the one we are experiencing today, business leaders tend to develop conservative mindsets. There is a common, natural mindset that people adopt where they believe that the company cannot afford to innovate or devote dwindling resources to customer loyalty. While cutting costs in areas such as investing in technology and marketing may have been considered sound financial decisions in previous eras, both should be considered non-starters in today’s experience economy. In short, companies really can’t afford to retreat from digital spaces now that online platforms serve most customer touchpoints.
Many of today’s brands have formally implemented customer-centric positioning across their entire organization, and some have even backed it up with material commitments of talent, technologies and infrastructure. This explains why so many companies have seamlessly transitioned into the online world and supports the idea that if businesses lose their customer focus, then the entire business collapses. Brands need to meet customers where they are, and they can’t do that with a makeshift technology stack and budget. Instead of cutting back on marketing and data investments to weather inflationary and recessionary threats, companies should strive to optimize their marketing and customer experience (CX) offerings so loyal customers stay happy and keep coming back.
Establishing Customer Centricity
Every buyer’s journey is unique, and tracking and optimizing the consumer journey requires a customer-centric mindset and approach. Brands and companies often have a good sense of what messages and content resonate with target audiences, but they don’t always fully understand how and when those pieces influence a particular customer. A customer-centric approach allows a company to be intimately familiar with the buying process throughout the funnel, from the information phase to the purchase. If companies want to fully understand the customer journey and even begin to learn how to pilot it, they must have undergone or be in the process of a successful digital transformation.
Customer interactions today are platform agnostic. It doesn’t matter if it’s on TV or direct message on Twitter or Facebook, customers want to interact with brands on their favorite channels. It’s one thing for a CPG company or car manufacturer to enable customer service across digital channels, but it’s another thing entirely to ensure that all data related to a customer’s history flows to the right places in a secure manner. Once the right customer data management platforms are in place, then brands can begin to truly map out what the customer journey looks like.
Continuity in the customer journey
To get the full value of the customer journey, it must be carefully documented. There is more than one way to achieve this, but in general, organizations should start by mapping out the typical journey for their customers. Look for data from every single phase of the journey, which will enable effective adaptation. Depending on their business model and needs, a company will then determine the right type of navigation.
A good example of this is current state mapping, which allows marketers to measure what their audience is doing right now. This map shows what customers do, think and feel when they interact with a brand, which can be extremely valuable in planning and executing a customer-centric ideology.
Other examples of different types of customer journey maps include:
• Daily navigations.
• Future state.
• Service plans.
There are variations between these three approaches, of course. It is important for companies to explore what will work best for them, as it will depend on their goals, as well as where they are in terms of implementing a truly customer-centric approach to their business.
Personalize CX at scale
The ultimate goal in any financial environment is to reach the largest available audience with the most relevant message possible. This can be a costly endeavor, but there are some tools and strategies that can perform these two functions at scale. With the right data and infrastructure, brands can optimize their marketing and CX delivery to be not only more cost-effective but also more personal to the customer.
Investing in technology can seem like luxuries when markets are relatively volatile, but there are some solutions that offer an immediate return on investment. When evaluating your technology stack, it’s important to evaluate each tool’s business purpose and customer utility. Once a company has such customer-centric technologies in place, it can begin to grow, regardless of industry or economic conditions.