By Ricardas Montvila, Senior Director, Global Strategy, Mapp
Despite recent progress in MarTech innovation, brands can still experience significant obstacles when it comes to implementing customer experience (CX) strategies. We wanted to find out more about the exact nature of these barriers and commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting on our behalf to delve deeper into the challenges and opportunities facing marketing decision-makers today. The results show a mixed picture of the industry as it focuses on improving the customer experience to bring about faster growth and higher revenue.
Despite the clear benefits, companies face major hurdles when it comes to updating their CX strategy. Specifically, they cite the difficulty of linking business outcomes to real customer needs, insufficient technology platforms, and a lack of vision and alignment among leaders, teams, and employees.
Lack of insights is the biggest challenge to improved CX
Marketing decision-makers, although well aware of the importance of customer analytics in developing a CX strategy (our research shows 88% agree it is important to use customer analytics) are not all acting on this knowledge, with only half of CX and marketing decision-makers planning to implement customer analytics in 2021. Our research also uncovered that over half of marketers report they are unable to identify customers on their website, even though this is the first vital step in gaining insights and improving CX.
Following Google’s announcement that it will no longer support third-party cookies, first-party data will play an even more important role moving forwards, as valid data collection and the identification of the right insights become more important than ever. For 54% of respondents, the lack of customer insights is by far the biggest challenge when it comes to enabling better brand experiences.
Unlocking the value of data
Right now, finding a way to unlock value from their data streams is a major concern among marketers. Enlisting the help of a dedicated data team could help, although finding such a team could prove difficult. Over half of the marketers surveyed consider lack of skilled talent as their primary challenge in delivering better CX.
At the same time, however, only a quarter attribute their success in recent years to talent improvement. Clearly, while hiring and developing qualified staff is important, using the right tools for insight-driven marketing offers the greatest economic success. 65% of respondents expect that new technology will lead to improved customer insights. Fundamentally there needs to be a blend of strategy and technology to action insights and extract value from data.
Can technology change the game?
Investment in MarTech stacks is already underway as companies seek to better understand their customers’ needs. For improved customer understanding, the marketers surveyed consider customer analytics, customer data management and marketing automation as top investments from the past two years. Additionally, half have also already achieved greater performance using customer insights. Companies that have implemented AI or ML tools also report improved ability to update their strategy, greater understanding of customer intent and improved customer insights.
AI and MI tools enable marketers to manage the customer journey in a data-driven way in which everything revolves around obtaining a holistic view of each individual contact across all channels so they can be effectively targeted. Through central contact profiles, information including transactions, socio-demographic profiles, and interactions can be used for targeted personalisation.
The role of analytics
Customer analytics is essential for deepening the customer understanding required to implement effective brand experiences. Our study shows that targeted improvement of the customer experience leads to significantly faster growth and more revenue and should, therefore, be a top priority for every marketer. Given the focus on online business models, marketing must be aligned even more efficiently to achieve this. Technology helps to identify actionable insights and user segments for highly personalised customer experiences and to place brand messages across channels.
About the study
The study was commissioned by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Mapp in December 2020 with 203 marketing decision-makers from multi-channel retail, eCommerce, CPG/D2C and financial services in the US, Canada, and Europe. Download the study here: https://mapp.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-improving-your-customer-experience-in-2021/