Your Buyer's Journey is Now Online. Is Your Customer Experience Digital-First Too?
The truth is, customer experience (CX) is buzzy. It's been a focal point for the last few years, and you'd think the subject matter has been exhausted by now. But you should think of CX in a new way.
The buyer journey your customers take has been increasingly moving online for a while now, and the past year simply accelerated the migration. Now that digital events are truly the norm and buyers are doing even more of their research online, your CX needs to be digital-first.
With this in mind, here are some points to consider.
Omnichannel paints the wrong picture
When it comes to CX, there has previously been a lot of emphasis on omnichannel strategies. Marketers have felt pressure to keep up with the demands of complex buying cycles, in which they send someone various and assorted content through event campaigns, direct mail and sales calls. But many people's research process happens online.
Yes, I may see a friend wearing Allbirds and buy a pair myself, or test drive a car and feel closer to making the purchase when I'm done. But the majority of the actual decision is mostly made throughout my digital journey and research. Even though other channels are still useful, digital is the primary vehicle for buyers today.
Rethink the definition of an event
When in-person events were canceled last year and we started having to think about how to re-allocate our events budget, it made me question the definition of an event. To me, an event is a channel. We use it to get the attention of a targeted audience, and then shepherd them through personalized content and experiences in the hopes they'll buy from us.
When people aren't in front of you physically, it's a bit more challenging to create such a personalized experience. But, it must be done. So with digital-only buyer journeys, the onus is on marketers to be more thoughtful about where they send people from other channels of theirs.
For example, marketers can't just push someone who clicks on a digital ad to the social media page and hope the most recent post is useful to them. Instead, they need to thoughtfully lead each individual to content that is relevant to them. The event (channel) and the track (content) are prime examples of how one can build a personalized customer experience online.
But how does one properly invest in data and channels to craft such a CX journey?
The tech suite behind an effective digital-first CX strategy
Creating a personalized CX journey requires a new suite of technology that encompasses who your buyers are, how you'll engage them and where their ultimate destination is. So first, think through who it is you're hoping to get in front of and influence. For whom should your content be personalized? To help you manage this, you need solutions that will organize your customer data, capture demographics and record actions taken. The following systems are key:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)
Customer Data Platform (CDP)
Account-Based Marketing Platforms (ABM)
Most mature organizations should already have a CRM and MAP in place, and B2B companies are quickly adopting ABM across the board as well. But, CDPs are still on the rise. All four of these solutions work together ideally to help you truly know your customer and make informed decisions about the CX you provide for them.
Of course, just knowing your buyer doesn't mean they'll buy. You need to actually engage them, too. Your channels will vary, but you'll want to consider exploring social media, digital advertising, chat and online sales outreach for your content. However, getting them to engage with your content requires a new suite of tools. While some may rely on a traditional Content Management System (CMS), a Content Experience Platform (CEP) that's designed to promote engagement with your content can take on a starring role. All of these solutions exist to round out the requirements for a modern CX suite.
Times have changed, and the only constant is that everything has now become digitized. You can make the most of this by revamping your CX to reach a digital audience and deliver a personalized content experience through online channels that ultimately directs them toward a purchase. Incorporate the solutions outlined here, and you'll be well on your way to a refined, smooth digital-first user experience that serves your buyers and you.
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