B2B Marketing blog

The future of communications and customer engagement

“We will all have more clients, they will be more demanding, there are more channels and there’s new regulation.” Scott Draeger from GMC Software speaks about changes in communications during the GMC Inspire Days in Rotterdam. On the same stage I just delivered a keynote speech myself on the changing role of marketing and its impact on technology and I am once again amazed how technology companies are working their socks off to tailor systems to the need of multi and omnichannnel communications, to improve the customer experience.

“More and more we see a trend of less tolerance for errors.”

 “If you do make an error, you have to remedy that error very quickly – damage control is key. Every day is a high pressure, we have less time to breathe”, so says Scott.

Scott talks about the communications matrix, how there are different teams practicing communications in the organisation, corporate PR, marketing, communications, customer service and so on. How can we manage all of those channels together?

It’s still hard to believe because we don’t see it happening yet, but according to Gartner 65% of the companies will have a Customer Experience Officer in a couple of years. Someone in the organization should be coordinating the different channels, so that orchestrated communications can take place across channels. More coordination is required between departments and teams to deliver the best customer service and customer experience.

Scott: “Web portals usually are created and coordinated by internal teams, in a different part of the building we’re working on all different channels. We should think about the customer experience; don’t think about the channel first, but about the message and then choose the best possible channel for each specific customer.” How many teams are required? Three or four different teams usually, says Scott: “an in house web team, a social media team, an agency etc.”

Software can help to design for all possible channels. In the process of building this software, developers had to ask themselves constantly, ‘what happens next?’ and ask ‘why?’ Customer journey mapping helps in this process.

“If you try to engage with customers, you might as well do what people like.”

Scott explains that when working on solutions, it’s best to work on a solution for the smallest screen first, so you can get down to the essential and the core message first; you strip down to the basics. Whether a software developer or a communications professional, starting from single channel to multichannel to omnichannel seems the way to go.

Scott: “From starting with a smallest screen, next step is to add elements when space permits it. When you get to the full screen, people like to sit down. In this case you can add elements again, and so on. It works far better than the other way around. And now we’re expanding to adding more experiences as a next step; think of Google Glass, the Apple Watch and so on. We have to move at the speed of the customer.”

Another change that Scott points out: “We have to use new metrics for these new strategies; we have to flip the way we measure. Make sure you measure results based on the context. It will be complex because everything will become multi-dimensional and people will be using more channels at the same time.”

Complexity of today’s communication environment requires flexible design tools, multi-departmental participation, multichannel experience design, compliance without complexity and delivery to all channels. It’s great to see how the software industry is taking the engagement game to a next level. From a marketing stand-point all I can say is that yes, we need the tools, we need the technology, in order to serve the customer better. I’m embracing these developments with all my heart! Thanks Scott.

Ingrid Archer

Ingrid Archer is a marketing and communications professional ‘pur sang’ with more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing and communication. She is co-founder of spotONvision and the B2B Marketing Forum. She initiated successful campaigns in various sectors and is one of the experts in the field of content marketing, buyer personas and lead nurturing in B2B.