For Love or Money – The dilemma between creating a great customer experience and marketing ROI

The modern marketer is caught between a rock and a hard place.  Companies today know that they need to deliver a great customer experience in order to drive sales and create brand loyalty.

However, the demands of business on marketing ROI and generating brand love and relationships are slightly opposed. In this interview, Sylvia Jensen, Senior Director of EMEA Marketing at Oracle, explains why creating a multi-channel strategy isn’t easy. Sylvia: “Marketers have been trying to achieve this for many years now. We have to accept that doing it right is tough: it’s a bit of a dilemma!”

Why are marketers caught between delivering revenue and customer experience: can’t they just deliver it both?

Sylvia: “Every marketer will agree that delivering great customer experience leads to a better brand image, more loyalty and more repeat customers. So on the one hand we want to create amazing customer journeys but this takes an investment in technology and human resources. On the other hand: the Board, our CMOs and CFOs are constantly asking us ‘what’s the ROI of our marketing investment?’ ‘How much will it bring us?’

As marketers are being held accountable for the ROI, most marketers struggle to find the right balance: how can we deliver the best experience, at the least cost, that will generate the most revenue? This is really hard to accomplish. Sylvia comments, “Creating great a customer experience in itself is already a big challenge, when you also need to focus on costs, it becomes very complex.”

Why is creating great customer experience so complex?

Sylvia: “Especially in our modern world, there are so many channels we can reach people on, that there isn’t one customer journey anymore.”

The four elements that make today’s marketing complex are:

1. Data

Marketers feel the pressure to personalise customer experiences but their approaches aren’t scaling to the vast, unstructured nature of modern customer interactions. Today’s customers meander from channel-to-channel at any moment, interacting with your brands, products and services both online and off. They generate vast amounts of data in the process.

Sometimes they purchase; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they log into a website; other times they simply visit a store offline. Sometimes they start a trial; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they contact a sales person; other times they don’t.  The result: Marketers struggle to know their customers individually and target them appropriately. 85.6% of marketers say (CMO Club Study) that the biggest challenge to cross-channel marketing is consumer data that is unavailable or spread across multiple sources. As this happens, to make revenue goals, marketing teams revert back to segment-based, batch and blast approaches to marketing.

2. You need to react in real time

Nowadays, people are jumping from device to device. You have to follow them: on every step of their way, in real time. To give you an example: if a customer buys one of your products, they are not going to want to receive a promotional email about the product they just bought. You need to keep track of all your interactions and serve customers the next best message through any device they interact with you on next.

3. The need for personalised content at scale

We need engaging content and send it to the right person on the right time, in the right format. The creation of personalised content, for every stage of the buyer process and for every device is a huge challenge. If you take each of your buyer personas, times the number of topics that are relevant to them that you’d like to engage with them on, times the stages of the buying cycle, you’d need to create A LOT of content.  You need a platform that will enable you to sort your content by persona and stage of the buying cycle so you can automate its inclusion through your different digital channels.

4. The ecosystem

We talk about silos in companies.  But what about the silos within the marketing department?  The social media team has their social tools, the demand generation team has a marketing automation system, and the website has its own CMS. All these different systems have to be able to talk to each other.  Look for marketing applications that are in the Cloud and can be integrated into your customer database so you can have all your marketing touch points in one database and you can really build out one view of your customer so you can orchestrate your engagement with them

What is your most important advice for B2B marketers?

“Work on your data at all times. The data problem will never be solved. Every 12 months, at least 25% of your data is obsolete. People change companies and jobs: it changes constantly. My advice is to create a good data strategy as a starting point and make sure you keep your data maintained.  Modern Marketing is a journey. Start with your data and build on from there.

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