The new Digital 360 collection page on Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace, gives customers access to consulting services from industry experts, including from us at Publicis Sapient. This is fantastic recognition of our strong point-of-view for CMOs and marketeers around digital transformation. And while technology cannot solve everything, a solution like Digital 360 can help organizations that are not digital natives to begin to level the playing field.
Something many CMOs will be experiencing as an effect of COVID-19 is the abundance of data which has accumulated over the past year. It is mind boggling — and therein lies one of the major challenges… and opportunities — around how organizations are going to harness and operationalize all of this information to create a superior level of customer service and engagement. Going back to my UK holiday break example: before COVID they collected some data, like my billing details, names of family members, etc., but now they know my entire family food and drink preferences, they know our favorite activities and how we spend our time. Geez, they even know my preferred beer!
Where journeys are predetermined, this new influx of data can be operationalized more effectively – for example, where marketeers are already using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine that next step in a customer journey, the data can be put to work immediately to create more accurate and effective personalized communications. This is where I feel Digital 360 can be of help. The technology behind the solution is not all brand new, however, it is now able to bring seamless integration, for the CMO and marketing to have insight into the marketing cloud (which drives email journeys and push communications), the Commerce Cloud (which manages content and websites) and the Experience Cloud, which enables self-service functions. There is a recognition that marketing, and the CMO in particular, is now at the forefront of this digital conversation – which has traditionally been the purview of the Chief Digital Officer. There needs to be much stronger collaboration if we are to deliver against customer expectations. Gone are the days when consumers were prepared to wait for a customer service rep to figure out who they were, or spend weeks waiting for a package to ship while having no idea where in the world it was located at any given time. Consumers now expect immediate response times, custom product recommendations (so, let me know what I need before I know I need it) and seamless omni-channel interfaces – and marketing has to be involved in all of those journeys. As for the UK holiday park, a good marketeer would know that next time I visit, I am going to expect nothing short of a cold beer waiting for me at my bowling lane, soya milk delivered to my table in the coffee shop and a daily alert asking if we want to book the pool at our regular morning slot!
That said, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am saying that technology is a panacea – because it is not. It is an enabler that can increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of customer journeys, which will ultimately increase customer engagement. But, at the same time, marketeers need to bring all of their traditional capabilities to the process. They must know their audience really well, they must have an amazing product or service to offer, and they need their communication skills to tell stories and build relationships. So, when I think about what CMOs and marketeers need to focus on in 202, I would advocate that they first need to slow down, just a little. Ensure their feet are planted squarely on the ground and go back to their fundamentals. Is their brand still meeting the needs of their target audience? Are their values still the right values? Does their messaging capture what they want their audience to know about their product or service? There have been some mishaps and bad judgements in the rush to respond quickly – but now is the time to win back customer trust and loyalty by getting the fundamentals right. Be helpful, be relevant, build trust – but at the same time, don’t stop your pursuit of innovation.
Patience and tolerance are low – we’ve all needed to adapt, and it’s tiring. We can’t go back to where we were before, that’s why focusing on your basics and getting it right now is so important. The prize will go to marketeers who can deliver messages and content that are timely and that resonate with each consumer’s individual and unique needs and expectations – without placing any undue stress in the process. And rest assured the technology will be there to support you when you know what you need it to do.