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Constellation Research recently released a report on The State of Marketing in 2015. In the report Dr. Natalie Petouhoff discusses why customer experiences is currently a top priority for marketing executives. As she states:
“2015 is the year of customer choice. Thus all companies will focus on delivering ubiquitous customer experiences at all levels. In this coming reality, customer experience presents itself as the leading business objective ahead of product and service. When building relationships is the chief differentiator, the actual product and/or service is secondary to the customer experience.”
We sat down with Joe Pino, Director of Client Success at Clutch to further discuss the growing focus on customer experience. Joe advises an array of leading brands on building exceptional customer experience through personalization and relevancy.
Q: Why do you think customer experience is a primary goal for many brands?
JP: Brands are realizing that the path-to-purchase is becoming increasing complex with consumers who enter and exit the market and path-to-purchase faster than ever before. Their continual access to information makes buying decisions faster and easier. In order to engage “just in time” marketing, brands have to get smarter with intelligence. Every consumer brand sits on a wealth of customer data from their point-of-sale systems, ecommerce platforms, mobile applications and social accounts. They can’t sit by any longer and accept the fact that this data is disparate and fragmented. Pulling this data together to deliver powerful, multidimensional intelligence on their customers delivers an edge and ability to get personal by delivering the right message at the right time on the right channel to the right individual. That’s the very definition of relevancy.
Q: Most brands talk about a “customer centric” mantra, where do they typically fall short?
JP: While most approach this as a mindset or philosophy, the brands that are successful at this adopt a technological transformation in their approach. They’re synthesizing their customer data channels into a central hub with consumer management technology. This allows them to construct robust customer segments and personas and to understand the preferences, behaviors and motivations of their customers to align their engagements and construct exceptional experiences.
Q: Brands today are focused on customer loyalty, but what’s the primary driver of loyalty?
JP: The problem is that the concept of loyalty has been largely trivialized as a transaction. Most see it as the ‘buy three and get the fourth one free.’ Loyalty is not generated by a transaction or reward, it’s generated through trust that is earned through consistent experience. This is why we’re seeing a significant shift in the focus towards customer experience. Smart brands are realizing that every engagement across every channel is an important step in building trust. This is why many are adopting consumer management solutions, so they can understand their customers, identify those Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) and motivate them strategically. You want to treat your best customers are certain way, while shepherding others toward the MVC state. This is why it’s a ongoing process rather than a one-time transaction.
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