Customers want an experience that delivers what they need, when they need it, whether they are discovering, researching or deciding and regardless of device or location. As marketers, we all understand this concept, and many have made it an organization-wide goal to deliver an experience that satisfies this requirement. So why aren't we seeing more of it?
In September 2014, a joint survey between the CMO Council and SAP revealed that 73% of senior marketing respondents felt that "customer centricity is critical to the success of the business and to their own roles. However, only 14% say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their company, and only 11% of respondents believe their customers would agree with that characterization."
The simple, yet complicated truth is that we did not grow up this way. As marketing has evolved alongside channels and devices, we grew up siloed in an effort to meet the unique requirements of each technology. The device dictated the entirety of the experience, without regard for the customer's movement among media, channels and devices. And often the data we gained continues to sit within that channel's platform.
In the case of retail, ecommerce may live separately from brand marketing, which lives separately from media and merchandising. All of these teams have their own set of leadership, goals, technology platforms and initiatives. The separation of the upper-, mid- and lower-level marketing supply chain roles and responsibilities has rendered delivering a seamless customer experience nearly impossible for some brands. The result is a disjointed experience for the customer and missed opportunities for the brand.
Historically, marketers focused the bulk of their budget on upper-funnel tactics, such as television, print and guaranteed display to build awareness, and lower-funnel tactics, such as ecommerce and call centers to enable transactions. The mid-funnel was largely untouchable, due to a lack of addressability.
Today, through addressable platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, we have the ability to reach consumers during that research and consideration phase and understand who they are. This addressability means that we are essentially stretching the boundaries of the mid-funnel. What was previously unknown about the customer is now known, and we can utilize that valuable data to deliver a more relevant message and better experience.
So how are marketers connecting this third-party data with their first-party data in order to deliver an addressable customer experience? Chances are, if the answer were simple, the previously mentioned 11% would be a lot higher. But for those who can navigate the complexities and make the connection to deliver a meaningful, personalized customer experience, serious competitive advantage will result.
It is time to rethink your marketing supply chain. The silos need to come down, and the customer-focused goals and technology built up. Your marketing supply chain is essentially the system of processes and organization/engagement models, capabilities, data and technology that enable mid-funnel marketing. Every organization is structured uniquely, so not every organization needs the same changes. But the primary marketing supply chain areas to be addressed are:
- The functional value chain
- Outsourcing supply chain
- Data supply chain
- Technology supply chain
For more information on each of the marketing supply chain points above, and how to create an addressable customer experience, download Merkle's 2015 Marketing Imperatives eBook here.
About the Author
As chief strategy officer, John Lee is responsible for Merkle's growth strategy and the development of products and solutions across industries. John is also a strategic adviser to many Fortune 500 brands, including DIRECTV, GEICO, Disney, AARP and MetLife. John has more than 18 years of experience in management consulting, digital media, and CRM.
John is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
About the Sponsor
Merkle, a technology-enabled, data-driven customer relationship marketing firm, is the nation's largest privately held agency. For more than 25 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. By combining a complete range of marketing, technical, analytical and creative disciplines, Merkle works with clients to design, execute and evaluate connected CRM programs. With more than 2,600 employees, the privately held corporation is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with additional offices across the U.S., as well as in London and China. For more information, call 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkleinc.com.