Customer Experience Maturity: Growing Up with Your Customers

Here are the steps organizations can take to nurture their customer relationships at each stage.
Customer Experience

Marketing is undergoing a revolution that rivals the impact of Gutenberg's printing press. Customers are in control, with more choice and access than ever before. Due to this seismic shift, it's imperative that organizations engage customers throughout the customer lifecycle, unlocking the power of Big Data to create relevant and memorable experiences.

This change will often start in marketing, utilizing digital channels where data is collected and personalization tools to create relevant experiences. However the reality is the vast majority struggle to advance their digital marketing beyond a brochure site presence on the Internet, coupled with generic email communication and some basic web analytics.

We recently researched 1,000 companies across multiple industries and found that 85.4 percent are in the first stages of customer experience maturity. How can these companies mature and turn prospects into loyal advocates? Here are next stages of customer maturity for an organization, and the steps they can take to nurture their customer relationships at each stage:

Radiate:Distribute your content across channels, starting with the customers' most-frequented channels. Increase your marketing presence across paid, earned, and owned media to widen your digital presence, reaching customers with context-appropriate content. Considering the following ways to tailor your content for each channel:

Web:Post concise content, employ responsive design and optimize images to adapt to small screens.

Email:Segment lists, then contextualize your content to the needs of each segment.

Social:Create messaging that fits with the target community, along with screen and message limits for the given device and social network.

Apps:Take advantage of capabilities built in to mobile devices, such as coupons that appear when GeoIP detects your customers are near a store.

Align:Our research shows that just 33 percent of organizations use analytics that can be tied to their business objectives.To make the right decisions for future actions, you need deeper insights than those from traditional standard web analytics. Value each digital goal according to its bottom-line impact on the organization and define key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure marketing impact as well as relevance to customers.

Optimize:Focus on the customer first and create relevant experiences in each channel. Use personalization and testing to learn what is most effective and relevant for different segments of customers. For instance,strive to make sure the experience of first-time anonymous visitors is differentiated from that of a new customer or an existing loyal customer. Start with a few rules-based personalizations. For example, your existing research can help you prioritize geographies for location-based personalization and offers for campaign-based personalization.

Nurture:Build strong customer relationships through automated trigger-based dialogue. Evolve from multichannel to cross-channel dialogues, responding to your customers' behaviors in their preferred channels. Use automated, personalized email marketing triggered by any online channel, e.g., a countdown series to an important subscription date, or an email in response to an abandoned shopping cart. Build on your ability to optimize using personalization and testing while identifying important touchpoints in your customers' preferred channels.

Engage:A single view of the customer helps you understand which activities across touchpoints create the most value. Bridge the online and offline worlds by establishing a shared view of the customer in a data hub that is universally accessible. Enhance this data by capturing customer attributions, cross-channel pathways, implicit behavioral data, and explicit data. Develop profiles and patterns with differentiated content for your most important visitor segments.Identify high-value customers and focus on generating their advocacy, rewarding those who attract new customers.

Lifetime customers:Optimize the connected customer experience across all touchpoints by using real-time data and predictive analytics to anticipate the needs of customers and create timely, relevant, personalized experiences. Maintain a competitive advantage by being the fastest and most agile in testing new initiatives. Create a customer experience so good that you retain customers for life.

The good and bad news for marketers is this-the rate of change isn't slowing. If we are to create lifetime customers, we need to create a culture of connected experience marketing based on the customer's evolving preferences-today, tomorrow, and years from now.