The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." In recent weeks, this statement has rung true for me, as our editorial team reads through older content in our process of migrating everything to our new website to meet our September 1st launch date.

As I comb through articles in our process of tagging each piece with its appropriate topic and category, I was struck by two points: how rapidly companies have adopted technology like mobile and social to advance the customer experience, but also how many age-old problems still exist.

In 2013 I noticed that many articles aimed to convince organizations of the benefits of engaging with customers via mobile as they laid out strategies for effective mobile usage. In "6 Tips for Building a Robust Mobile Marketing Strategy," we actually had to convince the audience that "mobile is an opportunity for marketers to engage customers and prospects on a device that's rarely out of arm's reach," a fairly obvious statement if made today. Just three years later, and consumers not only prefer mobile to engage with brands and shop online, but they're more readily using their phones to pay for merchandise in stores.

Three years ago, "multichannel" was the preferred term to describe an organization's efforts to communicate with customers across mobile, social, websites, phones, and in physical locations. Just a short while later "omnichannel" would replace the now passé term to convey the necessity of seamlessly connecting all channels.

I chuckled at articles that aimed to convince our readers of leveraging the power of the second screen phenomenon and enabling geo-location capabilities to have the ability to serve up content and offers to customers where and when it matters most.

Despite the rapid change and adoption among some topics, many others still resonate today. Articles that describe misalignment between marketing and sales, how to measure customer loyalty, or ways to manage and act on data across the enterprise likely reverberate for our audience. Defining customer journeys and executing strategies that engage them at critical moments throughout their lifetime is as much a top priority today as it was in 2001.

The question then becomes, why are companies still grappling with these issues in 2016? My guess is more touchpoints into organizations create more data and more complexity, rendering many customer experience projects elusive due to disparate sources, lack of resources, and more organizational silos.

My advice for companies unable to overcome such issues is to act fast or get beaten by the comptetion. I believe we are entering a pivotal point where more companies are adopting the necessary technologies to string together seamless customer experiences, enable process improvements to create frictionless customer engagements, and empower employees to act in the best interest of customers. For the companies that find similarities in topics that 1to1 Media covered years ago, it's time to face reality: Start adopting policies and practices to help employees embrace a customer-centric culture and invest in enterprise technologies to enable the experience customers now expect to receive.

Then in five years from now, I hopefully won't be making the same observations and having the same discussion.