Digital is the Active Ingredient in CX

A solid digital foundation will transform customer experience levels
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Whether you’re marketing a product, service or idea, the customer experience (CX) is all the rage — and today’s customers expect digital interaction. Plenty of people can offer tips on how to create digital content and experiences, but all the CX tips in the world won’t help if you fail to digitally transform your entire organization so that it focuses on data-driven personalization.

Here are five tips to help you create a digital foundation that will improve CX across the board.

Always Think Mobile-First

Personalization and mobile go hand in hand. More than half of web traffic is happening via mobile devices, and mobile-device use continues to increase while desktop use has decreased. Google estimates we each experience an average of 200-plus “micro-moments” a day: We open and close our phones for an average of 90 seconds each time, like when we’re standing in line to get coffee, or waiting for friends at the dock. What does your brand look like on a mobile device, in a micro-moment?

Use a Mapping Process to Plan Your CX

Even among Fortune 500 clients, I often see little effort placed on mapping goals to personas (target audiences). Too many companies still lead with channels (email, events and the like) without considering the relevance of those channels to personas and business goals. I use the roadmap schematic above to help clients understand where they are missing or hitting the mark on creating great experiences.

Personalization, delivered by best-in-class CX, is impossible without an organizational transformation through a digital foundation. A solid digital foundation helps marketers learn about audience interests, behaviors and expectations, and then create relevant, cross-channel experiences. When done right, a solid digital foundation will reduce the costs of delivering experiences and increase ROI. You will deliver relevant content, build loyalty and reduce spending waste.

Identify the Right People on Your Team

Digital transformation is all about C-suite leaders aligning the right people, processes and technology. Wanda Kenton Smith wrote a great piece, “Creating Better Synergy: Marketers and the C-Suite,” about this point in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only. That piece gave tips on getting organizational leadership buy-in. I recognized this leadership factor as being key early on at Siren Marine, where I serve as chief marketing officer.

You must identify members of your organization who embrace change, are curious and are hungry to learn. I call them activators. They will thank you for the challenge and will reward you as you reward them. They will move quickly, make some mistakes, and learn and be better because of them.

It’s equally important to have the right external vendors. Look for those who connect you to valuable knowledge outside of your organization. At Siren, we only hire vendors who themselves are innovating.

Identify the Right Processes

I have seen the best intentions fail because of legacy systems or allowing a “this is the way we do it” mindset. Process permeates every part of an organization. Define efficient processes for each aspect of your organization and connect those processes to create a 360-degree view.

At Siren Marine, we connect front- and back-end processes to dashboards to measure how the organization is running in terms of product development, supply-chain management, marketing project management and sales and marketing optimization platforms. Software such as NetSuite, Jira, HubSpot, Google and Smartsheets are integrated as much as possible. We are always looking for ways to innovate enterprise-system management internally and externally. Best-in-class CX requires process integration and measurement.

Identify the Right Technology

With the right people and processes in place, technology becomes the easiest part. Digital transformation requires tools. Every tool is for a job — so don’t pick a tool because it appears to be shiny or new. Map your goals to your customer, and then find technology tools that will let you scale your digital transformation.

Test, test and test again to find what works, and do not fear failure. The only failure you should be concerned with is failing to adopt CX as a company driver. Your customer should be the center of your universe. 

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Stephen Marshall, Ph.D., is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Media + Communication at East Tennessee State University, and vice president and chief marketing officer for Siren Marine. He is a consultant and trainer on the digital experience for Fortune 500 companies and brands across the globe.

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