Friday, April 17th, 2015 | 5 min read
“Customer experience is the new marketing.”
CEO and President of Mercedes-Benz USA Steve Cannon made this bold statement in a webinar last fall. But what exactly does he mean?
Let’s start with the basics. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as follows: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Social media and the increasingly-connected environments we live in expose customers to hundreds or even thousands of brand touchpoints through which this “exchange of offerings” can take place. And remember, “offerings” are no longer limited to business transactions; they include any kind of interaction, whether it be a conversation with a customer service rep, a company tweet that pops up in a customer’s Twitter feed, or a blog post that lands in an inbox.
The key to winning new customers and retaining existing ones is to manage the brand experiences created by these touchpoints in a way that leaves customers feeling delighted. Truly prescient marketers (and companies) are already putting initiatives in place to do this; they know that customer experience management will soon be at the core of all successful marketing.
The data backs this up: according to Gartner, “by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago.” And we already know that remarkable experiences are what customers want:
New technologies that once sounded like things of the far-off future are paving the way for brands to create more personalized customer experiences. In a recent report titled Customer Experience in the Internet of Things: Five Ways Brands Can Use Sensors to Build Better Customer Relationships, Altimeter Group explores how sensors and sophisticated data collection bring us “closer than ever to the ultimate marketing objective: delivering the right content or experience in the right context.” For example, brands can use sensor technologies to reward customers for walking down certain store aisles, submitting an in-store review, or interacting with a connected product in a particular way.
In June 2014 Walgreens began piloting an augmented reality mobile app that is “part gamified product finder, part discount program, and part loyalty program”. As participating shoppers walk down a Walgreens aisle they receive notifications informing them of a discount in the laundry section or loyalty points in grocery.
Altimeter Group points out that this kind of campaign is a step towards a future in which advertising feels less like advertising and more like intelligent product placement subtly woven into how consumers run their daily lives.
How can brands extend customer experience initiatives beyond an in-store app or a series of smart location-based ads and weave key customer insights into all campaigns? In order to create consistently delightful experiences brands must obtain a unified understanding of the customer at every touchpoint across the organization. This is best achieved by the use of a single platform that spans all customer touchpoints (as opposed to clunky, siloed marketing cloud software that saddles marketers with a fractured image of their customer).
That’s why we recently launched the Experience Cloud, a complete, integrated, and collaborative technology infrastructure that connects all of a brand’s social touch points. It’s the platform brands need to deliver relevant experiences to their customers across the places they own, like their websites, and the places they don’t control, like social media.
As Canon put it, “We need to eliminate the word ‘satisfied’ from our vocabulary… We need to delight. We need to amaze. We need to provide extraordinary.” Sprinklr is here to help your brand make this happen.
About the Author: Ekaterina Walter is the Global Evangelist at Sprinklr. She writes and speaks about leadership, business culture, and marketing innovation.