In every organization, marketing plays an important role in defining, socializing and managing the customer experience (CX). However, the relationship between the customer experience and the marketing teams is often disconnected.
This disconnect can be particularly harmful, as Forrester’s research shows that today’s consumers do not differentiate between the brand experience and the customer experience. Therefore, CX and marketing teams need to work together to develop a unified vision and align resources to connect the brand promise with the customer experience.
Following are five different unity points where customer experience and marketing teams can come together to achieve business results.
Unity Point #1: Marketing Sets Expectations, and CX Delivers
The importance of making sure that the experience being advertised to your customers is consistent with what your customers actually experience when interacting with your brand cannot be overstated.
In order to be successful, brands need to tell a coherent and authentic story — and customer experience needs to adhere to that brand story consistently across all touch points.
Ultimately, both marketing and customer experience’s role is to work across departments and examine stages of the customer lifecycle to consolidate feedback, identify themes and bring about change. Taking a moment to list out the responsibilities of the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Customer Officer side by side, there is a high degree of overlap.
If both teams and their leaders have similar responsibilities and goals, why wouldn’t they unite their efforts and avoid excessive use of resources? Marketing and CX teams have complementary expertise and must work together to create customer-centric experiences that deliver business results.
Unity Point #2: Define Your Goals and Shared Vision
Marketing and customer experience teams both share the same goals, such as creating brand loyalty, retaining customers, cross-sell and upsell opportunities and creating positive experiences for customers.
Marketing focuses on defining what a brand is, while customer experience focuses on making what a brand does reflect the identity. They are two sides of the same coin; implementing CX activities without brand alignment represents a lack of strategy, and branding without customer experience lacks impact as the brand comes alive through customer interaction.
Due to this close relationship, it is vital that customer experience works with marketing on how the brand promise can be delivered and elicit emotions through customer interactions. For example, if the messaging a brand uses in its advertisements promises an easy, seamless transaction and customers instead experience a confusing purchase and unsatisfying end result, their irritation can be amplified. After all, didn’t this brand claim that purchasing was “quick and easy?” This is definitely not the emotion that brands want to create in their customers. Instead, they need to dive deep into what their messaging is promising potential customers, then strategize on how they can deliver that exact experience.
Unity Point #3: Empower Marketing with CX Data
As customers, we expect consistent and continuous products and services with instant access always, and on any device. If brands don’t meet those expectations, we are more likely to take our business elsewhere.
CX teams have the power of being able to listen at the various touch points as part of their transactional and relationship surveys. They also have the power to analyze feedback from open comments from social media and review sites. A strong CX team has the capabilities to analyze whether the brand promise is actually being delivered, or highlight where the gaps are.
Sharing this information with marketing teams will allow them to make informed decisions, adjust the delivery of their strategy by reviewing the current process, translating customer comments into actions and, where appropriate, applying successful methodologies of engaging with customers at other parts of the customer journey.
As an example, The North Face has taken this on board and aligned its marketing and CX teams to identify additional revenue, by targeting non-purchasers with better visual merchandising in-store to reflect their digital experiences on its website.
Through analysis of data and emerging trends in customer feedback, The North Face identified key touch points along the customer journey that increase both customer satisfaction and spend. Customer feedback analysis found one in four non-purchasers reported difficulty finding a product in the correct size as the driving factor behind the failure to complete a purchase in store.
The North Face marketing teams, working together with CX professionals, matched the in-store experience to what customers have come to expect online. This change to increase customer satisfaction resulted in a nearly $13 million increase in annual revenue in a single market.
Unity Point #4: Leverage Joint Channels
Today’s customer is incredibly knowledgeable and can connect with your brand in many different ways. Your CX team is already collecting customer feedback across all channels, so why not share that feedback and intelligence with the marketing team so they can make informed choices? Sharing CX data ensures that your brand will deliver what is needed to meet your customers’ expectations at each and every touch point.
One example of how marketing campaigns are capitalizing on CX data is through social media channels. Whether they have a product suggestion or something wasn’t quite right, consumers are quick to make their voice heard on their favorite social platforms. The brands that step up and interact with these consumers are the ones that are getting noticed in the right way. Not only are they directly getting feedback from the customer, but they are also showing non-buyers what type of brand they are and how they are delivering on their brand promise.
These positive interactions on social media and other channels are fuel for “You Said, We Did” marketing campaigns. By looking at recurring problems and themes within the data, businesses are able to take action and resolve these problems. Marketing can then use these successful efforts to show customers that they are listening and taking action.
Customer Priorities and Touch Points
Customers make purchase decisions based on:
- Brand Promise
They connect with your brand through:
- Social Media
- Desktop Research
- Physical Environment
- Contact Center
Unity Point #5: Combine Efforts to Drive Business Value
Aligning experiences throughout all your customer touch points — whether it’s a marketing billboard, an online social post, or an in-store experience — can all create a stronger brand identity and give customers an understanding and appreciation for your brand’s promise and aspirations. Even better, that appreciation can translate into customer loyalty and business growth.
According to Gartner, by 2023, 25% of organizations will amalgamate marketing, sales and CX into a single function. If marketing and customer experience teams work together to develop a thorough understanding of how customers interact with the brand and overall business, they can begin the process of collecting and analyzing feedback data from the growing number of touch points customers depend on. Then they can combine that information into a cohesive, consistent and actionable 360-degree view of their customers.
And the intelligence that results from alignment with the CX team is the gift that keeps on giving for marketers. When they understand the ‘why’ behind customer’s behaviors, marketers can better segment their campaigns to offer personalized engagement, resulting in a positive impact across four major economic pillars. For example:
So are you ready to reap the benefits of uniting your marketing and customer experience teams? Following is a checklist to get you started on the road to creating the customer-centric experiences that deliver business results and happier customers.
Simon Fraser is Strategic Insights Consultant at InMoment. He has designed groundbreaking customer experience strategies at InMoment for over a decade with a special focus on the changing retail environment. Prior to joining InMoment, Fraser consulted on a portfolio of major global fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and retail brands at Nielsen and GFK/NOP, including Coca-Cola and Asda. His decades of experience help businesses make better sense of their customers’ needs and expectations in order to drive experience improvement and business outcomes.