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What’s the next Holy Grail?

What’s the next Holy Grail?

Haydn Townsend

Group CEO

Wunderman

Haydn.Townsend@wunderman.com

In the past twenty years we’ve shifted from talking about ‘new media’ to ‘digital media’, and along the way we’ve coined phrases (and admittedly some buzzwords) such as “big data”, and “content marketing”

We’re still producing effective creative, placing ads to generate leads and increase conversion rates, managing online communities, creating multimedia content for owned, paid, and earned platforms, and a whole lot in between. Meanwhile, clients are increasingly asking for integrated campaigns and new ways of working. All of this will continue and if done holistically within the context of a strategy, will add immense value to a client’s business. But many marketers can’t help feeling that all these tactics, activities, and buzzwords, have all been a natural evolution of building blocks. We focus on weaving these building blocks together into something of value that not only delivers on ROI imperatives, but more importantly also prepares a brand for the future to give our clients long-term business sustainability. They cannot avoid asking how they will remain relevant because there are too many worldwide examples of those who failed to look ahead, and as a result disappeared completely. The answer lies in what we are calling the “Holy Grail”, the one overarching goal that has the potential to tie all marketing, advertising, communications, sales, and service- related activities together; the goal of Customer Experience Management.

Sadly, it can be a misinterpreted term, because it’s not just about a friendly intuitive user experience, or mapping personas to user journeys, or enhanced customer service, or a 360-degree advertising campaign, or targeted marketing communications. These cannot be mutually exclusive deliverables, because each plays an important role in the pursuit of Customer Experience Management. Indeed, there are many more crucial parts that should play a vital role.

But to have any hope of achieving the end-goal requires a thorough immersion in, and appreciation of, a client’s business, along with a detailed understanding of legacy structures and systems. This has implications for any marketing services agency just as it has implications for clients.

Some who have already recognized the need to adapt for the future have pushed the button on end-to- end digital transformation projects. Others are expressing a desire to offer their customers an omnichannel experience. But there are a range of firms in between who are struggling to fit the building blocks together. Some have launched themselves

as purely digital or eCommerce players and might be experiencing less pressure, others are grappling with the challenge of integrating traditional bricks and mortar and manual business processes with digital capabilities.

Underpinning all of this, and the key factors that have the capacity to make the difference, will be the client’s ability to track and monitor a customer’s movement through a decision-making process and lifecycle, to know what data to collect and analyze, and to have the skillset to interpret it in a way that not only offers customers a positive and satisfying experience, but also equips a client to manage that experience. It’s about identifying pivotal moments in a customer’s exposure to a business that can tip the balanced scale in a client’s favor, whether offline in the “real world” or on a screen.

The challenge is to know what might be relevant and appropriate at a given moment, regardless of delivering an ad, a payment notification, product and services information, help and service related advice, or sometimes creating a piece of entertaining content. To achieve true Customer Experience Management, we need to understand the relationship between the data we gather and the signals our interpretation of that data is giving us, coupled with ongoing measurement and optimization designed to continuously improve and manage customer experiences.