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We're in a time of rapid change for marketing, especially as the pandemic continues to drive a shift in how businesses interact with their customers.

As a result of that shift, digital sales are outpacing in-person, so digital marketing is becoming a major differentiator in sales success. The change requires that marketing, sales, and even IT leaders rethink the relationship between their company brand and their customers, then support that new relationship with the appropriate customer experience.

Brands that have taken an adaptive approach to CX are already reaping the benefits: 21% of brands earned markedly higher scores in Forrester's US 2021 Customer Experience Index than in the previous year, due in large part to rapid digital transformation, empathy for customers' safety concerns, and creation of experiences that met customers' new needs.

The mandate now for marketing and sales executives is to create new digital capabilities to meet and exceed customer expectations. Those expectations require real-time personalized omnichannel customer engagement for a truly end-to-end seamless experience, the ability for brands to identify customers—known and unknown—in every channel, and tools that can predict customer behavior and recommend next-best actions.

All those elements require appropriate measurement and optimization analytics to allow for rapid iteration as customer expectations keep rising.

What Companies Need to Create Great CX Now

To deliver the cross-channel consistency and understanding that customers want from brands, companies need to focus on three requirements: data, technology, and collaboration.

Data is the cornerstone of digital CX, and, because customer data is becoming more fragmented, it's more challenging than ever to create a unified customer profile across the enterprise. When that 360-degree view of the customer is achieved, using it requires advanced marketing technology in the form of a scalable, flexible martech stack that can understand customers, predict their behavior, provide actionable insights, and nurture loyalty.

Enterprisewide data unification and a technology-focused marketing strategy require ongoing collaboration. Without Marketing, Sales, Support, and IT defining CX goals, sharing data across functions, and planning jointly to achieve those goals, even the most data- and technology-rich marketing programs can fall short.

Cooperative problem-solving across departments can also help marketers resolve some of the major challenges that await.

The first of those challenges is customers' concerns about data privacy and their desire for clarity about how companies use the data they share. Striking the right balance between data-sharing and personalization requires customer insights, an understanding of the kinds of personalization customers value, and the technology to contextualize personalization to suit customers' preferences.

Another challenge is the cookie-less world on the horizon: Google is moving away from third-party cookies, with a three-month phase-out planned for 2023. That may seem like a long time from now, but it gives marketers only a couple of years to implement new ways to identify customers—especially unknown customers—and track them through their journey.

How Enhanced Digital Experiences Can Drive Customer Outcomes

With unified data, advanced marketing technology, collaboration among enterprise leaders, and a plan to deal with new challenges, organization will be ready to build a better CX.

Great digital CX includes:

  • Customer identity resolution: A complete, actionable customer view makes personalization at the individual level possible.
  • Contextual customer insights: Having a customer's history and real-time behaviors in the same view gives marketers a context across journeys to see how early-stage marketing drives later actions so they can iterate based on that knowledge.
  • AI-powered real-time active listening: Using customer identity and behavioral insights as a resource, AI can suggest actions, offers, content, or messaging to help engage customers and cater to them during their journey.
  • Orchestration for seamless omnichannel experiences: An all-in-one engagement stack can manage dialog and delivery at each touchpoint to maintain CX continuity.
  • Insights for ongoing interactions and strategic planning: In addition to traditional engagement metrics, successful brands will be able to monitor nontraditional engagement metrics, such as customer intent, in real-time.

The goal of all those elements is to deliver more value to customers so they in turn build more trust in your brand.

When customers see the value in sharing their data, it's possible to enhance their experiences. When there's a gap in the data, advanced martech can help fill it in to enhance the customer experience and gain trust.

When all of these elements are in place, along with cooperation and support from Sales and IT, marketers can deliver the seamless, highly personalized, end-to-end digital experience that consumers want now and will continue to expect from their favorite brands.

More Resources on Digital CX

Reimagining B2B Customer Experience: A Post-Pandemic Path Forward

Struggling With Digital Communication? Here Are Five Ways to Nail It

Digital Transformation During COVID-19: How Can Marketers Lead the Way?

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image of Lee Dempsey

Lee Dempsey is a principal and capabilities leader in Capgemini’s Digital Customer Experience (DCX) practice. He is responsible for all Adobe and martech platforms for digital marketing and content management engagements across North America.

LinkedIn: Lee Dempsey