co-Founder The Thread Team
Share this content

Why CX is critical for the 'New Normal'

3rd Jun 2020
co-Founder The Thread Team
Share this content

The importance of a value exchange - that’s your customer’s belief that your brand offers something valuable in exchange for their data and consent - became a critical part of the modern marketer’s playbook during the run-up to GDPR. However, as we mark the second anniversary of this landmark piece of legislature something far bigger has entered our lives – the impact of COVID-19.

Coronavirus has seen the very quick adoption of digital technology. Without the pandemic the idea of large swathes of the global population successfully working from home would have been unthinkable – and getting to this point would have taken years, not a matter of mere weeks… but as they say necessity is the mother of invention. It is incredible what can be achieved in short time frames when it counts the most – just look at the construction of the Nightingale Hospitals.

At the start of the year (seems like a lifetime ago)– I wrote an article about what I believed the Roaring 20s would bring and whilst I certainly did not foresee coronavirus, I envisaged a more connected era with data playing a leading part in bring a more human-centric future to technology. It was predicted that by 2025 we’ll be creating 163 zettabytes of data per year and that an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with their connected devices nearly 4,800 times each day… I suspect with recent events these milestones will be reached far earlier.

Before we embarked on the COVID-19 journey those brands that had invested in building relationships, delivering a clear and understood experience consistently were more likely to engage and retain valuable customers in the long term. 

Imagine a new normal then, where digital touchpoints - in store, online, at home and on the move - driven by shared data become the primary service delivery, activation and engagement channels. 

In this new normal, an exchange of value built on an understanding of customer need in the moment becomes the critical differentiator.

We recently analysed performance across our client base so that we could start to quantify the ability of relevance in the moment to drive incremental customer value. 

Across the board we found an average uplift of 27 per cent incremental value and a threefold increase in loyalty where customers feel that communications and their experience is tailored and relevant.

So relevance - a brand’s ability to recognise what I need, in the moment and deliver a tailored response that is built on my preferences, my behaviour and a shared set of beliefs and values - becomes a driver across all metrics from acquisition to retention and loyalty.

However, personalisation on this level can be difficult to achieve. One of the key barriers is the inability for marketers to deliver ROI from the tools they have in place.

To put this into context a recent Harvard Business Review article estimates that of the $1.3 trillion spent globally on digital transformation technologies, $900 billion is wasted. That’s a significant proportion.

We often talk about the elephant in the room. The all too common, often whispered but too difficult to acknowledge situation where technologies don’t deliver as promised or worse, mean a brand needs to take a step backward because of unforeseen gaps in capability.

Most often this happens when a piece of marketing technology has been purchased in isolation perhaps by a CMO, CIO, CTO or Agency Lead eager to be seen to be doing the right thing and stay in line with the competition, by a well-intentioned IT team with a box to tick or by a siloed function within a multi-channel marketing team. 

The result - wastage, frustration and often stagnation.

Successful technology decisions are part of a dialogue:

  • Requirements gathered from the brand that relate to the desired customer experience 
  • From the Platform and Media owners who connect individual customers to the brand in the moment
  • From the Data and Analytics team who bring the experience to life - through data-led insight and triggers
  • ... and from the Technology specialists who need to integrate into an existing stack or Global infrastructure.

So it is clear that as we enter a new era of marketing – one where customer experience supersedes everything – reliance on technology will be even greater and therefore modern marketing consultancy will have to evolve from being campaign led to an orchestration model of optimising a set of related cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up a personalised customer experience.

I recently took part in a webinar in association with the DMA discussing these issues along with Mark Cripps CMO of The Economist, Laura Paterson, Jake Richards and the Selligent Marketing Cloud team.