The first step to solving any problem is to face reality. This starts by answering some fundamental questions: How am I currently managing the multichannel customer experience? What messages are we really communicating across critical touchpoints throughout the customer journey? What stakeholders and technologies are involved in the process? In most companies, these questions go unanswered — at least in any formal, documented way. Our experience working with hundreds of CMOs and marketing executives over the years paints a chaotic picture that looks like this:
- Too Much Technology (Not Enough Story): A recent Accenture report stated, “Digital technologies have empowered today’s consumers to get what they want, when they want and where they want. So, while consumers may have few problems moving from one media channel to another and from one device to another, business is having a hard time keeping up with them.” For that very reason, CMOs and marketing executives have been focused on two things over the past few years: technology and data. This is a problem for those companies that do not have a core story or message that is driving technology-driven communication and engagement. In many cases, technology has increased customer confusion, not clarity, throughout the customer experience.
- Try Everything (Prioritize Nothing): Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, email, text messaging, webinars — we could fill an entire page with the explosion of communication channels companies now use to get their message in front of and interact with customers. More is not always better. CMOs have to leverage customer insights to identify and prioritize which communication channels have the greatest impact on the customer experience and perception. They must stop adding to the complexity and start breaking it down. They must prioritize which channels truly matter.
- Change Strategy (Operate the Same): Forrester recently said, “Multichannel marketing is not about giving an existing team some new tools to go about the business of marketing. It’s a strategic initiative that will disrupt, and then transform, your current marketing processes.” Most marketing executives have been moving so fast, their engagement strategy has changed but they are still operating in legacy mode. They have simply layered new technologies and channels on top of outdated operating models. Changing your strategy without changing how that strategy gets operationalized will never deliver positive, lasting business results.
- Personalize Everything (Confuse Everybody): Personalization is all the buzz in CMO corners of the world. Personalized messages. Personalized offers. Personalized content. Personalized experiences. Enough already. Personalization that is not anchored in a clearly defined corporate story is just random, free-form testing, adding to the chaos and increasing customer confusion.
- Deliver Integrated Journey (Further Fragment the Experience): Most marketing organizations are still operating in silos, each functioning independently instead of as a whole. Marketing executives must align functional and operational areas of the business with a shared multichannel strategy. They must ensure each area is accountable for customer experience connectivity and continuity.
To deliver a clear, compelling and consistent story throughout your multichannel customer experience, marketing executives must avoid these mistakes. They must address these issues to stop the chaos and put systems in place that will restore order to this critical facet of the business — systems that will ensure their company is well-positioned to deliver a clear, compelling and consistent story throughout the customer journey.