Chief Marketing Officer

Sitecore's VP of Product Marketing on How to Engage and Optimize the Customer Experience

Terry Fortescue, Vice President, Product Marketing, Sitecore, discussed how marketers can stimulate and optimize the customer experience during her presentation to Argyle’s CMO membership at the 2017 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum in San Francisco on June 8. In her presentation, “Five Ways to Caffeinate Your Customer Experience in 2017,” Fortescue offered tips to help today’s digital marketer.

The customer experience extends beyond a single interaction between a brand and consumer, Fortescue stated. In fact, today’s marketers are responsible for providing an engaging and fulfilling customer experience, and failure to do so may cause a brand to fall behind the competition.

“Any time there’s a customer experience, it can be about much more than a brand campaign. It can be about crisis management. It can be about losing or gaining new audiences … and we need to look at what we can do simply to capture your audience’s attention,” Fortescue said.

Ultimately, marketers must understand the importance of surpassing customer expectations.

“If you deliver a great customer experience, customers will return, and you’ll get faster share of wallet.”

If marketers embrace the opportunity to connect with customers, they may be able to discover innovative ways to help a brand differentiate itself from rivals.

“The customer experience is not just about the brand experience. It’s about solving the business problem,” Fortescue pointed out. “For us, we don’t want to be the brands that just serve the black coffee. We want to be the brands that serve the absolutely perfect customer experience.”

According to Fortescue, personalization is the caffeine of the customer experience. With the right personalization techniques and strategy in place, an organization can build long-lasting customer partnerships.

“Personalization is very high yield, but it also is very simple to do,” Fortescue indicated.

In addition, marketers must take a cautious approach to their day-to-day efforts and realize that even a single mistake may damage an organization’s brand reputation and bottom line.

“If you deliver a great customer experience, customers will return, and you’ll get faster share of wallet,” Fortescue noted. “If you make one misstep, it’s really difficult to win a customer back.”

Marketing professionals also must evaluate an organization’s immediate and long-term goals.

“The customer experience is not just about the brand experience. It’s about solving the business problem.”

With a consistent approach to customer data collection and analysis, marketers can take a data-driven approach to help their respective organizations succeed.

“As CMOs, it’s a real challenge and an opportunity to balance how to deliver the customer experience today and think about what’s next without crushing my budget,” Fortescue said. “Consumers are willing to participate with you and your brands … and when a customer provides information to you, that customer has trust in your brand.”

Recent research indicates many consumers are unhappy with the support that they receive from brands. In most instances, brands fail to embrace personalization and are unable to satisfy customer requests, Fortescue said.

“A lot of consumers feel like brands aren’t delivering to them on the customer experience,” she indicated. “As a result of unmet customer expectations, and the result of these unmet expectations are material consequences.”

However, marketers can caffeinate the customer experience without delay, and Fortescue offered the following tips to help marketers do just that:

  1. Form a dedicated core team. With a team of marketers who possess a broad array of skills and expertise, an organization can take the next step to deliver outstanding customer experiences. This team can focus on what differentiates an ordinary customer experience from a stellar one and map out its everyday efforts accordingly.
  2. Invest in a customer journey. Who is an organization’s target audience, and how can marketers engage with this audience consistently? Fortescue recommended marketers develop customer journey maps to ensure their respective organizations can connect with customers along multiple channels and touchpoints.
  3. Establish a digital maturity baseline. An omnichannel approach is paramount for marketers, regardless of their respective organization’s size, stature or industry. If marketers can centralize data management, they may be better equipped than others to identify customer experience hurdles and address these issues immediately.
  4. Begin a roadmap with personalization. Customer data empowers marketers with the insights they need to provide personalized customer experiences. Meanwhile, marketers should constantly evaluate customer data to ensure an organization can track and monitor its customer engagement and customer experience levels at all times.
  5. Pick a quick-win project. A successful marketing strategy rarely can be developed overnight. Conversely, marketers who start small can make gradual marketing strategy improvements and create successful short- and long-term marketing campaigns.

It often requires hard work and patience to deliver a successful customer experience, Fortescue said. But with the right commitment, marketers can bolster the customer experience and maximize its value both now and in the future.

“When you land that right customer experience, just as it’s high risk, it’s definitely high reward,” Fortescue stated.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 Marketing Dinner: Leading Change and Collaboration in New York, NY on Jun 04, 2019

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