By Klaasjan Tukker, senior director, Adobe Experience Cloud
Today brands are competing for both mindshare and dollars — and consumers aren’t giving everyone equal attention. Since most consumers can list the top five brands they love buying from, and the bottom five they will avoid, brands seeking both mindshare and profitability first need to become beloved, then turn that strong affiliation into sustained profitable relationships. For example, a global coffee brand wants to earn a relationship where their customers buy branded mugs in every city they visit and stop by a shop daily for refills.
In the digital economy, personalized insights and engagement are the foundation of customer relationships. For generations before digital, customer interactions were highly personal: Merchants talked directly with each person and learned pretty quickly why they were or were not completing transactions and deepening relationships. Digital has changed how humans interact with brands, with most customers arriving almost anonymously at online storefronts or brands’ websites, leaving only a few digital breadcrumbs with clues about their needs and preferences, then disappearing, hopefully reappearing again to continue the conversation. Just as in generations past, a brand’s long-term success depends on how well it can get and stay connected with its customers — and the technologies it uses to understand and engage customers are critical.
Connected customer experiences
Every business wants to grow. Regardless of current size, their next-level success will come from connected experiences — ones that go beyond meeting customer demands for personalized moments and instead delivering consistent, connected interactions across every channel and touchpoint. Connected experiences are also the pathway for brands to achieve sustained profitable growth over time.
Connected experiences offer customers more relevant and consistent interactions with brands regardless of whether they’re shopping in-person, online, via mobile, or all of the above, by using information from each touchpoint to inform and enrich experiences across the others. For example, when truly connected, a customer’s experience with an auto dealer may include an in-person visit to a car lot, a chat on its website, and a call into its service department—however it feels more like an ongoing conversation with someone who knows and cares about them than a series of separate stops.
The keys to connectedness
Customer experiences must be connected across all touchpoints to effectively and intelligently engage with customers and drive healthy and sustainable growth – experience-led growth. But in order to connect a customer’s experiences, brands first must connect with them, and do so with their privacy and preferences in mind. And this can be challenging in a rapidly shifting landscape where government regulations and data policies are highly dynamic.
To achieve this, brands must connect their technology in a way that can build and action on a view of their customers through a natively connected foundation — one that takes them from insights to engagement with continuous intelligence.
But before any of this can happen, brands must first ensure they have enterprise alignment across an ever-expanding number of stakeholders that play a pivotal role in customer experience management — and this means connecting their organizations.
Successful customer experience management requires companies to align the right stakeholders. At an increasing number of companies, the circle of leaders who now have customer experience as part of their official remit has expanded from marketing and IT to include digital, data, product, and privacy leaders. Other brands are converging organizational silos under a designated experience leader in an effort to bring disconnected marketing, sales, and support organizations together. Whatever the configuration, the end goal is to orient people, systems and strategy to the customer.
Opportunities and innovations
At a moment when data and digital content are more important than ever before, most companies are under-utilizing data and digital technologies to engage their customers. A recent Adobe study found that only 54% of companies are using data to understand when best to send communication or which channel to use, while fewer than 50% are using data or digital technologies to assist with identifying prospects, selling, upselling, and accelerating transaction closures. The same platform that enables connected customer experiences should be able to connect with and facilitate all of these business needs, leveraging properly gathered and governed customer data.
AI will continue to help in the creation of experiences — managing data, generating insights, and even suggesting high-value audiences. Brands will have access to more and more consumer data points over time, making the relevant points even harder to find (think needles in haystacks, only with never-ending expansions of hay). Emerging generative AI technologies bring with them the promise of even more power — that’s also accessible to a broader range of marketers. This includes the ability to action thousands of data points at their fingertips, quickly understand and map customers to stages, discover and generate high value audiences, generate impactful journeys, generate content at scale for personalization, and surface actionable insights — all by simply asking the technology.
Building a better future, together
Over the years I’ve spent working in experience management, I’ve become confident that companies equipped with the right tools, processes, and people can leapfrog their competition by building better relationships with customers. Over the coming years (starting today), brands will be able to accelerate their growth by ensuring the right connectivity technology foundation is in place from the start — a solution that fully connects an organization’s people, technology, and customers and enables next-generation connected experiences based on personalized interactions and engagement.
Find out how Adobe can help you form a connected customer experience.
This post was created by Adobe with Insider Studios.