To adapt to shifts in customer behavior during the pandemic, many marketers changed what were once considered “standard” selling processes. Now, marketing organizations are reviewing those changes to determine what went right, and what could have been done better. Assessments like these are essential, especially after a period of disruption. They help identify the most effective path forward and remind us to keep the focus where it needs to be: on the customer.
But how should your team evaluate its marketing initiatives? According to Statista, global digital transformation spending will nearly double between 2020 and 2023. Is there a way to know which approaches are most worth the investment? Here are three steps to follow so you can strategically reprioritize your efforts and improve the customer experience overall:
1. Listen—by whatever means possible—to what your customers are telling you. Companies are getting more customer feedback than ever before. Much of this feedback is in the form of comments and service or product reviews.
Even more of this feedback is in the form of digital interactions. Now that so many in-person buying experiences have transitioned to online formats, customers are leaving new digital footprints. What, exactly, is this information telling you? Take the time to truly understand the paths your customers take.
At Sitecore, we analyzed how customers use our company website. We wanted answers to questions like: What are customers looking for when they visit? Do they find what they need? How long do they stay? Slicing and dicing the customer journey in this way helped us, and will help you, uncover and fix the gaps.
As you go through this process, keep an open mind. Customer behaviors and preferences have changed dramatically and assumptions about personas can be problematic. You don’t want to miss new insights because you think you already “know” what your customers want. Learn more about driving meaningful customer relationships in Sitecore’s Path to Personalization guide.
2. Align with IT to implement changes. Marketing and IT need to be unified, with both focusing on how digital transformation can improve the customer experience. But all too often, there’s a disconnect. Typically, IT is tasked with managing a complex tech stack, security concerns, and a variety of other challenges—all while being massively under-resourced. Meanwhile, marketers are tackling different issues and often get frustrated when technology solutions aren’t available or can’t happen fast enough. Commit to resolving any conflicts. Find common ground, start working more collaboratively, and share your successes.
3. Track performance and iterate based on the results. The challenges of the past year have been exceptionally difficult, but it is important to recognize that people, markets, processes, and technologies are constantly evolving. Put metrics in place to measure your progress and use those insights to continually adapt. Planning with that kind of elasticity will help ensure that your organization can stay one step ahead, both internally and externally.
The pandemic has accelerated many digital transformation initiatives that were already underway. Now is the time to take stock of how your organization responded and strategically reprioritize. As you move forward, put the customer at the center of all you do and invest in digital strategies that expand and strengthen those connections.
Interested in nine more ways to drive meaningful customer relationships? Download Sitecore’s Path to Purchase guide.
— Paige O'Neill, CMO, Sitecore