Each touchpoint, each interaction is an opportunity to fulfill the brand promise (and to surprise and delight the customer). The tools and techniques born in digital marketing 20 years ago (eg. user experience design, data analysis, personalization) are now becoming pervasive across the organization. This interconnected experience ecosystem can be a powerful driver of customer satisfaction and company growth.
The challenge is how to manage this system in organization structures that weren’t set up to do so. From our work with major brands at varying stages of “experience maturity”, we’ve seen four areas critical to success.
Follow The Data
The old adage “follow the money” is a handy tool for analyzing business opportunities. But today it’s become “follow the data”. Firms are investing massively in systems and platforms to collect and analyze data in real time. And when data is missing they’re figuring out how to create or find it using artificial intelligence. The experience ecosystem could have been around for decades, but it’s only in the last five years or so that the walls between individual touchpoints have been broken down through data, allowing the full customer journey to be analyzed (and optimized). Opportunities for new products come from parsing customer service data, marketing investments can be prioritized based on sales transaction history, and customer service improved by mining social feedback – just a few of the opportunities to redefine businesses.
Mobile Is The Linchpin
Mobile is the fastest growing experience touchpoint – for advertising / marketing, transactions, support, and products, themselves. It’s also the richest data medium for companies to better understand their audience and consumers. Awareness, engagement, location, time, transaction, and loyalty are just a few of the data points to be collected. However, overcrowded app stores have pushed brands to create better, more personalized mobile experiences – leading to greater customer satisfaction, usage, and retention. Just “having an app” is not enough; mobile should be at the forefront, with dedicated support of content and technology teams 24/7.
Stock vs. Flow
Way back in 2010 Robin Sloan applied the concept of “Stock vs. Flow” to digital marketing and content production. With the rise of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etal it was helpful to think about long-lived digital “Stock” – sites, apps, long-form content vs. short-term “Flow” in social feeds and PR announcements. Today almost everything is Flow. That’s not to say that brands don’t create longer-lived digital experiences, but the expectation of users (both internal and external) is that these experiences will evolve or they’ll rarely come back to them. And Flow applies to all of the elements of the experience ecosystem – product, marketing, sales, and service. Ongoing experimentation and updating of features, functions, and content, preferably informed by data, is the new standard for leading companies and one which requires new ways of thinking and doing within the organization.
Choose Your Partners Wisely
Managing the experience ecosystem requires four elements: 1) business strategy, 2) tech platforms, 3) data insights, 4) digital talent. Businesses have been investing in #’s 1 and 2 for decades, although spend in the last 10 years has jumped dramatically. Data insights (and AI) is the most recent area for explosive growth and investment, with all the major players (Adobe, Salesforce, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, etc) jockeying for space, along with specialized startups like Lytics and Dynamic Yield. But it’s the fourth area, digital talent, that is in a major state of flux and often the most challenging. What’s the point of the first 3 if you can’t build it. The lines have blurred between agencies, consulting firms, and tech integrators; witness the rise of the one-stop-shop mega-consultants and the never ending M&A spree across all three sectors. Our most successful clients have managed this changing landscape by investing in seasoned digital leadership internally, and rethinking their partner relationships and their approach to outsourcing – which is no longer a dirty secret, but a sound and proven strategic model to get the work done. The key is transforming your organization to operate in real-time, at scale, and on a partner-integrated basis across the experience ecosystem. When that machine is humming, the sky’s the limit.
Zemoga has been providing top-level dedicated engineering and design talent to leading US companies for 17 years. We fill talent gaps. Short term, long term, on-site and nearshore. We are THE pioneers of outsourced technology and creative talent from Colombia. We invented it. Why Zemoga? Simple. We have the smartest, most dedicated and talented staff who thrive in a dynamic culture with clients that are forward thinking. Contact us now to find out how we can supercharge your team and learn how we’ve done it in spades for other leading firms.