Chief Marketing Officer at SnapLogic.
As a CMO, I am continually on the lookout for the best new marketing tools that will deliver value to our business. More and more, I am looking to get a better, more complete view of the customer. Like most marketers, we are after the elusive Customer360. We’ve spent huge chunks of our budget trying to attain this, only to find out that the 360 was, well … more like 250 degrees than 360.
What suffers isn’t just our campaigns and budgets, but also the customer experience. Our aim is to develop better insights to deliver more value to customers — beginning with understanding the customer data and assessing how quickly and thoroughly we can access, analyze and use that data. So why is it so difficult to do this in today’s world when we have over 8,000 marketing tools available?
In my view, it’s because we’ve fallen for our own Kool-Aid. We’ve been searching for the holy grail of marketing tools and believing that we’re going to find a one-stop-shop when the reality is that no one tool is likely to deliver a complete view of all our customers.
As the CMO of a company that offers an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solution, I think we’ve become too focused on tools, period. We should take the classic approach: people, process and technology. And, in particular, we should be thinking about integration.
Connecting Your People
Far too often, marketing, sales and customer service work in silos. They have their own tech stacks, their own processes and their own relationships with customers. They each own customer experience in their own way, often without much — if any — overlap with the other departments.
They also gather customer insights and have unique views of the customer that don’t always get shared. Even if everyone is supposed to update the CRM regularly, in reality, it doesn’t always get done well enough. Customers can end up feeling as if they’re dealing with three different companies, not one brand.
We should unify our department data sharing so that everyone is working from a single source of customer truth. Marketing, sales and customer service should be aligned so that they can all coordinate the customer experience. Every customer insight should be integrated into “enterprise-wide” customer knowledge.
Processes, Processes, Processes
Marketing, sales and customer service also tend to use different processes for customer data gathering, analysis and insights. Marketing conducts NPS surveys, sales does follow-ups and customer service reps’ calls are recorded and reviewed. Who ensures that data all funnels into one repository?
By integrating customer insight processes, we can gain a more complete view. Customers shouldn’t have to answer the same (or similar) questions from different departments. They should feel as if they’re responding to one brand.
Back To Tools: But Not Just One
Let’s face it: Many of us no longer have the luxury of pinning our hopes on that one unicorn tool. (Yes, I know everyone claims they can do everything you need.) There are numerous tools that are best-of-breed for their particular slice of the Customer360, and we should identify those tools, deploy them and then integrate them with other tools that complete the toolbox.
You have a couple of choices for integrating your tech stack: manual integrations (some level of coding) or automation. Doing things manually takes more expertise, time and continual maintenance, but it does allow you to customize your integrations. Citizen integrators (non-techies, like me) can typically handle the automated approach. It also tends to be faster and provides the relief that the integrations are automatically updated as needed.
Either way, integrating your Customer360 tech stack — and think broadly here, because you can integrate the various tools that sales and customer service are using, too — will help you craft that more complete picture. Couple this step with measures to integrate people and processes, and you have an even bigger chance of getting closer to a true “360” view.
To get started unifying your people, processes and technology, assess all of your disparate data sources so you can create a comprehensive plan to unify them. Also see if there are any existing departmental processes you can update to work more effectively with the processes the rest of the organization uses. To start, solicit input from across the organization to understand their processes and the systems and workflows that enable them. Are there any process duplications or inefficiencies that need to be resolved? Are there mutual synergies that should be exploited? An audit of your interdepartmental processes will let you know what your teams need, how they work best and where you can unify activities to ensure your teams are working together in the best interest of your customer.
Your customers will thank you.