According to Gartner, CMO’s are spending 26% of their marketing budgets on Technology and the predictions are that this will only increase. In order to eliminate the risk of investments that don’t reap rewards, it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of those technology investments against your goals.
That means starting with an audit of your existing technology ecosystems by 1.) identifying what’s needed to increase interoperability between systems, 2.) assessing how core system features can be optimized, and equally important, 3.) identifying where there are system gaps that could derail your plans.
Having identified potential shortfalls in systems and their interoperability the next step is to draw up a phased roadmap leveraging that audit. Importantly the roadmap has to factor in the elements of testing, learning prior to scaling it for implementation.
Some tests may have points of failure, that’s ok, fail fast, learn where to optimize, and move to optimize quickly.
Identifying gaps in a new technology investment might sound like a painful process but it’s a great opportunity to consider investments that provide scale, ease of implementation, and mobile-first capabilities. Seize those opportunities and you will have immediate measurable business and customer benefits, impact, and growth.
I work in technology at the intersection of our experience business which is where we help our clients define, design, build and operationalize every interaction with their customers and employees. It’s a process we call ‘experience transformation’ and the ultimate objective is always to drive measurable growth.
A big part of that is bringing agency support to bear on clients’ internal abilities and assets so they can scale and grow as fast as the demands of their own consumers. A key part of my own role is helping clients understand their readiness for success in the customer experience technology enablement space. It’s fair to say the results aren’t always what they expected.
Identifying gaps in a new technology investment might sound like a painful process but it’s a great opportunity to consider investments that provide scale, ease of implementation, and mobile first capabilities.
Some clients are moving from a legacy system to a more native environment. Some businesses start with digital systems in place and don’t have the legacy – which can be both blessing and curse. In a lot of cases, our clients have made significant investments and unfortunately, we see that sometimes they are only using up to 30 percent of the features and functionality of their tech ecosystems. Or they’re not connecting them in the right way. The technology investment has been made, but it’s not being best used.
If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed
Since the point is to help clients achieve their ambitions we’ve had to put a lot of effort into creating a strategy to align expectations, aspirations, technology, and delivery for them. We’ve found the best way to do that is to start with the data and experience strategy, then overlay that with a structured framework of transformation roadmaps. From there the key is to ensure all the teams are aligned from start to finish.
In order to manage it, you first have to measure it. We use a nine-point model to gauge where any brand is at the moment in their digital transformation, with a scale of one to five in each point, which gauges their overall marketing maturity. Those nine areas and the degrees of maturity in each one give us and our clients an idea of organizational readiness in the CX space.
“You test the people, you test the process, and you test how you learn, and scale, and then embed those learnings,” said Corrina Murphy, Head of Technology, Ogilvy Asia.
Questions clients can ask themselves
Before applying the systematic analysis, though, there are some questions clients can ask themselves:
- What tech solutions do you have in place in the CX area?
- How are you using them?
- How are you connecting the dots?
- Where do you need to optimize?
That’s just the starting point. The real work begins with surveying clients on the functions of teams and stakeholders at different levels throughout the organization to determine that level of CX maturity. Points to home in on include whether data is being used, or is it siloed? Is it part of the CDP, or is it in a single view? Can it actually be utilised by the business in a robust way to benefit the customer experience? Are companies working in a very single-channel environment, or with teams in different channels that aren’t connected. How connected are the different teams? How much are different channels being used and invested in? Are there channels that can be pared back if the business can’t support them? Every factor impacts the success of every other, and without rigorous and consistent assessment the final picture of this complex process will be skewed.
Compelling engagement and messaging
When it comes to engagement, you have to look at generic content, push versus right time messaging, and data analytics. All those disparate systems need to be brought together, which will often involve legacy, multi-stack environments, across different partners. Some people are buying CDPs from one partner, and marketing automation platforms and CMS from another, and the way those link up may not be the most effective for the organization. It’s really important to not forget that it’s about people too; about talent, both internal and external. Crucially all of this only makes sense if you can measure success. Accurate and relevant testing is the only way to ensure the measures taken are the measures needed.
So you test the people, you test the process, and you test how you learn, and scale, and then embed those learnings.
Gaps can be good
In the end, there are bound to be some gaps. If nothing else that means you now know what you’re not using. It’s an opportunity to repurpose investment as something that will serve to give more scale and agility. Which may mean migration planning.
Because strategy teams do such a great job of showcasing the vision, the technology to deliver it is often an afterthought. The best way of streamlining all this is to pull tech into the heart of business planning. There’s too much looking for immediate gratification in numbers, and maybe not enough consideration of experience ROI versus business ROI. Tech roadmaps are a great way forward but if they fail to identify blind spots in CX then they’re not taking care of consumer and business needs in the long term. Most of all they have to incorporate an optimization path and one based on constant testing and reassessment of both systems and staff.
In CX any gaps the team fails to spot, or turns a blind eye to, are sure to be speedily noted by customers. This means any investment up to that point has only served to create a churn machine.
In short, audit to know what you have so you can make the best use of it. Plug the gaps, keep your plans simple: achieving a few things at a time is better than trying to take on everything at once and struggling to succeed. Never neglect the need to keep continuous collaboration and connection across the different business functions. Customer expectations can be simple, or they can be sophisticated, and most of all they can change from day to day so the only way to manage positive experiences is to constantly reassess and adjust accordingly.
A CX expert’s work is never done.