In my last post, we explored why having a unified customer experience strategy is a key way for brands to create meaningful engagement and drive more profitable customer relationships. But that’s just first step. While making the decision to pursue this kind of strategy is important, executing a unified customer experience strategy also requires having the right marketing technology tools to create a single customer view, analyze disparate streams of data, and most importantly, automate decisioning.
But what martech and adtech tools — or combinations of them — do brands need? And how can they leverage these tools to create unified customer experiences?
In part, the answers to these questions will be unique to each brand — there is no such thing as a “universal” marketing tech stack, or the right implementation strategy for every enterprise. But there are a few common elements most brands can put in place in one form or another. CRMs, for example, are widely-used and well-established martech tools, and are essential for tracking customer activity and laying the groundwork for a single customer view. Adtech demand-side platforms (DSPs) have likewise proliferated in the past decade or so and are often the go-to systems for digital advertising deployment.
Less prevalent — but becoming more widely available — are AI-powered automation systems that can distribute real-time offers based on predicted behavior(s), manage and update databases without prompting, and execute intelligent multi-channel campaigns without manual intervention. These systems in particular are promising, because by automating the decisioning process, they create the consistent, expected interactions that lead to unified customer experiences.
These martech and adtech systems expand marketers’ capabilities, but more important than the power of the tools themselves is what they can help brands achieve — a unified customer experience.
Achieving a Single Customer View
The foundation of a unified customer experience is a single customer view (SCV). While CRM systems are the bare minimum needed for a brand to get to a SCV,For many enterprise-level organizations, an off-the-shelf CRM program will need to be augmented by many other tools and a technology partner to achieve this.
But once a single customer view has been established, brands can use that critical customer data as a base to apply automation layers and decision management, which can facilitate more effective marketing, an enhanced ability to influence customer behavior, and create unified, consistent experiences.
Decision management systems aren’t new, but their application to marketing and advertising is a recent development. Decisioning systems provide a central convergence point for inbound and outbound engagement, governed by a single set of rules. Automating that process allows brands to adjust one set of parameters for routine customer interactions, and let the system determine the nature of each individual engagement.
With this kind of automation in place, decisioning systems can track what type of content consumers are most interested in, allowing brands to deliver more personalized, natural, tailored marketing content. It can be leveraged to manage a wide range of marketing activities, from customer data evaluation to offers and promotions to loyalty program interactions. Most importantly, it unifies the brand experience from the customer’s perspective, ensuring that there is consistency throughout that person’s interactions with the brand.
This consistency is the first-level outcome of a well-executed unified customer experience strategy. If those customer encounters are consistently positive and valuable, they’re likely to result in longer-term, mutually beneficial relationships. And those, in turn translate into revenue and repeat business.
Brands that successfully implement this strategy — using the technology tools and partners that are right for them — will earn a reputation for putting the customer first, enjoy a more positive overall brand perception, and ultimately create a sustainable competitive advantage.