In nearly every one of my technology consulting engagements with enterprise clients, I’ve seen a trend: marketing technology is purchased and executed without a customer strategy to guide it. As a result, organizations find themselves in need of a marketing technology evaluation and roadmap reset project, not because their tools are outdated or broken, but because an ad hoc and accidental architecture was created due to the lack of a customer strategy.
Over the past few months, my wife and I have been renovating a room in our home and as a result, we’ve spent more hours at the local Home Depot than we’d like to admit. We’ve wasted too much time browsing materials and chasing down orange aproned employees because no one knows which aisle the shop vacs are in. After doing this a few times however, we learned a crucial lesson — if we would have just taken some additional time up front to think about our project vision, we could have saved hours of time we would have otherwise spent slack-jawed, wandering around Home Depot. Better yet, we realized if we just carefully planned, measured, and thought through our tools and materials needs for the day before running to the store, we could use the Home Depot app to order our materials for pickup and skip the Home Depot aisle wandering vortex all together. Eventually, this is exactly what we started to do, and what a difference it made!
At its core, a customer strategy is a plan and vision much like the one I needed for my home. It’s important to remember that your technology tools and their features are NOT your customer strategy. Rather, customer strategies are entities unto themselves, often organized into customer journey stages that typically start with brand or product awareness, and then move through the lifecycle to retention, renewal, re-purchase, etc. Regardless of its format, a customer strategy is a crucial starting point, as it guides technology planning, development, and usage by providing a set of high-level goals for the types of experiences the technology should deliver.
While this is a simple concept, so many organizations purchase and implement technology without a customer strategy as the guide. So, before you set off down the path of acquiring a new piece of technology be sure to ask yourself this question: how does my customer strategy guide this decision? And if you don’t have a customer strategy, it’s time to develop one!
Through developing a set of ideal experiences for your audiences, such as personalized interactions on your website or in your call center, you can mitigate wasted time and budget by using these experiences as guides for purchasing and integrating the marketing technology necessary to make them possible.