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In a recent Econsultancy report, survey respondents revealed that the CMO is spending more than the CIO in almost a third (32%) of companies in Australia and New Zealand.
How are marketers using all of this technology, then, to address the pressing issue of improving customer experience (CX)?
To find out, Econsultancy invited dozens of client-side marketers in Sydney, Australia on March 10th to discuss this and other topics at hosted roundtables.
The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor Epsilon.
32% agree the CMO is spending more on tech than the CIO.
Every industry is facing up to the same challenges
At the table there were people from finance services, telco, retail, and many other industries. They each had different customer profiles and provided very different customer experiences, but they discovered that many of them face the same issues with technology.
Through the discussion, though, many helpful tips emerged on how technology can be used to improve CX.
Start with your customer, then look at your marketing systems
If you're trying to improve your customer experience with technology, participants asserted, start by understanding how your customers use technology to interact with your business.
Something as simple as knowing whether customers are typically on mobile or mostly on PC can guide your improvement efforts to a great extent.
Many marketers admitted to using multiple marketing platforms and then discussed the headaches they cause when trying to use them to improve customer experience.
One participant said that their marketing department uses Eloqua, Unica (IBM Marketing Operations) and Adobe Analytics Premium, which all offer overlapping features. This can result in chaos and confusion in the marketing department.
Look for data silos in other systems
Marketing is not the only place that data is locked up and prevented from flowing freely to enhance the customer experience.
Many businesses have customer data spread out through point-of-sale systems, CRM databases, and other places where interactions with the business is recorded.
If this data is not integrated, then the business doesn't have a single view of its customers. Without a single, data-enriched view of the customer, improving customer experience is very difficult.
So what can marketers do?
One suggestion was that marketers should organize their systems into a marketing 'stack' diagram which includes the marketing systems, their interfaces, and the data flow between them.
Then when you want to improve customer experience, you at least know where you can look to find the right data or deliver the right message.
Organizing marketing technology into a stack has become quite popular recently. Chiefmartec.com now sponsors a contest, 'The Stackies', where marketing organizations submit their marketing system diagram for peer review. The top five receive a prize at an annual conference.
To get some idea about how to create a marketing stack diagram, have a look at the 2015 Stackies winners.
New technology can help
Though most of the discussion focused on removing technology barriers, participants also acknowledged that new technology can help when trying to improve customer experience.
One participant said that his company analyses historical customer interaction data to draw conclusions about how customers use their online services. This helps them map the customer journey and anticipate customer needs.
Though again the question of integration came up on this topic, it was pointed out that new, cloud-based marketing solutions will make this easier.
Google's recent launch of Analytics 360, its integrated platform, is certainly intended to be such a solution.
The end result
Participants agreed that what they are all aiming for when using technology to improve customer experience is nothing less than the 'holy grail' of marketing, real personalization.
That is, for their company to be able to offer its customers the right product, at the right price, at the right time, via the right channel.
Everyone agreed, however, that few, if any ,companies have the data in order to make that happen, though they all are working to achieve it in the future.
A word of thanks
Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, Epsilon.
We would like to extend a special thanks to our moderator for this table, Beaudon Mclaren, Direct & Freemium Operations Manager, APAC, Intel Security
We truly appreciate the participation from all of our attendees and sincerely hope that we will see you all again at future Econsultancy events.
You can read the first two posts in this roundtable series here: