Dozens of client-side marketers attended a recent Econsultancy roundtable discussion in Manila about Customer Experience.
In this post I’ll summarise the talking points from the discussions around joining up online and offline data.
‘Optimizing the customer experience’ was voted the most exciting opportunity for marketers in our recent Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing 2016 Digital Trends.
How is Customer Experience (CX) going out there in the real world, though? What issues are companies facing as they try to keep up with the CX trends and implement best practices?
Upcoming roundtables: Jakarta (April 14th) and Bangkok (April 21st)
The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM.
Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.
Please note that Econsultancy, in association with IBM, is continuing this CX roundtable discussion series for client-side marketers in:
If you are a client-side marketer and would like to attend either event, please click the relevant link above to register your interest.
Joining up online & offline data
For almost every organisation, customer experience (CX) includes both online and offline touchpoints.
Nearly every attendee indicated that they have to manage data from both online and offline customer journey touchpoints and all participants agreed that integration of online and offline channel data is a must.
This lines up with the results from our 2015 global survey, Understanding the Customer Journey, in which more than nine in ten (92%) indicated that they had offline channels relevant to their business.
Though most participants were keen to integrate online and offline data, the ability to do so was not as common.
Most participants said that they faced many challenges with joining online and offline data.
This point was also raised in the Understanding the Customer Journey report, in which 71% of marketers indicated they have little or no data management across touchpoints.
Some of the challenges the roundtable participants face are listed below
1. Collecting offline data
The first challenge marketers faced when trying to join online and offline data was collecting offline data and recording it digitally.
Many expressed frustrations that solutions in this area were not effective at helping them link online with offline customer experiences.
One participant noted, however, that hotels have managed to do this very well.
Previously, hotel guests would have to queue at the front desk to check-in as that is the only place where data was available to staff.
Now, many hotels have empowered their staff to conduct check-in and collect the required data at many different touchpoints, even in the hotel guest’s room.
Other marketers in the region feel the same.
Econsultancy’s recent survey report, the State of Email & Marketing Automation in South-East Asia, revealed that 71% of company marketers feel that their ability to gather the data was ‘average’ or below, with less just 8% saying it was ‘excellent’.
2. Managing data
With all of the online, offline, and CRM data available, joining the various touchpoints of the customer journey also requires a great deal of data management.
Most participants indicated that they have data from many online and offline touchpoints and experience difficulty in finding meaning in it, even when they are able to collect it.
One way businesses are managing offline data and discovering insights is by using Google AdWords’ offline data capability.
Google AdWords links online searches with the location of the searcher using GPS data.
When it is configured properly, AdWords reports can tell businesses which AdWords ads are driving offline as well as online visits.
Once the data is collected and being managed then, according to participants, marketers will also need a system to help them use it effectively.
One attendee reported that justifying the cost of such solutions was a challenge as the cost is high and demonstrating return on investment (ROI) is difficult.
Cost is always an issue when marketers are implementing new systems, but there is some hope.
In Econsultancy’s recent survey of South-East Asian marketers, respondents revealed that more than half (63%) of all companies in the region will be increasing their budget for email marketing and automation in 2016.
Should a business rely on offline data to improve their email and marketing automation, then marketers could allocate some of that budget increase to help joining online and offline data.
Along with listing the problems marketers face in joining online and offline data, participants in the roundtable also mentioned a few solutions.
1. Simplify the initiative
Participants agreed that the best way to approach the difficulty of joining online and offline data is to initially aim for a small, simple solution.
Look at how, when, and where you are connecting with customers and pick one offline-to-online or online-to-offline experience to improve.
One participant suggested that being able to greet regular customers by name at an offline location was a good way to start.
2. Segment your audience
Then, simplify even further by identifying a particular audience for whom that experience matters the most.
According to one attendee, it is overwhelming to try and improve CX for ‘everyone at once’.
In the hotel example above, a CX initiative could start by joining the online and offline data for the business traveler, and then move on to other segments from there.
3. Set KPIs and ROI
Finally, participants urged that any new programme to improve joining online and offline data should have key performance indicators (KPIs) so that improvements can be measured and tracked.
That is, it’s not sufficient to simply improve how your organisation joins online and offline data; there has to be a specific business results such an effort is trying to influence.
Then once you are seeing an improvement in the KPI, you can move to measuring your return on investment (ROI).
Initiatives which fail to specify and improve on KPIs are often stopped, one attendee noted.
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, IBM.
We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Joining Up Online and Offline Channels Data table, Rovy Rivera, Senior Manager of Digital Performance & Analytics at Globe Telecom.
We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!