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Delivering on the customer experience imperative

Advanced technologies and seemingly infinite consumer choices make it imperative for brands to deliver a great customer experience. With so many options at their fingertips, today’s customers base their loyalty on their experience with a brand rather than on product or price.
Consumers know businesses can deliver a seamless, personalized, engaging experience — and expect one every time they encounter a brand. The entire organization plays a part in satisfying that expectation. However, marketers are in a unique position to drive that as they engage customers across channels through a variety of touchpoints.
Much is at stake for those that fail to deliver. According to PwC’s Future of CX report, 1 in 3 customers will stop interacting with a brand they love after one bad experience. Nearly 50% will completely abandon a company after several bad interactions.
Conversely, the marketers that succeed in customer experience (CX) are helping propel their businesses forward. Take Hugo Boss. According to its director of customer experience, “…we have been obsessed with customer data…Having captured customer data, then we leverage analytical models to truly understand our customer behavior in depth…that excites them [our colleagues in sales] and also motivates them to register more and more customers. We were able to massively increase the share of net sales through registered members."
Hugo Boss didn’t quantify that massive increase in sales. However, a moderate increase in customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $775 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues. 

Getting smart about customer experience

It’s easy to understand why marketers across industries, at companies of all sizes, are investing in their CX abilities. Curious to see how they’re faring, Microsoft Advertising teamed with Advertiser Perceptions. Through a combination of in-depth interviews and an online survey, we culled insights from marketing leaders who are excelling at creating a better customer experience.
The research focused on two aspects of CX: Understanding the buyer journey and then improving marketing based on that understanding. These two aspects add up to what we call the  Customer Experience Quotient CXQ. The 20% of marketing leaders from our study who excelled at both we refer to as High CXQ Performers

What sets high-performing marketers apart

While High CXQ Performers excel in many ways, here are three key insights we gleaned:

  1. Going beyond first-party data. Marketers with a high CXQ consider the following nine first-party data sources (listed in order of priority) as essential:
    • Organic search data
    • Ad serving data
    • Website analytics
    • CRM
    • Call center
    • Customer survey data
    • Offline sales data
    • Mobile app analytics
    • Online sales data

    These marketers also make a point of designing customer-focused marketing interactions that yield more first-party data. With that in mind, high performers have responded to privacy concerns and new data regulations in ways that address customer concerns while ensuring they can still collect valuable data. This includes shifting away from cookies to first-party data, and offering consumers incentives to share their data.
    That said, 88% of High CXQ Performers rely on third-party data to overcome barriers to market across the Customer Decision Journey (CDJ). Moreover, they see the combination of first- and third-party data as the enabler of a single source of truth and improved marketing performance. In fact, 78% prioritize using first- and third-party data together effectively (versus 40% of low performers). 

    Calling upon combined first- through third-party data, high performers can better map and market to the CDJ. Specifically, their top two applications of this combined data are journey mapping and dynamic personalized creative.
  2. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). These leaders understand that AI and machine learning (a subset of AI) are reshaping the marketing and advertising landscape. AI and machine learning tools make it possible to capitalize on the terabytes upon petabytes of consumer data being gathered to create experiences focused on customer engagement.

    By helping make sense of big data, AI technologies make it possible to personalize experiences and interact with consumers in smarter ways — personalized at the precise time the customer expects. These technologies even help use data to predict intent across the CDJ. For example, they enable marketers to understand the brands a consumer is considering and their likelihood of purchasing.

    High-performance marketers are increasing their CXQ using a cocktail of AI-powered chatbots, digital assistants and cognitive services. While they are far more likely to take advantage of chatbots, digital assistants and AI cognitive services technologies, they see an 88% increase in engagement with cognitive services.
  3. Engage the right resources. High CXQ Performers recognize when they need to call upon or put in place resources designed to help them excel with their data-driven, customer-focused marketing. To that end, they’re:
    • Almost twice as likely as low performers to use cloud solutions. Specifically, 78% of them use cloud solutions to overcome barriers to CDJ marketing. Four key ways this proves beneficial is for consolidating data, better understanding consumer data, and realizing higher efficiencies and ROI.
    • 1.7 times more likely to use agencies. In fact, 82% of High CXQ Performers use agencies to help them with CDJ marketing. Hand in hand with this, 58% of them are increasing their agency's access to their first-party data, compared to just 24% of lower-performing marketers doing so. This access helps agencies better map the consumer journey, for example.
    • Committed to having a Customer Journey Officer. 100% of High CXQ Performers have or plan to have someone in their company designated as a lead in the efforts to understand and market to the customer decision journey. Contrast this with the 48% of lower performers with this person in place, and the 30% planning to hire a CJO.

For more on how you can become a High CXQ Performer, read our eBook on Creating Smarter Customer Journeys.