Indeed, many CMOs now realize that a truly people-based marketing paradigm is the only way forward for their organizations. People-based marketing means providing cohesive customer experiences to individuals—a single user—multiple devices, and channels. It can differentiate your business from the competition.
At the heart of this transformation must lie a commitment to the integration of three major pillars: customer strategy, technology, and infrastructure execution.
Integrate Your Customer Strategy
By untethering your brand from a legacy channel-driven approach, you have the freedom to actually ask your customers how they want you to talk to them. You’ll be able to plan from scratch by focusing totally on being responsive to customer actions.
This shift away from a narrowly focused marketing strategy to a holistic customer strategy will ultimately result in a more complete and nuanced profile of your customer.
Additionally, by keenly understanding your customers, you may discover insights that debunk long-standing beliefs about their behaviors and motivations. For example, you may actually find they are not as effectively engaged through more traditional marketing efforts as they once were, so it might be time to devote a larger portion of your budget to something else.
Integrate Your Tech Stack
A customer-first strategy can only be effective if marketers also make a profound commitment to forging an integrated tech stack that acts as the engine for audience knowledge and engagement in the most comprehensive, nimble, and sophisticated manner.
Regrettably, most brands’ internal data flows occur through loosely connected systems of manual or partially automated processes. The systems are connected just enough for them to feel like they are integrated—without actually being integrated, which puts marketers at a distinct disadvantage to their more technologically progressive competitors.
If you are truly committed to tech stack integration, you must focus on three primary components: a platform that enables customer data integration and accessibility across the enterprise; an active repository for the ongoing, real-time collation and assessment of customer profile data; and a platform that leverages this integrated data and analysis to orchestrate the marketing strategy across channels and media. These components will ultimately be the key to enabling a people-based marketing strategy.
Integrate Your Execution
Once you’ve crafted a clear vision of the integrated customer strategy and enabling technology platform, your next step is to create a customer experience management function within marketing, which is new to most companies. The responsibility of this team is to look across channels, guide prioritization of messaging across products, and design marketing programs from the customer’s perspective.
A truly integrated customer experience management (CXM) unit will include familiar constituents, including strategy and planning, insights, and analytics. It should also blend in those with channel experience delivery and marketing technology—functions that have typically been bolted on at the end to execute against a predefined strategy.
This CXM team would work side by side with your marketing team, which is now ready to execute an integrated plan upon which you layer the people and processes required for execution. A complete reorg is not a consideration for most companies. Also, while the idea of breaking down silos may sound heroic, remember that silos originally emerged from a need for specialization and deep expertise.
With a people-based marketing strategy, that need doesn’t disappear. What is required is bridging, not breaking. By making that vital distinction, you will see that the problem is not with the silos themselves but the barriers to cross-team coordination and collaboration that they create.
We worked with a large regional bank to implement this three-pronged integration process and reported positive results that validate a customer-first, people-based marketing approach. First, we developed an integrated enterprise customer data platform. Next, we used the platform to develop high-value audiences for the bank’s cross-sell initiatives. Finally, we created integrated, data-driven, experience-focused interactions across multiple touch points to drive performance outcomes.
In other words, we brought the data together, identified the optimal audiences, and created customer experiences to drive maximum financial results. The bank reported a 76% year-over-year increase in direct incremental revenue from customer cross-sell programs, a 56% improvement over previous program performance from increased personalization of messaging, as well as a 66% improvement in speed to market on analytics-informed enhancements.
With proper planning, investment, and support, brands of all stripes and sizes can generate similar success.