Digital experience as customer experience

Customers always have high expectations of how companies deliver experiences. How successful are they in applying insights from the data they have access to?

Losing sight of the customer can mean losing business. By being intentional with the customer experience and truly being able to orchestrate it, the relationship between the customer and the business will grow stronger.

“Digital technology, when connected effectively, enables businesses to meet ever-increasing customer expectations for relevance, consistency and ultimately value in the customer relationship,” said Matt Parisi, director of product marketing at Tealium.

Tealium is a customer data platform that uses tag management, APIs, and other integrations to connect your data and manage digital properties, and is one of the sponsors of Simpler Media Group’s recent Digital Experience Summit. . Following up on Matt’s session on first-party data strategies, SMG sat down with him.

Follow customer requests

Simpler Media Group: Why is digital marketing technology important for customer experience?

Paris : The customer journey is increasingly empowered by digital technology, in virtually every industry. Not only is a significant part of the customer journey performed in a digital context, but digital technology can also better enable almost any customer engagement, even physical interactions. So, in this way, digital not only becomes the most dominant channel, but also an enabling technology for any customer engagement.

In case anyone doubted it, the pandemic really shone a spotlight on which companies could leverage digital versus which could not. It looks slightly different from vertical to vertical, but the common thread is that companies that were nimble with digital – and by extension their data – are the ones that thrived.

SMG: How has digital marketing and tracking customer preferences evolved in recent years?

Paris : It might be easier to ask how they haven’t changed. The importance of first-party data and the practices around it have truly undergone a seismic shift. As technology constantly emerges to help solve these challenges, there is also a constant stream of new restrictions to solve.

As I mentioned earlier, the pandemic has really shone a light on the importance and effectiveness of digital. At the same time, the use of digital by companies has matured, societal expectations have evolved, governments have implemented regulations and customer expectations are constantly increasing.

Privacy has really come to the fore. You can see what Apple has done over the past two years by limiting access to data. At the same time, customers still have high expectations of how companies deliver experiences, which largely hinges on their ability to apply insights from the data they have access to. It really places a premium on trust in the customer relationship, and you’ll never be able to build that trust unless you really prioritize how you use data throughout the customer journey.

Data decisions

SMG: What do these changes mean for data-driven business strategies?

Paris : This means you need to be very good at connecting and orchestrating the customer experience. Constantly closing the gaps in manual effort to deliver CX, so you can always stay focused on the most valuable area for improvement. Not just the experience itself, but also how you learn and optimize the experience.

I would say this underscores the need for companies to get really intentional about how they manage the data that represents and drives the customer experience. This improved data management and integration is the most effective way to gain customer experience.

This is certainly easier said than done as it is simply unrealistic to expect a single system, department or team to take care of it. It really is something that needs to be done holistically, and in many ways it requires new skills, new technology, and most importantly, the culture to go with it. If you don’t do it that way, the customer ultimately pays the price, and that’s not the best business strategy at this point.

SMG: In your opinion, what are the biggest gaps between the optimal digital experience and reality? How can businesses do better?

Paris : The biggest gap at this point is the culture that exists in an organization around the use of data. This challenge is compounded by the scarcity of talent for certain technical skills. By combining the right technology and the right partners with an organizational culture that embraces the use of data across departmental silos, companies can create an ecosystem that produces exceptional customer experiences without requiring every employee to be a developer or data engineer. Much of it comes down to taking things that used to be technical and accessible only to a select few (whether privileged by skill, department, or access to technology), and making the value of that tactic technology more accessible to the entire ecosystem.

There is a big gap between how companies think they are doing and what customers perceive. Fortunately, this is also an area where data can fill the gap.

Intentionality of experience

SMG: What advice do you have for organizations that want to overhaul their digital experience as part of a digital transformation initiative, but aren’t sure where to start?

Paris : I think you first have to recognize the connected nature of the customer experience and the need for something to support it. As you can see, I think the foundation is using data and managing it in a channel-agnostic way. It’s important to keep the whole lifecycle of this data in mind and not work on it one piece at a time.

For example, how you collect data actually impacts how quickly and how you can activate data. So if you talk about collecting data without thinking how it will be activated, this is the first thing to fix. What connects the dots in the customer journey?

From there, it’s about thinking about the customer journey itself and slowly but surely working to improve that journey at every stage. Improve the experience, but also automate the scaling.

Over time, if you do this with data at the core, with an eye to the full data management lifecycle (collection, governance, insight generation, experience activation), you will master the use of data throughout the customer journey. As your mastery of the data on the journey increases and you manage more and more data, you will open up a true orchestration of CX.

Use case by use case, controlling the use of data enables companies to quickly create value, while moving towards transformational change.

SMG: What do you like to do in your free time?

Paris : I’m somewhat newly retired from being an avid ultimate frisbee player, but I’ve been coaching ultimate frisbee and playing disc golf in my newfound time. But I am looking for new hobbies. I like sports, mainly football, basketball and baseball, so I spend a lot of time there. Going out with my dog, reading and gardening are some of my other favorite activities.

Watch Matt’s full on-demand digital experience session here.

About Dora Kohler

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