Sean Shoffstall, Americas General Manager and Vice President, Marketing, Mapp, discussed how business leaders can implement a meaningful and engaging digital journey for customers in his presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum in New York on Oct. 19. In his presentation, "Mapp the Customer Experience," Shoffstall provided tips to help business leaders drive creative strategies to enhance the customer experience.
According to Shoffstall, the customer journey has become increasingly complex due to the evolution of mobile and digital technologies.
Today's customers can interact with a business like never before. As such, business leaders must be able to find ways to connect with customers across multiple channels.
However, many business leaders struggle to foster positive customer experiences via myriad mobile and digital platforms.
"When we talk about mapping the customer journey, too many times, it's just from one point of view," Shoffstall said. "And typically, it's the content."
Although content provides immense value, business leaders must be able to tailor content to the needs of a company's target audience. By doing so, business leaders will be better equipped to engage customers over an extended period of time.
"Now more than ever, we also have to look at the content of the customer journey," Shoffstall noted. "No longer do we have a simple path that a customer is going to take."
Furthermore, business leaders must focus on more than just building a one-time connection with a customer.
"If we're talking about a customer journey, we really want to build engagement."
If business leaders focus on driving ongoing customer engagement, they may be able to find ways to connect with customers throughout each stage of the customer journey, regardless of its complexity.
"If we're talking about a customer journey, we really want to build engagement," Shoffstall stated. "It's not just about getting that one-time hit with a customer."
Ultimately, business leaders must explore ways to deliver personalized customer experiences.
By fostering personalized customer experiences, business leaders will be able to develop ongoing conversations with customers. These conversations will enable business leaders to provide pertinent information to customers as well as collect customer feedback.
As a result, an emphasis on building conversations could prove to be both exceedingly valuable for both business leaders and customers.
"We want engagement to actually start to act like a conversation," Shoffstall said. "Conversations are things that we do with our friends, and friends are people we actually invest our time in."
Business leaders frequently understand that a wealth of data is available, but recognizing the true value of this information remains an ongoing challenge.
Using data to identify customer behaviors and trends empowers business leaders with meaningful insights that they can use to drive long-lasting customer partnerships.
"When we're actually thinking about a true customer journey, we have to think about the fact that [customers] aren't always going to be ready to buy every single time they talk to us."
Data can help business leaders understand all aspects of the customer journey and discover innovative ways to help a company improve its customer interactions.
"We're trying to use the data that we have, but we typically only look at the single points of data that we have in one specific aspect," Shoffstall pointed out. "Too often, what we actually need to do to understand our true customer journey is bring in customer support data."
How business leaders foster collaboration among all departments within their respective companies may make a world of difference relative to the customer experience as well.
Business leaders who encourage employees and managers to work together can learn from one another. Employees and managers also may be able to gain unparalleled insights a brand's mission and messaging thanks to collaboration and find the best ways to drive customer loyalty and satisfaction.
"We ourselves are the consumers as well," Shoffstall said. "We might be in marketing, we might be in finance, and we know our product inside and out. … We also know how brands talk to us should influence the way we talk to friends – the consumers that we're trying to reach."
Each consumer travels along the customer journey at his or her own pace. Meanwhile, business leaders must realize a customer may not be ready to make an instant purchase and find ways to converse with customers and provide them with the information that they need at a given moment. This will enable business leaders to share relevant information with customers and improve their chances of build long-lasting customer partnerships.
"When we're actually thinking about a true customer journey, we have to think about the fact that [customers] aren't always going to be ready to buy every single time they talk to us," Shoffstall noted. "[Each conversation] is going to have different context."
Sean Shoffstall is a well-known and successful digital marketing entrepreneur, technology innovator and marketing strategist. Over his 20-year career, he has worked with top global brands providing leadership, strategy and execution in both B2C and B2B settings. Shoffstall has a keen ability to successfully execute multi-channel marketing in his own unique manner. His innovative thinking makes him a desired board member and strategist for companies trying to break through crowded market spaces or enter brand new industries.
At Mapp, Shoffstall will manage the company’s North and South American region as well as run marketing throughout the Americas.
He joined Mapp Digital (formerly BlueHornet) in July 2016 through the acquisition of Teradata’s Marketing Applications business where he served as vice president, global marketing & consulting services. He ran the group that included the firm’s interactive agency, implementation & architecture group, marketing strategist, message deliverability and customer & field training supporting clients in financial services, healthcare, CPG, retail and high-tech.
Previously, for nearly two years, he served as Teradata’s vice president, innovation and strategy, where he ran the firm’s national interactive services team.
Shoffstall was chief operating officer and partner at Ozone Online, a full-service digital marketing agency acquired by Teradata in May 2014. In 2001, Shoffstall co-founded and served as chief technology officer for Sycle.net, a developer of patient management software for audiologists. Other work experience includes running global analytics for Autodesk.
His unique insights into marketing trends have made him a desired speaker at industry events such as AdTech, Argyle Executive Forums and DMA. His philosophy around Quantifiable Creativity has been published in articles and featured in webcasts for CMOCouncil, MarketingProfs, B2BOnline and more. In 2013, Shoffstall was recognized as a runner up for the Marketer of the Year (MarketingProfs).