Wilson Raj, Global Director, Customer Intelligence, SAS, discussed what it means to win the customer experience battle during his presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in San Francisco on June 8. In his presentation, "Win the Customer Experience Battle by Making Your Marketing Matter (Not Just Better)," Raj examined some of the ways that marketers can bolster their marketing efforts and ensure that these efforts are customer-centric.
According to Raj, the human attention span is declining. As such, marketers must be able to generate interest in a company's products and service instantly; otherwise, consumers may consider rivals' offerings.
An average adult observes more than four mobile media devices daily. Meanwhile, marketers are responsible for delivering a consistent customer experience across all these devices -- something that today's always-connected, always-on consumers expect more than ever before.
"Apart from the high attention deficit that we have, there is also high expectations," Raj noted. "It's this notion of what a high customer experience will deliver to you. ... You have divided attention and high expectations."
Prior to the use of numerous digital technologies to connect with consumers, marketers would prioritize brand awareness. But now, marketers are leveraging a vast array of technologies to build partnerships with consumers and are focused on interactive dialogue.
Furthermore, the large assortment of technologies available to marketers has led to the "post-digital" era of marketing.
This period creates both challenges and opportunities for marketers, and marketers who understand the best ways to deliver engaging experiences to customers will be able to foster long-lasting partnerships with consumers consistently.
"The scope of marketing is any touch point that a customer has with a brand," Raj said. "From a measurement perspective ... post-digital, it is about impact to the bottom line and relevance to the brand."
"Better marketing" requires marketers to make their marketing efforts matter relative to the customer experience and customer loyalty, according to Raj.
"In order to deliver an experience that is truly desirable and authentic, you have to solve fragmentation."
Many businesses recognize the importance of improving the customer experience day after day, yet few lack the insights and know-how to make it an organization-wide effort.
"No one's going to say they don't believe in a customer-centric model," Raj said. "It is really the hard part of turning that into an operational business ability."
So what does it take to transform customer experience improvements into organization-wide campaigns?
Raj pointed out "fragmentation" and a silo-oriented approach often hinder organizations as they try to deploy a customer-centric approach.
Organizational silos operate on their own, but collaboration between multiple departments empowers workers with the insights they need to drive customer experience improvements.
Raj also compared marketing to football in the sense that both are games of "inches."
"The inches we need are everywhere around us," Raj said. "Marketing is a game of inches. There is no silver bullet. ... How you play this game of inches is really predicated on where you're playing this game."
Customer experience and customer loyalty investments may deliver long-lasting value for marketers because they empower these professionals with actionable insights that can be used to drive better interactions with clients.
Moreover, having the ability to collect and leverage customer insights empowers marketers with the insights they need to gain a long-lasting competitive advantage over a business' rivals.
"No one's going to say they don't believe in a customer-centric model. It is really the hard part of turning that into an operational business ability."
And with the use of analytics, marketers may be better equipped with actionable insights that can ensure they can bridge the gap with customers every day.
Ultimately, marketers must be prepared to address fragmentation in a number of areas to ensure that they are fully equipped with the insights they need to drive customer experience and customer loyalty improvements.
"To address customer experience fragmentation, you must address the fragmentation in the data, which affects the fragmentation of the decisions that you're doing, which, in turn, affect the fragmentation of the delivery of those experiences," Raj said.
In addition, marketers must be able to find ways to leverage customer data and monitor and track customer experience and customer loyalty successes over an extended period of time.
By doing so, Raj noted that marketers will be able to find relevant customer data and deploy it effectively. Plus, marketers will be equipped with actionable insights that they can use to drive better decision-making processes and marketing efforts across an organization.
"In order to deliver an experience that is truly desirable and authentic, you have to solve fragmentation," he pointed out. "The delivery of the experience in many brands ... is embedded in the decisions that you're making in particular systems. ... Worse, you're making multiple stakeholders make disparate decisions based on this data."
Wilson Raj is the Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS. His responsibilities include collaborating with industry leaders, customers, alliances, sales, marketing and product teams to establish, evolve and evangelize SAS’s growth strategy for analytics-driven marketing capabilities.
With 20 years of experience in multiple industries, Raj has built data-driven brand value, engagement, and loyalty through expertise in integrating advertising, digital marketing, social media, multi-channel relationship marketing and public relations. He has held global leadership positions in marketing at Fortune Global 500 companies such as Microsoft, Novell. Medtronic, Philips, Ameritech (now AT&T Midwest). He also served in digital strategy roles at Publicis and also at VML and Wunderman—as part of Young & Rubicam Group at WPP.
Raj holds a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. from Brigham Young University, and a Certificate-in-Education from the Institute of Education in Singapore.