When the Customer is not in your Customer Experience

March 15, 2022

Ryan Serpan, VP, Strategy and Advisory

Personalization. 1-1 targeting. Customer Experience. Dynamic Targeting. Propensity. Behavior Modeling.  

All the buzzwords, but how... HOW.... do we as marketers really engage a great customer experience? The answer is quite simple, but usually, something that is not native to most organizational capabilities. What most of us are used to seeing is what we call the "siloed" approach. Large enterprise organizations have large operating teams to manage everything from media to email to website experiences. And rarely are all these organizations truly aligned on what is a valuable experience for the customer.  


As a matter of perspective, I once attended a phone call that had 45 attendees. At least half of the attendees were consultants. My napkin math tells me that one phone call comes with a cost to the organization of around $8,000. We had this call daily. Yes... daily. What were we trying to solve? Personalized customer experiences. Across the teams we had everyone that is important for a personalized customer experience. We had media, product owners, technology experts, campaign managers... you name it, we had it. We had consultants that specialized in operations and org design, and we had MarTech experts.  


The net result however was a struggle to truly build an experience that is personalized to the customer experience, we only ended up with a few offer tests and one regional test (not personalized experiences). The reason? Each of the siloed teams just had too many agendas already in motion and stepping back to create a unified cross-channel personalized experience was essentially impossible. The REAL reason... we didn’t know enough about the customer (behaviors, triggers, propensity, preferences) to make a strong enough case to change the legacy systems to adjust to something more dynamic and real-time.


Let me give an example of a potentially great personalized customer experience. Let's pretend that I'm in market to purchase a fishing boat. I've researched them online. I've been to the boat shop and looked at boats. I've watched hours of YouTube videos about fishing boats. Read reviews, downloaded manuals, and planned how I'm going to customize my boat. And all along that path guess what I've done? I've left signals EVERYWHERE that I'm interested in buying a boat. Hundreds of data aggregators, signal collectors, and behavioral targeting systems know that I'm interested in a boat. They're all excited to sell this information to all your siloed teams and solve this experience one channel at a time.  


Let's pretend YOU own a sporting goods store that sells fishing equipment. You might be interested in knowing that I am interested in a fishing boat, and you might be interested in knowing exactly when I buy that boat. Or perhaps you sell boats, you might be interested in letting me know that you sell boats. The reality is knowing that I'm searching for a boat is well established and hundreds of programmatic tools give us access to media inventory that can target me for boat buying based on that activity signal. When I buy the boat, everyone knows I've done this because hundreds of data signals were created. Now back to YOU, the sporting goods supplier that has fishing gear. This in-market activity is a HUGE signal for you to target me with your fishing gear - GPS, sonar, tackle, coolers, equipment... you've got it all, and you want me to buy it from you.  

**side note – maybe you’ve got a relationship with the bass pro champion three years running and they can make hours of content videos that are relevant to me as well. Please send those emails too....  


This is where the "customer" is so important in customer experience. If you don't know I'm out there shopping, you can't be the first to talk to me about it. What if I'm already a customer at your store and you have my email address, wouldn't you want to trigger an email to me about your fishing gear deals? If you did, wouldn't you want to know if I'm more likely to buy very expensive equipment or value equipment and give me a relevant deal? Wouldn't you want to know that I clicked on a link in your email and browsed your offering and perhaps fell off the funnel at that stage? Then do something about it?  


Of course you would. And you'd want that to happen automatically with the MarTech solutions you've poured millions of dollars into implementing and using.

So, what is the simple answer?  


You must KNOW your customer. And I don't mean just their demographics. You need to know if I'm a value customer or a premium customer. You need to know if I've recently done something that signals buying behavior. You need to know what I'm shopping from your competitors. You need to know where you can talk to me. You need to know what I value that will drive me to buy. You need to know when I’m ready to buy. And you need to be ready with relevant content.  


You also need to have tools that allow you to reach me in any channel. Finally... you must strategize the experience from beginning to end.  

This is usually where the "customer" is missing from customer experience. So many marketers are great at selling their products. Generally, they miss the mark when it comes to speaking to the humans on the other side of the screen.  


Data informs all. At Blend360 – we live and breathe data, analytics, modeling, consumer intelligence, measurement, and activation. With great modeling and great analytics, the signals and behaviors can be defined with a data signature. The MarTech tools in the industry are designed to use these data signals to engage your customers automatically. Our Blend Data Scientists are experienced in the analysis and modeling techniques required to make actionable data models for martech.  

Remove the silo barriers from your teams, assign a leader with the authority to drive personalization, and build up your analytics and modeling capabilities to give you usable data signals that apply to your customer in a personalized way.

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