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How to Craft a Successful Experience-Focused Marketing Strategy

Customer experiences can make or break brands. We’ve all had experiences in which companies make it easier than ever to give them money, but when we want to cancel our order or subscription, we must navigate a maze of phone conversations with no transparency of the process. 

Everything we do, as marketers, from gathering data to posting a new blog online, affects how our customers interact with our brand, even if we don’t realize it. It pays to be intentional when designing your marketing strategy, so you can ensure that every decision enhances the customer experience. In this article, we’ll analyze what a successful customer experience looks like, so you can design a marketing strategy that enhances your audience’s experience.  

Determine What Your Customers Expect From Your Brand Experience 

The key to designing an effective customer experience is to understand how customers prefer to interact with your brand. Many consumers first interact with brands on their favorite social media platforms, and there’s a wide breadth of platforms available for that. They could watch a video on YouTube or TikTok or visit Twitter or Reddit for the most recent updates on their favorite properties/brands, for example.  

According to the Pew Research Center, the most popular platforms on the internet are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest in that order. The fact is that it’s rarer these days for users to visit your site directly first. You must encourage your audience on their preferred platforms to transition to your site. That way, you can collect the data necessary to build a comprehensive customer profile.

Personalization Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury 

Customers expect brands to provide unique, personalized experiences. 62% of customers expect companies to anticipate their needs, and for those brands who do, customers feel like they have a stronger emotional connection with them, according to Salesforce’s recent State of the Connected Customer Report.  

This means that every interaction should cater to your audience’s unique tastes. To do that, you must have the data to back up your personalization strategy and be transparent about why you are collecting it. After all, 39% of consumers are not comfortable with companies using relevant personal information if not gathered in a transparent and beneficial manner.  

People Want to Interact with Brands They Trust  

Customers simply have more trust in brands that make honest claims; they want brands to act with their interests in mind. And if you are collecting data and then not utilizing it in the ways customers expect it to be, you risk breaking that trust. So, make sure to consider employing these methods to build trust with your 1st party data strategy: 

  • Be intentional about the data you collect and transparent on how it is being utilized  

  • Ensure that the data you collect is being used to improve the customer experience. Every piece of data should be trackable to specific use cases  

  • Provide continuity throughout your campaigns. Each piece of personalized content should tell a new piece of the story you are crafting alongside your customers  

Break Down Silos Between Your Marketing and Sales Teams

If the relationship or processes between your team and sales are rocky, the customer is going to sense that within the customer experience. Some common pain points that cause friction between these teams are:  

  • A lack of communication  

  • Naturally different goals (marketing is focused on generating leads while sales prioritize generating revenue)  

  • Competition for budgets  

  • Separate data sources  

Successful customer experiences are created when marketing and sales teams build consistency throughout the hand-off process. Here are a couple of ways to ensure this occurs:  

  • Establish comprehensive customer profiles with a Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDPs not only centralize your customer data, but are also able to match known identifiers, such as email address, phone numbers, and company names) with anonymous data. This means that you can track how your contacts are interacting with your brand and build customer journeys from that data. Most importantly, your sales team will have a better understanding of a prospect’s expectations and their journey before having a conversation.  

  • Focus on Solving Customer Problems Together. Both teams must be in constant communication to ensure that the pass-off between marketing and sales is smooth. Having weekly meetings where you discuss roadblocks and solutions not only can improve team dynamics but can ensure that both teams are working towards the same goals.   

Ensure Your Tech Processes Enhance the Customer Experience

The best way to ensure your tech and processes enhance the customer experience is to map your tech to the customer lifecycle. For review, the stages of the customer lifecycle include:  

  • Awareness: Increase brand visibility

  • Engagement: Expand the volume of leads through improving search engine optimization (SEO) and increasing web traffic  

  • Acquisition: Grow conversions by providing clear, calls-to-action  

  • Onboarding: Improve customer satisfaction through making the pass off between marketing and sales as seamless as possible  

  • Experience: Increase retention by improving NPS scores   

  • Advocacy: Drive cross-sell and upsell opportunities with customer loyalty programs 

It’s critical to map out your customer touchpoints throughout these lifecycle stages and ask yourself whether your tech enables you to seamlessly move your customers throughout the lifecycle without friction. These touchpoints could include website visits, social media interactions, sales and support calls, product usage, and more. If your tech is the reason why prospects and customers are dropping off, it’s critical to introduce new data and functionality to overcome these roadblocks.  

4 Ways to Increase Operational Efficiency

  • Eliminate working in silos by increasing collaboration with key stakeholders and users. A siloed decision-making structure leads to a lack of understanding of each other’s needs and dependencies. By getting your key users and decision makers together on a regular basis, you can better understand what touchpoints encourage prospects and customers to convert to the next lifecycle stage. 

  • Lead with experience instead of tech. Maximize the tech you already have and implement new functionality based on how it affects the customer experience. Implementing tech just because it’s new and exciting can lead to massive tech debt. 

  • Overcome data challenges with a unified data source. Consolidate marketing and sales metrics into single dashboards can help teams better understand how certain decisions and campaigns can impact the customer experience. 

  • Partner with marketing experts who lead with an experience-based lens. When your team is missing skillsets or an understanding of certain platform capabilities, it pays to partner who leads with an experience-based lens as they can help analyze gaps and supplement talent where they are needed.

Continually Ask Your Customers for Feedback  

As we discussed in “How to Find Your Own Style of Storytelling in Marketing,” instead of doing hours upon hours of research on your own, it’s sometimes worth it to ask your audience directly. While surveys can be a powerful tool, they can quickly become unusable if not set up properly as leading and loaded questions, for example, can lead to gaining inaccurate information.  

Customer Satisfaction Survey Best Practices

  • Keep your questions short. Be clear and concise to ensure you aren’t muddying the intent of your questions.  

  • Avoid leading and loaded questions by making the language of your questions as neutral as possible.  

  • Be specific to avoid assumptions. Don’t assume that your customers will know specific industry acronyms, buzzwords, and jargon.  

By following these best practices, you can continue to optimize your marketing strategy and ensure that it enhances the customer journey. 

Looking for more tips to improve your customer experience? Read our blog on “What Does a Marketer’s Digital Transformation Look Like?” to discover how you can unify your data and technologies to provide automated, personalized experience.