Five gaps marketing leaders must close with IT to improve customer experience (Reality Check)
In today’s world where consumers are continuously bombarded with marketing messages; delivering the right ones, in the right context, and at the right time is essential.
More than ever, marketing teams are expected to drive revenue growth and, in a maturing telecom industry, exceptional customer experience and timely, relevant messages that hit the mark. Frankly, this is where telecom, media, and entertainment (TME) firms will succeed or fail.
Increasingly, a larger share of technology spending is being earmarked for marketing; specifically, initiatives focused on customer experience that incorporate technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Simultaneously, organizations seek to integrate their existing marketing technology (martech) with new enterprise-wide investments to essentially create MarTech 2.0.
Against this backdrop, TME business leaders must recognize and address five important gaps as they look to new marketing strategies and technologies that can deliver a differentiated customer experience, lower churn, and increased revenue.
- The great divide: Marketing and IT collaboration
Enterprise IT is chartered to support the entire organization, from key operational systems to customer care, supply chain management, billing, provisioning and reporting. These systems create data and the potential for insights critical for fostering unique, differentiated customer experience. The ability of marketers to leverage these corporate assets in a timely, effective manner requires effective partnership with IT in a joint operating model built for speed and agility.
Marketers need to acquire new skills to be effective in partnering with IT to create nimble, sophisticated technology investment strategies to develop solutions that deliver differentiated customer experience. That means that marketing teams need to understand how IT approaches enterprise projects and the tools used to integrate technologies quickly using roadmaps and capability/capacity assessments.
- Complementary strengths
When IT and marketing effectively leverage their respective strengths, true competitive advantage can emerge. IT understands how enterprise IT and data systems interact and how to architect the sophisticated integration points necessary for martech 2.0 to take advantage of big data, AI and machine learning and delivering those insights where it matters most – at customer touch points.Marketing is well positioned to bring the very best martech and customer journey understanding to the discussion to define and refine the desired customer experience. The new reality for marketing is that delivering a superior customer experience is no longer a solo marketing-driven effort. It is hard, if not impossible, to access the right data to inform the right customer actions without integrating into enterprise IT data and systems.
- The requirements trap
Another gap that needs to be closed focuses directly on business outcomes. More specifically, marketers should articulate their desired business outcomes and then collaborate with IT to focus and achieve them.For example, if the outcome is to reduce customer churn, TME leaders should focus on gleaning relevant correlations surfaced by the data; what levers are available to them to execute on these data-driven insights; and the best methods to operationalize the results to most effectively achieve time-to-value.
- Investing in the right levers
Insights without execution is a waste of time and money. As TME leaders consider and refine the desired outcomes, it is imperative to look ahead at operations. If a given potential insight cannot be operationalized, then it should quickly be put on the shelf for future consideration.Here are two examples of Fortune 500 IT and marketing teams looking at what levers are available to pull based on potential insights from data. The first is a success story. It comes from a TME giant that was already the market leader in low subscriber churn. The marketing and IT team carefully considered the potential insights available by combining internal data with external licensed and open source data to improve customer experience. The team identified a dozen or so promising potential insights from the combined data sets by quickly prototyping analytic models against a small subset of the data sets. Potential wins included reduction of truck rolls, tighter service windows, data-driven customer care interactions and better call routing.The second example is a cautionary tale. This company lacked a history of marketing and IT collaboration, but both teams were willing to make the right investment if they could identify the right levers to pull.Unfortunately, many of the more obvious levers became unworkable due to previously committed promotion spend, lack of capacity of the marketing and IT team to execute or lack of readily available data to generate the insights. The team continued to narrow in on possible levers, but ultimately the insights could not be actualized for a time-sensitive initiative, and investment was postponed. The team made the right decision because the investment couldn’t be actualized but had the partnership between marketing and IT been in place earlier, the team could have pulled the levers for a positive impact on revenue.
- Keeping score on desired outcomes
When it comes to the IT and marketing partnership and solving for outcomes, it’s paramount that both parties understand and agree on how they are going to keep score. Measuring agreed upon outcomes is critical and enables the marketing/IT collaboration team to make on-the-fly adjustments to their martech 2.0 strategy effectively. This approach allows the partnership to quickly abandon data insights that on the surface may seem valuable, but beneath it may reveal roadblocks for execution in the context of a particular firm’s existing capabilities and resources.The urgency in meeting customer expectations and revenue goals lands squarely on marketing leaders. There is also urgency, then, to create a productive and collaborative partnership with their enterprise technology counterparts. Marketing has taken customer experience a long way on its own, but to truly make it personal and 1:1 at scale, they are going to need the enterprise technology team onboard to help forge the best way forward.
About the author
Tracy Currie is CEO of Capto, a management consulting firm. Tracy has more than 25 years of experience and is an expert in marketing and other critical business management issues.