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How Risky are Customer Engagement Platform Implementations?

New marketing technologies are appearing on the market constantly and CMOs are under pressure to stay competitive and make sure their organization is making the right decision when choosing and transitioning to new customer engagement platform technology. With any new technology, there is risk and anxiety as implementation looms large, especially when the technology requires not only a different mindset, but also a different organizational structure.

Customer Engagement Platforms Demand Thinking and Acting Differently

To succeed in meeting consumers’ needs, marketers are rushing to unify touchpoints, reduce complexity, and increase agility and have high expectations of any new marketing technology they decide to invest in and deploy. The new Customer Engagement Platforms require us to think and act differently in our marketing. Campaigns, targeting, customer segmentation, transactions, and other traditional principles are being replaced with, engagements, customer personalization, and real-time interactions.

Don’t Underestimate the Challenges of Implementation

There are risks marketers face when investing and deploying new and sophisticated Customer Engagement Platforms – many underestimate the data integration process which can be more challenging and time consuming than anticipated.

Additionally, few organizations are equipped to handle customer engagement platform deployment and management in-house. Even firms with a strong IT capability may struggle to incorporate the new technologies.

Failure to acquire sufficient knowledge about marketing technology will lead
to delayed implementation at best, and at worst could result in a deployment that fails to meet internal and customer expectations. If the right expertise is not used the complexities often require sacrifices of capabilities and oftentimes it’s a major capability marketers have depended on to deliver an ROI.

Solutions to Decrease Implementation Risks

Marketing must understand the requirements of their technologies and, assess their internal bandwidth for implementation. A couple of solutions to decrease the risk and implementation challenges are:

  1. Create a new marketing playbook that aligns to your new capabilities as the new capabilities are implemented. Execute your playbook to get fast traction.
  2. Get outside expertise to support implementation and platform migrations. Outside expertise can help you have a higher chance of keeping on budget and on schedule, and have a higher probability of success.

Not managing the risk is not an option. The investment, your customers, and your ability to retain the brand’s competitive advantage all depend on your marketing department’s delivery of consistent, contextually relevant experiences, in real-time, across the customer journey, regardless of device or channel.

To find out more ways to decrease the risks and challenges of implementing customer engagement platforms and other new marketing technologies, download our latest eBook, , How to Implement Personalization Across all Customer Touchpoints.

 About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

 

 

Machine Learning and Real-Time Customer Interactions

Customers are interacting with us in real-time and we need to do the same.  We know we need to respond faster, but accessing and analyzing data across channels is cumbersome and painfully slow. And, it just doesn’t cut it in real-time world our customers live in. And the workarounds we put in place to compensate for our silo data are too slow. They make it impossible to deliver the real-time customer interactions needed to drive customer loyalty.

Machine Learning Picks up Where Basic Analytics Fall Short

Making full use of our data is paramount in today’s competitive environment. It is difficult to do so if we are having to create models offline and manually consolidating multiple centers of truth.

Additionally, we need to develop insights from data assets faster and with greater precision, which in turn enables us to develop competitive marketing strategies designed to drive customer loyalty.

With limited time and resources, legacy systems, and multiple partners and channels to contend with machine learning picks up where basic analytics fall short.

How to get started

Delivering relevance at every touch point, in real-time may be too big to bite off all at once. Take a phased approach. Start with getting your data in order. Inventory it and gather it in one central repository for a complete view of your customers.

You need to invest in a Customer Hub to bring order to data organization, cleanliness, and accessibility. Centralizing marketing data across the organization will create the one center of truth you need, pull your teams together, and will do so without having to consolidate partners.

Invest in the right technology to deliver relevance at scale, across all channels and devices. Machine learning can help predict the next step in the customers journey no matter which channel and device — it connects the dots online and offline… from web browsing to face to face interactions.

The Future

Technology, and with it machine learning, is growing and evolving quickly. Creating competitive advantage now relies on having the capability to consolidate our data into one center of truth and leveraging machine learning tools to deliver the real-time customer interactions required to stay ahead.

To find out more about how to advance your real-time capabilities with machine learning download our newly published eBook; The Value of Context, Cross-Channel, and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

 

 

5 Real-Time Capabilities You Need to Deliver Personalization

Many of us are faced with the reality that there is a gap between what our customers expect us to deliver, in terms of real-time personalization, and what our organization’s real-time capabilities are. McKinsey reports 48% of marketers are challenged to transform their marketing messages to real-time customer interactions. We know we need to close the gap. But without an objective assessment of what our marketing is delivering and where the gaps lie, the complexity of the landscape can have us going around in circles.

Unpacking the Complexity of the Landscape

The question we need to ask ourselves is, how do we objectively assess what the gaps are and what real-time capabilities we need to invest in to close them?

The good news is that in practice, real-time marketing is not that hard to layer into your existing capabilities. It boils down to being able to identify where your organization is currently and what capabilities and corresponding real-time technologies you need to close the gaps. Then you can assess the tools and techniques available to augment your current system.

5 Must Have Capabilities

As you address the gaps, ensure your current technologies are robust enough to support the 5 capabilities listed below:

  1. Access to clean customer data, across all channels, in near real-time (for next-best-actions and real time decisions).
  2. The ability to execute cross channel customer journeys in real time.
  3. Access to a centralized library of offers and messages that can be executed in real-time (or right time) across inbound and outbound channels.
  4. The ability to embed personalized, relevant content inside transactional, triggered messages.
  5. Automatically re-decision offers and messages based on real-time feedback by leveraging machine learning technologies.

Of course, you’ll need to do a deeper dive into the specific gaps your organization needs to close.  Here’s a tool that can help you with that assessment — VeraCentra’s Customer Engagement Readiness Framework. Available for download, here. 

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.  We’ve made it our mission to help marketers advance and thrive.  Learn more about us at veracentra.com.

 

 

Increase Differentiation by Orchestrating Real-Time Customer Interactions

Creating great customer experiences is not a new concept for marketers. We all know today’s customer is driven as much by the experience the brand offers as the products and services it sells.

In fact, Gartner Research reported recently that 89% of marketers expect customer experience management (CEM) to be their primary differentiator. This begs the question — what can we do to deliver a differentiated customer experience?  The answer — orchestrate real-time personalized customer interactions.

What does that even mean?  Are we being hit with yet another buzz word? Maybe. But, the term orchestration is the best way to describe the migration from batch based, calendar based, and channel based campaigns to marketing’s ability to manage discrete customer interactions, across all touchpoints. In other words, with orchestration ability, we finally get to build a relationship with our customers, one customer at a time.

If we are able to deliver personalized messages by managing these individual interactions, we take a giant step forward in delivering a differentiated customer experience.

New Times Call for New Methods

The way customers interact with our companies today does not match the way we currently deliver our marketing messages.  We focus on out-bound campaigns, targeting the same message to a customer group in a scheduled or triggered way.  Our ability to break free from this traditional marketing methodology and our ability to migrate to orchestrating personalized messages, whenever and where ever the customer shows up, is the very crux of successfully delivering a differentiated customer experience.

What it Takes to Create Real-Time Personalized Customer Interactions

Personalizing and managing customer interactions requires the right orchestration enabling technologies.  When you decide to make the leap to manage your messages as an orchestrated approach several critical components must come together.

You need the ability to:

  1. Capture all customer interaction data from multiple source applications and cleanse, transform, and centralize it.
  2. Establish a single identity for a customer, valid across all touchpoints.
  3. Leverage analytics to understand not only multiple customer interactions but also, intent at each touchpoint.
  4. Based on this insight, build and execute cross channel journeys or workflows. (You will need engagement platform technology capable of executing across all your channels.)
  5. Leverage automated trigger capability to immediately respond to customers when they engage.
  6. Use machine learning capabilities and in line analytics to trigger the next best message and interaction.
  7. Use customer metrics such as customer lifetime value, engagement, and satisfaction to determine success.

Don’t Wait Too Long

If customer experience is our primary differentiator, speed is critical.  Buzz words or not, real-time, orchestrated, and personalized customer interaction is fast becoming the new marketing methodology.  For our customers, a personalized interaction creates a positive customer experience, which is the new standard for driving differentiation.

Ultimately, adopting this more modern approach will drive more revenues, increased loyalty, and improve our internal efficiency.

To find out more about how you can orchestrate your customer interactions, download VeraCentra’s e-book, Five Ways to Kick Customer Engagement into High Gear. 

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.  We’ve made it our mission to help marketers advance and thrive.  Learn more about us at veracentra.com.