Creating harmonized experiences that drive loyalty for life

You’re researching and planning your next family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, FL.  A few days later, you receive an email with an offer from the same brand of hotels near “Lego World” in California as you recently filled out a direct mail piece indicating you’d like to learn more about visiting “Lego World”. Hold on …. the phone rings. It’s a Vacation Club who’s affiliated with the brand of hotel you’re interested in but this hotel is near Disney Land in Anaheim, CA. They learned of your interest when you called the brand’s hotel toll-free number to inquire about specials and then hit #1 to learn more about a magical Disney Land, not World, experience. Sound familiar? I’m not going to California so the Disney Land messages are just wasted touchpoints, creating “noise” and confusing my experience with the brand.

As the marketing industry has evolved, we’ve added channels, one at a time from print, to email, mobile and social. In many marketing organizations, each channel is managed with its ownindependentpeople, processes and technology. Throughout the years, this independent creation of channels has led to individualized or segmented marketing plans and silo’d teams focused on the specific channel message leading to multiple voices (or messages) coming from one brand. And although these voices have similarities, they are not consistent which causes confusion in the marketplace, and most importantly, with your customers.

Here are some tips to consider when evaluating your marketing organization to determine how you can speak to your customers in one voice and drive loyalty to your brand.

  • Develop a centralized marketing strategy: Marketers need to migrate from a channel-centric to customer-centric marketing strategy that can be managed and optimized. Your customers want a personalized experience. From recent Epsilon research, we learned that 80% of consumers would more likely to do business with them if offered personalized experiences.
  • Institute a governance model: Marketing is full of processes and systems. It’s the ‘marketing norm’. Put a process in place and make sure to govern, or watch over/manage the marketing organization from a broad perspective and the orchestration of cross channel communications. It’s important to set-up your teams so everyone is aligned and focused on a unified goal. For example, create a steering committee and engage senior leadership. Getting executive buy in is essential. Next, group all other ‘non-marketing’ function departments into a working committee. Then, create a centralized marketing team that unifies all areas of marketing or those areas ‘related to’ marketing – digital, channel, analytics, data, IT, brand, etc.
  • Implement organizational change management: Be a change agent. Don’t talk about change, lead with change and as Nike says, “Just do it”. Transition the marketing organization to be more digitally focused. And remember, it’s a journey – a digital journey. We like to think of this journey in 4+ stages: default marketing, segment-driven marketing, real time contextual, and predictive learning followed by the anticipatory stage – that’s anticipating what customers want in the future.
  • Choose a technology platform that works best for your business: Test and re-test to determine which platform is best for you. Include your data assets, a data tool to inform conversations and enable one voice. And ask an expert. With any technology platform, you want to ensure it’s conducive to your needs.

Build a customer first strategy, breakdown organizational silos and enable a marketing technology ecosystem. It’s a shift from delivering standalone campaigns to optimizing a set of connected cross-channel interactions that, when added together, make up a personalized, orchestrated customer experience in harmony driving loyalty to your brand.

This article originally appeared in Loyalty360 on July 1, 2018.