What is the essence of digital marketing? With its use of data and targeting, the digital marketing aspiration is to engage an individual customer with exactly the right communication for his or her needs, at the current stage of their buying journey.
It is surprising, however, how often one sees examples of well established companies not coming close to living up to this promise.
Breakdowns in communication at Jaguar and Lexus
Let’s look at an example.
1. The user searches Google for “most comfortable luxury sedan”.
2. In response, the Jaguar ad does not mention comfort at all, and leads with price instead. A luxury brand leading a benefits-focused customer to think about price!
3. The Lexus ad is much better with its focus on comfort.
4. But upon clicking over to the Lexus website, the focus on comfort is abandoned for a completely different communication.
The curse of sophistication
With state-of-the-art platforms and tools for targeting and communication, and vast resources, how is this even possible at these large companies?
The problem lies, at least partly, in the tools themselves and their sophistication, and the highly specialised employees that use them. Digital marketing has increased dramatically in complexity, and the tools and skill sets to administer it can take focus away from the essence of why it is used in the first place.
Each new marketing platform or tool, with its fancy knobs, dials and instruments, is a massive generator of to-do lists, and a giant sucking force for the marketer’s attention. That is not a bad thing per se, as many tools and platforms can drive tremendous business value. But when that extra attention comes at the expense of customer experience, marketing programmes run into trouble.
Companies in the digital marketing industry have developed platforms and tools that, for the most part, specialise in narrow slices of the customer funnel. The marketer’s main job however, is to ensure that the customer’s experience makes sense as he moves through the funnel.
Dive too deep into a single slice, and you can stop looking at things from the customer’s perspective. And from the point of view of an individual customer, whether their experience is generated by a massively automated and complex system, or put together by hand, makes absolutely no difference to them. They just want it to be relevant.
A test for your own marketing team, is to ask them about priorities. If the answers sound too much like ‘install XYZ tool’, and ‘upgrade to using ABC platform’, and not enough like ‘optimise the ROI of a key segment’ or ‘improve the user experience at a particular point in the funnel’, consider it a warning sign that your team is fiddling with too many machine knobs, and not thinking enough about real people.
That would be a good time to remind them that sometimes you need to scale down to make things work at the level of individual customers and segments, before you scale up with shiny new systems that deal in large numbers.
3 Tips to Refocus Marketing Teams on the Customer Experience
1. Map the customer journey: Before you build campaigns, map the customer buying journey for each key segment. What are customer needs, thoughts and feelings, as they make their way through the awareness, consideration and buying process? This will help you design marketing campaigns and experiences tuned to the customer point of view.
2. Have someone own the customer experience: Make someone on your marketing team responsible for the entirety of the funnel customer experience. This person ensures customer-centricity throughout the customer journey, while others on the team may be focusing on their individual pieces of the marketing funnel.
3. Run experience audits: Audit your campaigns for customer experience regularly. Say once a month, print out every touchpoint on every customer journey from start to finish. Put these up on the walls of a room so you can see them in their entirety, and evaluate whether they still make sense. Do this in conjunction with looking at funnel performance data, of course.
At Indiginus, our digital specialists pride themselves in thinking from the customer’s standpoint. If you need help evolving your digital growth model through a strategy and experimentation based customer-centric approach, we can help. Get in touch