Transforming Manual Marketing to Smarter Digital Experiences

Back in 2015, I got a chance to speak at the World Experience Strategy forum about how to elevate user experience design into customer experiences throughout an omni-channel/marketing funnel approach (an excerpt is below).

Yet, today's advertising world buzzing with "marketing automation" is evolving exponentially from the "manual" days of spreadsheets and triggered outbound marketing e-mails.  The omni-channel world is accelerating into predictive and cognitive experiences--driven by more and more data growing from the CRM gold rush of recent years.  Just take a look at Bluewolf's blog post here (Digital marketing: Is it time we grew up? Dated June 12,2017).

In the post written by Oluwatobi Demuren, there is a pressing need for companies to catch up in integrating their CRM stack to their marketing stack...if they have the latter.  The article cites Bluewolf's State of Salesforce Report 2017, "Only 3% of marketers say their CRM anticipates which leads to market to."  Much of this is because the lens of CRM tends to be optimized towards revenue projections and attribution for ROI in the current state...A CRM is only as good as the lens and the viewer looking at the data.

The same can be said about marketing clouds...So, who can bring it together?  It's your digital experience practitioner (I say "digital experience" because it's time to go beyond the "UX" mindset of a one click experience--CTAs for CTRs--and begin maturing our view holistically within the entire customer acquisition funnel. What will be said, how will it be seen, how and why will they engage, what will they tell us, how will we respond...more will our marketing expand the conversation and not just reflect back the results we planned for in the first place?)

A key ingredient to any marketing-driven customer journey would be the same regardless of the engine behind it mapping to personas, the right messaging to those personas, and testing out against various intent-based behaviors.  However, society's Uberfication has modified consumer behavior to engage much more in real-time. If it isn't happening now, it's not happening at manual media planning and campaigns are no longer feasible.  The digital experience hinges on designing and mapping journeys with machine learning to guide iteration--but it is up to those behaviorists and customer researchers to map and architect the right triggers and feedback loops in order to empower the engine to iterate in the right direction.  

This new normal for B2C and B2B marketing means it's up to yesterday's digital marketer and UX practitioner to "grow up" and learn how to harness the data in their company's CRM.  With their unique lens, they can build the meaningful customer experiences that foster engagement and relationships between them and a brand.  That's why we're in this business in the first place...just a couple years ago we had to map mental models and journeys creating "what-ifs" and hoping for the best in customer acquisition and retention.  Now, we still need to do this...but there's much more available in terms of data in CRM to help guide us to better testing of new ideas.

If we can get more brands to invest in the marketing technologies out there--marketing clouds like Salesforce, Eloqua, or Adobe...or even a Marketo/TechTarget stack, we can go from one-click experiences to programmatic "smarter" experiences bringing more meaning to our customers--three, four, five clicks...not all in just one session or from just one device.  After all, if it isn't meaningful, it isn't memorable.

If marketing maturity is the big blue ocean for digital marketing, then we better think storyframes over wireframes.