There’s never been a more exciting or more challenging time to be a marketer. Customer expectations are changing by the minute, meaning marketers have to be on the ball to keep up with new ideas. How can they help their companies grow while still keeping their brand current and relevant?
According to Sally Jenkins, CMO of Informatica, the key is to understand the customers and always be looking forward to a new opportunity. Sally shared her experiences leading a recent rebrand at Informatica. Rebranding is about much more than just changing the logo—it is a chance to make sure messages and goals match what customers want and expect. While a full rebrand doesn’t need to happen on a regular basis, companies should constantly be testing their messages with customers and honing their communication in an ever-changing world.
The first step of a rebrand is to understand what customers are saying about the company. This can be done with surveys, events, or break-out sessions to get a better understanding of what customers feel about your company and where they are in the customer journey. This information gathering should be open and honest—it acts as the basis for your updated brand, so information that isn’t completely accurate could lead to ineffective results and a brand that isn’t truly aligned with what customers are looking for. The end goal of the first stage of rebranding is a complete understanding of where customers are and where your company can take them.
From there, companies need to synthesize the information and combine it with other data to find a way to translate what the customers want to the company’s messages, look, and feel. This is where the brand identity is created and when the visual aspects of the brand are connected to goals and vision of the company.
Sally stresses the importance of first launching your new brand internally with employees. By thinking about employees as your first customers, you can help employees realize how to use the company’s values in the decisions they make at work every day. Once the employees are on board and understand the updated brand, the messages can be spread to external customers for a cohesive customer experience.
Rebranding is something that needs to be thought about on a regular basis and continuously adjusted as the needs of the company and its customers change with new technology and ideas. One of the best ways to do this is to use data for predictive analytics. Combining the science of data with the art of marketing helps CMOs and their teams stay on top of trends and lead the charge for innovation. In the ever-changing marketing world, data helps companies make informed decisions about effective ways to reach customers.
To truly keep up with innovation and growth, companies should always be proactive and find ways to disrupt the status quo. In a world where customers where define your brand no matter what, it’s up to the marketers to take charge and help set the narrative the reflects your true brand.
Digital disruption is inevitable, especially as new technology emerges at a rapid pace. But instead of being disrupted, it’s up to companies and leaders to take charge and become the disrupters themselves.
According to Michael Sutcliff, CEO of Accenture Digital, the future of customer experience is all digital and focuses on personalization. However, creating a plan on a whiteboard and actually putting into into action at scale in the real world are two very different things. In order for a digital strategy to truly be effective, companies must be able to adapt their digital technologies and learn more about their customers’ intentions over time. Preparing to be disrupted isn’t something that happens overnight—companies must work at it and plan to adapt their strategy.
Many of the companies that struggle with digital disruption are those that don’t want to put the work in or don’t know where to start to move towards the digital space. Some companies put lots of effort into the front end of customer experience without realizing the changes that need to be put into the back end and the supply side. Creating a strong digital customer experience is both an art and a science that requires work and planning on all sides. Instead of relying on legacy technologies like outdated call centers, many organizations don’t realize the importance and potential of a digital customer model that can be much more efficient and interactive.
In the digital space, disruption can come from any other industry, not just those that are right around your company. Consider the example of Airbnb: it paid attention to customers to realize what they really want is an experience. The company then partnered with other brands, such as transportation or ticketing companies, to take advantage of their technology and create a package for Airbnb customers that gives them everything they need for a great experience. Airbnb wasn’t disrupted by other industries but was able to leverage their technology to disrupt Airbnb’s current model and create something more efficient and successful.
But no matter how much technology is added, customer experience will always be human centered. Technology is simply the supporting tool to create a good experience for a human, whether that is the customer or an employee. The best digital strategy can’t create a strong experience if the human skills and connections aren’t there. Companies should work to truly understand customer intentions instead of just caring about how much money each customer earns for the company. Customers can quickly see when a brand doesn’t truly care about or understand them. New digital technologies provide companies the opportunity to greatly improve their customer understanding and interactions—companies that don’t keep up or lead the pack of disruption will quickly fall behind companies that are embracing disruption.
Digital disruption has the potential to fundamentally change how an organization does business and interacts with customers—but it’s up to the company to take charge and lead the change.
Steve Hirsch has perhaps one of the most daunting data jobs in the world. As chief data officer at the Intercontinental Exchange and NYSE, his team is faced with massive amounts of data that relate to financial markets around the world, and it all has to be safe, accurate, and usable. It’s a big job, and one that has evolved over recent years with changes and new technology.
One of the biggest changes has been the growth of artificial intelligence, but Steve says we are using the term AI too much and often applying it to technology that doesn’t actually involve artificial intelligence. Steve cites the example of Apple’s Siri, which appears to be AI but is actually just programmed to answer questions in a certain way without taking insights from around and making her own conclusion, which is what actual AI would do.
Automation is playing a large role in the trading spaces, as some exchanges have replaced human traders with computer-based trading machines that use algorithms to find the best deals. Because so much of what happens in finance is driven by models and technology, the industry has faced a number of changes in the past years and decades. To be successful and keep information secure, data experts in the field need to stay informed and on top of the latest trends.
In the data-driven financial world, the Intercontinental Exchange is always looking for ways to incorporate new technology, whether that means building it themselves or going through a good vendor. The main goal of the Intercontinental Exchange is to provide financial data to traders, investors, and academics. That means making sure customers have the information they need to manage their own risks and providing a trusted environment and network that is secure enough for customers to do their required work. The same principles apply to any tech-based business: the goal is always to keep customers’ data safe and secure and provide them the resources to get the job done.
Data, especially related to finances, is particularly prone to volatility. To be successful, organizations need to be prepared for volatility. It shouldn’t be feared, but rather thought of as a way to test that the team has done their jobs properly. Anything from changes in the market to political events, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters can have a big effect on the industry. These events can’t be predicted, so constantly managing data and making sure it is always secure and accurate is incredibly important.
For people wanting to get into the data space, Steve says there are lots of opportunities. Some of the biggest demand now, especially for organizations that analyze massive amounts of data, is for data scientists and data engineers who can understand data and algorithms to make business decisions.
The financial markets affect us all, and having the right data drives smart decisions to keep the markets thriving. Your organization doesn’t have to be as big as the NYSE to take advantage of data—by staying on top of tech trends and avoiding being disrupted with volatile actions, any organization can work towards success.
Things in the world of customer experience are constantly changing, and the CIO is no exception. Instead of simply sitting back and waiting for things to happen, today’s CIO plays a more proactive role in finding forward-thinking solutions for the company. That’s according to Jason Richard, CIO of Lucky Brand. While the old CIO position may have been limited to the technology side of the business, Jason is involved in many facets of the organization as he looks for ways things can run more smoothly, be more efficient, and leverage new technology. This is incredibly important in customer experience as modern customers demand a consistent, tech-based experience. Even something as seemingly simple as offering free WiFi in stores can utilize new technology and greatly improve the customer experience.
As more customers take their shopping online, the CIO plays a large role in making sure customers have a consistent experience no matter where they are shopping and that they don’t see any barriers between shopping location. In Lucky’s case, customers could be on the website, in a dedicated Lucky store, or at a partner department store, so Jason and his team ensure the technology is the same and that employees can provide customers with the products they need. This includes making sure the company has the best technology to track inventory, accept payments, and communicate with customers. If a customer purchased a product online but wanted to return it in store, as is very common in today’s world, the company needs to have the right technology to make that transaction possible. Without proper systems and employee training, customers could be left with a frustrating situation and no way to change it. The CIO’s job is to deliver on capabilities to make the customer experience great.
The role of the CIO has already changed, and it will continue to evolve as technology and the customer experience changes. The focus going forward isn’t simply on making sure computers work and the lights stay on, but rather on delivering on ROI and using technology to make a strategic impact in the company. CIOs can’t sit back and wait for other business leaders to come to them with needs of the organization—they must get enough pull behind them that they can innovate and proactively put the right technology in place to drive the organization forward and build a strong customer relationship. In order to do that, CIOs need to be aware of their business, the industry, and the latest technology.
In a world filled with evolving technology, customers expect a strong tech-based experience. The CIO can implement changes to greatly improve the customer experience and stay ahead of the technology curve.
Today’s customers want to interact with brands in a way that is easy and convenient. For most people, that means self service because they can control when and how they get the information they need instead of waiting on hold and potentially wasting their time. When it comes to self service, there’s possibly no better technology than a chatbot. Wells Fargo recently tested the waters by creating its first chatbot, and the lessons learned can be applied to companies in any industry.
One of the biggest draws for a chatbot is that offers self service with a conversational interface, according to Kimarie Matthews, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Virtual Channels Social Care & Capabilities. Customers can easily find the answers to their questions by using a conversational style instead of having to type or search for an answer, but they also have the value-added human service if that better meets their needs. Chatbot technology opens the door to offer a higher level of customer experience and connect with customers in a new way.
The Wells Fargo chatbot includes answers to basic questions about account balance or recent transactions, which are what most customers use the chatbot for. There are also other features that customers have yet to discover, like diving deeper into spending trends and potential account offers, and Kimarie says the company is discussing how to let customers know about the additional features that can help their banking and savings goals.
Where should companies start if they want to build a chatbot? Kimarie says it doesn’t have to be a grand effort—simply start with a task that customers need and that the chatbot can do very well. Things can grow naturally from there once customers realize the value of the chatbot. For Wells Fargo, that meant delivering an easier way for customers to keep track of their account balances, but other companies can find tasks to simplify for their customers with a chatbot. The important thing is to tweak the chatbot in real time and constantly make adjustments to improve the customer interactions instead of sitting back and waiting for feedback.
Chatbots are a powerful customer experience tool and one that will continue to evolve as technology changes. Although issues around security and privacy still remain and will need to continually be addressed, the foundation is set and the resources are there for companies to take advantage of chatbots. It all comes down to ease—building a chatbot is relatively easy for businesses with resources like Facebook, and using chatbots can make things easier for customers. Although chatbots will never replace human interaction, they are a great resource for expanding how brands and customers connect.