Companies invest huge sums of money to acquire customers — including capitalization, R&D, product development, sales, marketing, and more. As prospects become customers, marketing and customer-facing teams continue to play an essential role to generate cross-sell and upsell opportunities, build brand advocacy, and increasingly, enable customer success that translates to customer lifetime value.
However, when marketing and customer experience (CX) teams work in silos, the same goals and motivators that originally won the customer in the first place get lost as pressures rise to cut costs, reduce headcount, increase margins, and do more with less. Inward attention on profit maximization and resource optimization can tip the balance away from customer focus.
How can companies better concentrate their businesses on customers? ClearAction™ Continuum (www.ClearAction.com), a Silicon Valley company created through the recent merger of Marketing Operations Partners and ClearActionCX, is tackling this challenge within a new category called the Customer Value Continuum™.
Founders Gary Katz and Lynn Hunsaker have teamed with Darrin Poole, a former Maritz CX and Adobe executive, to address the marketing and customer experience intersection gap with a new SaaS / hosted solution called the ClearAction Value Exchange™.
On October 25, Katz and Hunsaker will describe why they chose to shift their businesses away from the traditional consultancy model to instead provide a practical application for marketing and CX teams to strike the right balance between marketing operations performance and customer experience excellence.
Attendees at an invitation-only live VIP event and accompanying live streaming broadcast will see a sneak preview of how the ClearAction Value Exchange can be used to develop critical capabilities, such as managing cross-functional intersections, transparency, silos-bridging, strategic and tactical balance, and customer-centered decision making. All of this will happen through self-discovered, virtual, collaborative, and in-person interactions.
Addressing Customer Centricity Gaps
These opportunities to develop and apply foundational “soft-skills” — which companies tend to devalue compared to “hard” functional expertise — enable marketers and CX professionals to step up to lead change and growth initiatives. They can also influence without authority while modeling agile and accountable leadership to align with cross-functional partners to deliver sustained value consistent with corporate objectives.
This vision of marketing and CX professionals coming together is overdue. Research from Gartner and the CMO Council note that traditional voice of the customer and customer experience management programs fall short of expectations. Other findings from The Economist and Gartner identify trends where CMOs and marketing teams expect to own end-to-end customer experience in the near future.
Whether marketing or CX takes the lead, what needs to change is the tendency for companies to try and get things from customers — their attention towards new product introductions, their response to demand campaigns and loyalty programs, and their feedback from Voice of the Customer research. Even the popular Net Promoter Score®, an indicator of company loyalty, is more beneficial to the company than the customer. The focus needs to be flipped to what customers need.
Marketers are skilled at creating compelling messaging, digital interactions, and live events — but these do not necessarily translate to customer centricity. Brand promise is hollow if the messages communicated through these campaigns are incongruent with the actual experience that customers receive or perceive.
In the quest to create marketing machines, organizations tend to overvalue workflow, activity cadence, and output over what is best for customers. The exception is scenarios where something is at risk — winning a deal, responding to a squeaky wheel, and last-ditch efforts to prevent defection.
In each of these cases, the company is forced to overcompensate for its initial self-centered behavior. Escalation is a way of life, and a symptom of not being in synch with customers in designing and executing products, processes, policies, business models, and daily decisions. This type of reactive response could have been avoided had the company put the customer first.
Improving Cross-Functional Interactions
Emphasis on siloed functional activities and hard skill development is the norm — and current marketing IT spend reflects that. Soft skill development is not the only gap. In today’s lean enterprise, virtually every marketing team member is valued for producing deliverables. “Glue” roles that used to manage the interfaces and handle the responsibilities that no one else owned have vanished in many companies.
This lack of glue often translates to performance gaps, lack of critical anticipatory thinking, and leaky operations — all which degrade customer experience. The vulnerabilities in the system surface at unexpected times, creating unintended consequences, including unnecessary customer hassles.
The ClearAction Value Exchange is designed to help people on teams with different levels of skill, experience, and expertise be more customer centric and do the whole job, rather than just the job they know. This is even more important as companies embrace agile marketing where the standard operating unit is a team. Agile team members will not be successful if they are concerned only with their own responsibilities, points of view, or MBOs. The ClearAction Value Exchange enables individuals, customer experience teams, and marketing organizations to realize the promise of customer centricity by addressing how these groups interact with critical, cross-functional stakeholders.
Marketing Automation Realities
With marketing technology spend increasingly eclipsing that of IT, CMOs are under greater scrutiny to act as sound fiscal stewards. MarTech is only as good as the strategy, guidance, processes, data, metrics, and people behind it. Today’s CMOs rely on marketing operations to ensure these foundational elements are in place before investing in technology solutions. In reality, the cart comes before the horse, and marketing operations professionals are forced to try to instill these capabilities during or even after deployment.
The ClearAction Value Exchange is purpose-built to get marketing and customer experience teams out of that transactional work-flow mindset, break out of the silo trap, and be thoughtful in their due diligence as they scale operations. It helps teams advance from a narrow, lead- and pipeline-based view of success metrics and MBOs to a focus on delivery of customer lifetime value.
ClearAction will offer a live stream broadcast of its special event on October 25, 2017. For more information, visit this link: https://goo.gl/tPajGr