How will companies differentiate their customer experience in 2017?

Customer experience. It’s one of the major focal points of every B2B marketer. Regardless of what industry you’re in, your customers aren’t measuring you against your competitors, but against companies like Uber or Amazon.

For the better part of a decade, marketing technology/automation platforms promised to deliver better customer experiences, but they haven’t always lived up to the hype despite B2B companies making automation one of their top digital priorities. Could it be that companies and marketing departments are blinded by the latest shiny tools and rely too heavily on sexy technology to solve their problems? Partly. Or, could it be the lack of coordination across departments given that the experience consists of every touchpoint the customer has with the company? Maybe.

The appointments of Chief Experience Officers, Chief Customer Officers, as well as the formation of cross-functional tiger teams are on the rise across corporate America to solve these problems. What’s more, agile marketing based on Agile software development is the latest trend taking over marketing. This is happening because B2B companies understand the need to drive better customer experiences by working across silos. And, it will not happen through technology alone. People within the organization will ultimately lead the charge, understanding how to effectively use the technology across departments.

Great analytics that helps automate decision making around the customer drives experience as well. This is available to all companies either by hiring great data scientists or leveraging the wealth of venture backed startups in the analytics space.

So…we have people, process, and technology. And, all are very important and we are getting there with all three. Yet, something is still missing…And, that will be the core differentiator…

All these technologies, and people and process changes need good data and an easy way to derive truth and meaning from it exactly when needed. So, the question is, do you have a clean, differentiated data set that you can actually use and that your competitor does not have? Does the analytics based on that data surface in a way that sales and marketing can action on it in the moment and in real time? The differentiation comes from your first-party data that your company generates through every interaction with the customer from sales to marketing to customer support to product interaction data. The “clean and usable” comes from how this data links with master data from third-parties and other data sets specific to your industry and your needs. The “truth and meaning” comes from how the insights from the analytics surface to the right people to action on it in the right moment.

So, the real question is, as a marketer, how much time are you spending on understanding your basic data, cleaning it, and embedding the insight in a simple and actionable way in the real-time flows of the people who need them most when they need it?

Rishi Dave

Rishi Dave

Chief Marketing Officer at Dun & Bradstreet
I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Dun & Bradstreet.  In this role, I run all marketing globally including brand, demand generation, digital, communications, PR, AR, operations, channel, events, sales enablement, corporate social responsibility, and product marketing.
Rishi Dave


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