Digital Transformation Success Depends on People, Not Just Technology

Marketers, data scientists and insights professionals must work together

The digital age has created the empowered buyer. This person is in control of what they see and what they experience. They use ad blockers and fast forward to get past brand messages they don’t want to see. What they want is a transaction that’s seamless and frictionless. You know, an experience.

While brands, as a whole, are scrambling to transform, it’s the CMO who is in the best position to lead the charge into the Experience Economy.

Customer experience management is hardly a new concept. Even your old-time mom-and-pops wanted to know what their customers wanted and how they felt. To find this out, all they had to do was ask them. Then they could adjust their business or stock their shelves to fill those needs.

With digital transformation, most customer interactions are not face-to-face. And even when they are, the customer is not interacting with someone who can make big strategic decisions to change the business. That’s why there are pages and pages on Google of companies that claim to sell customer experience management solutions. But the truth is there is no software that can manage the customer experience.

The need for small data

It’s going to take transformation – business transformation, digital transformation and people transformation – for today’s CMO to create a relevant customer experience that attracts and retains customers.

In recent years, transformation into a customer-centric, rapidly evolving, data-driven business has been based mostly on big data. While big data can certainly capture behavior, it doesn’t get to why people do what they do, and how they think, feel and act.

That’s where small data comes in.

To gather small data, brands need to ask their customers what they think and how they feel. This starts with things like surveys, which serve as checkpoints during certain interactions. So when someone has just bought something on your website, gotten off your flight or finished up a call with one of your service reps, they get a survey. This is what much of the industry has tried to call experience management.

But while surveys by far are the most prevalent method for gathering feedback, they still only get your brand some statistical responses.

To truly understand how your customers think, act and feel and to get to their customer truth, you need to go more in depth. Qualitative research that gives customers the freedom to express their needs and elaborate through stories is essential to understanding the emotional connection of the customer truth.

Put together your CX team

Once you have this narrative, you can combine small and big data to get the kinds of compelling insights that will inform – not create – the right customer experience.

This is when the CMO has to become a transformational marketer, helping to drive the company into the experience economy. But this leader can’t do it alone. It takes a partnership with other transformational roles within the organization to change the business.

What do these teams look like? Data scientists and analysts drive big data analytics. Insights professionals and researchers are the lynchpin for small data. Using different methods to gather, study and deliver analytics is the most effective way to understand and connect with your customer. You need the researcher and insights professional to play a role in your transformation.

The brands that are transforming their customer’s experience are the ones that are winning the hearts and minds of customers and becoming an essential part of their customer’s lives. Only a few (not coincidentally those whose value has topped $1 trillion) have truly mastered it.

As CMO of FocusVision, Dawn Colossi drives worldwide marketing strategy to build the brand and create demand. She has built an always-on customer-driven marketing model based on big data, including intent signals and digital body language; and small data which allows an understanding and clear perspective of what drives behavior and decisions to increase FocusVision’s revenue and market share.