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Customer experience for the modern marketer



As technology continues to evolve, the question of how to craft a meaningful customer experience (CX) remains constant. Successful brands have customer experience almost down to a science, but what’s the actual formula? With so many moving pieces, it can be difficult to get your CX down to a simple definition. 

What is customer experience

CX is about the relationship between a business and its customers. It is made up of both quantitative and qualitative measures. Quantitative measures refer to  the aspects you can measure numerically throughout a customer’s interactions with your brand (i.e., number of products purchased, average order value, etc.), while quantitative measures include customer perceptions and feelings (i.e., level of satisfaction, how easy it was to complete the task).

These quantitative and qualitative measures are defined as customers move through their journey with your brand — from awareness of your product/service through consideration, product purchase, repurchase, and even joining your loyalty program. 

For example, my glass-topped patio table was damaged by a storm so I decided to purchase a new table. In searching online, I found a product I was interested in and compared prices with similar items on the market (neutral perception). Once I located the best product for me at the price I was willing to pay, I purchased the table through the website of a big box retailer (positive perception). The retailer sent me an email confirming the purchase and ship date (positive perception). The ship date arrived, but the patio table didn’t (negative perception). It was late by four days (quantitative metric). And, in those four days, I received multiple emails and satisfaction surveys that started with, “It’s Time – Your Order Has Arrived” (negative perception).

Ultimately, my overall perception of the purchase journey was negative, and it will continue  to impact my future decisions. Though I have had positive purchase experiences with this retailer in the past, I will not order again in the future. 

Customer experience vs. digital experience 

With more and more companies investing in digital there is confusion between CX and digital experience (DX). The best way to think about the two is that CX is defined by how customers perceive their interactions with your company while DX is defined by how customers perceive their interactions with your company specifically across digital channels. In this way DX is a subset, albeit a very important and growing subset, of CX. 

One of the most common misperceptions many leaders have is that focusing solely on DX will remedy CX — but as in the patio table example above, digital is only part of the equation. Fixing the timing of the automated email would help with DX. But, in order to solve the holistic challenge, the big box retailer needs to understand and better connect inventory and shipping to avoid any delays in delivery. 

To improve CX, companies must break down silos, go across digital and physical mediums, and address friction points from the customers’ point of view. Additionally, CX is not just confined to the channels a brand owns. As seen in the earlier example, I started my search for patio tables through a search engine. Addressing CX means looking at the ecosystem of touchpoints customers have with partners, competitors, and related business as they go through their journey with your brand.

Evolution of customer experience: What role does data analytics play here?

Improving CX starts with collecting data. This includes both quantitative and qualitative data across touchpoints, earned/owned/and paid channels, and could even extend into the supply chain and partners. One of the areas where data can play an outsized role is in building the foundation for a living, breathing dashboard for leadership to understand CX performance.

CX data lives in many places. Understanding  customers’ aggregated perceptions starts with bringing all of the touchpoints and internal/external teams together in order to harmonize the experience and drive towards the CX vision.

This begins with a measurement framework where the CX or marketing team:

  • Establishes business goals.
  • Documents the customer journey.
  • Sets KPIs.
  • Identifies where to get the data.
  • Understands the interplay between teams, processes, and technologies throughout the journeys; and
  • Has the mechanisms in place to track quantitative and qualitative performance. 

With these key data elements in place, the brand can create a living dashboard to see connections, understand friction points, and celebrate wins. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Alicia Arnold brings 20 years of award-winning experience working at the intersection of digital, marketing, and technology. Arnold is responsible for overseeing the operations and performance of fifty-five in the U.S. across new verticals, delivering on business strategies, nurturing talent, and growing the fifty-five footprint.

Prior to joining the team in 2021, Arnold founded a global consulting firm and held client leadership and executive roles at Cognizant, Forrester, Hill Holliday, and Isobar. She is also a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and volunteers with the CXPA Boston Marketing and Community Engagement team.

Arnold holds an MBA in marketing from Bentley University, as well as, a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation, and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo.

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1



HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.

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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer



Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions



Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.


What are Instacart Promotions?


Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”


– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart


Source: Instacart


How Do Instacart Promotions Work?


Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  


Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart


Instacart Promotions Benefits


Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.


Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  


Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives


With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 


Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 


Access Real-Time Performance Insights 


The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.


Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.


“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti


Interested in Instacart Promotions?


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.


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