I’ve attended a number of Digital marketing events this year and almost all of them so far have been focused on the following realities:

Customers EXPECT a consistent conversation, independent of channel or device.

To meet this expectation, marketers have to now focus on the customer experience.

This means Marketing will have to own the Customer Experience.

Ownership of the customer experience requires many things, including multi-channel marketing tools and serious data integrations.

Once in place, the customer experience itself will ultimately be your company’s key differentiator and competitive advantage.

This puts marketing at the very center of business.

Customers are willing to pay more for good customer experiences.

Notice the focus:

It’s all about CX. CX, CX, CX, Yikes, talk about marketing transformation. We were just getting comfortable with marketing automation, now we have to worry about the entire customer experience?

Marketing cloud vendors are very busy adding new CX tools to their suite of solutions, hoping to get in early and provide the infrastructure that will enable marketing to pull this whole CX thing off. Some vendors are farther along than others.

But no matter what shiny tool(s) you’ve purchased or plan to purchase, the questions are the same. Especially for B2B. How do you prepare? How do you proceed? How do you even get started? Should you even start?

Here’s a perfect example of why marketing needs to own the CX:

I recently traveled to London and stayed at a major well known hotel property. This was my third visit to this hotel this year. I have never once had a bad experience during each stay. The staff has been amazing, the rooms are great, the location wonderful. Absolutely nothing to complain about.

A few days ago I got an email from this hotel chain inviting me to download their mobile app. Since I’m all about making my travel life easier, I went to the App Store and checked out the reviews (like most of us do). To my total surprise, the reviews were almost universally negative. Things like:

Fire the developers
Limited functionality
Really poor design


Why would my trusted home away from home set me up like this?

Why would they even recommend this to me? I felt slightly betrayed. The sheer disappointment and loathing for this app was so intense it actually made a dent in my overall relationship with this hotel chain. Obviously I never bothered downloading the app.

So will I stop staying at this hotel chain? Nope.

BUT will I be more cautious in the future? Yep.

Will future marketing messages from this chain be met with slightly more suspicion? Yes.

Would a positive customer experience with a competitor’s app help sway me to potentially becoming their customer? It’s definitely possible.

Customer experiences are personal.

That’s what makes them experiences. So people tend to take bad experiences somewhat personally. I think that’s the reason for the level of emotion in most negative reviews.

So you see how the effect of simply being exposed to the negative customer experiences of others can impact the effectiveness of future marketing campaigns. There are examples of poor customer experiences everywhere. Unfortunately, in most cases, marketing doesn’t own these, nor do they currently have any control. Silos are everywhere. This will likely be marketing’s biggest hurdle in taking ownership of the entire CX. I doubt this comes as a complete surprise to many B2C companies. But for B2B this may not be something marketers had to worry too much about. Until now.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll offer strategies, implementation steps and dependencies that will help get this paradigm party started.

Get ready. It’s the wild, wild west all over again!


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