Thanks to advances in technology, 1-to-1 customer journeys are possible - and marketers are reaping the rewards. Cloud computing, the rise of mobile devices, social media, and artificial intelligence have all created opportunities for marketers to reach their customers like never before. This new ability to send and manage highly personalized content has taught customers to expect 1-to-1 relationships with every brand they love - from stores, to their bank, to medical services, and everything else. The Age of the Customer is officially here.
This is all great news for marketers. But like any major change, these marketing opportunities come with obstacles. Here are the five challenges that marketers are facing in the Age of the Customer:
Many companies still use legacy technology and point solutions. Separate business functions store data, budgets, and software in silos. They track different metrics and have different priorities - making it a challenge for teams to work with transparency or cooperation. For example, sales reps may not be able to see their customers' website behaviors, or service agents may not be able to track social followers and their concerns.
How can marketers break down the walls that separate marketing, commerce, sales, and service?
No two customers are alike, and every single one expects a 1-to-1 relationship with your brand. For example, one customer might have made only one purchase in your online store, isn't on your email list, and hasn't downloaded your app. Conversely, you have a loyal in-store customer who serves as a brand megaphone on social media. Marketers need a plan to reach these two very different people with resonant messaging - alongside every single other customer.
How can marketers use technology to engage each customer, in every stage of the customer lifecycle, with relevant and personalized messaging?
Marketers have the opportunity to deliver brand messages across a multitude of channels and devices - especially since their customers have adopted mobile and social habits with such enthusiasm. A channel can be a variety of things: a call from a service representative, a meeting with a salesperson, an online community, or an email.
However, delivering the right message, at the right time, and in the right place is more difficult to manage when those channels are disconnected. It's really the customer that chooses the channel(s), so marketers must be prepared to integrate them all seamlessly. Plus, it's impossible to paint a complete picture of a customer's attributes behavior when all the data for each channel is stored and managed separately.
How can marketers create content, campaigns, and experiences that are connected across the channels in which customers are engaged?
The Age of the Customer has created more data than ever before. This means that marketers need powerful analytics to be faster, better, and more predictive with their marketing. Plus, they need a variety of tools to plan, execute, measure, and optimize campaigns. For many marketers, the necessary tools are not connected to each other, not connected to real-time data, or just not available at all, making it hard to impact the business.
How do marketers increase the speed, quality, and impact of their marketing tactics if their data toolsets are unintegrated and incomplete?
Advances in technology have created more threats today to the security of customer data than ever before. Customers are willing to provide personal information to brands, but only if they trust that their information will be secure. In addition, marketers want to be able to use all of their data to create highly personalized messages, but strict data security measures often exist. These limit the amount or type of data that can be shared with third parties.
Plus, marketers need to reach millions of customers at once to ensure they get the latest news and offers - no matter the size of the marketing team. They need a platform with 100% uptime to be able to react to a customer's request and send messages on their terms - at any time, from anywhere.
How do marketers ensure that their customer data is secure and that their message reaches their customer anywhere, any time?
What is Salesforce for Marketing? The Salesforce Customer Success Platform is the only complete and integrated tool set for marketers to engage across sales, service, community, analytics, apps, the IoT, and commerce.
See more in our e-book, "Marketing Field Guide for Customer Trailblazers."