In my article “You Will Create More Value with A Relationshipping Plan” the idea was to pursue a unified customer experience across the customer journey. My purpose here is to suggest ways for your team to execute this well. In my experience there are three main areas of challenge to doing this well.
by George Wiedemann
The first is siloing – that the best of breed touchpoint specialists (web, social media, email, SMS, etc.) are not well connected to each other, which makes for a disjointed customer experience. The silos suboptimize your marketing spends by optimizing their own channel and not the customer experience. Today’s consumers can conduct and want a conversation meaning that engagement is a two-way street these days. How do you have the right conversation across siloed multiple touchpoints?
A second challenge is a plan to contract an expensive and slow to implement platform solution to automate the conversation and perform AI personalization. We are witnessing some cases in these early days of AI that do not always go well, as in, for example, seeing self-driving cars have accidents. You can’t afford poor brand experiences. So, what to do?
My third challenge point on executing Relationshipping with Brand Personalization is to bolster in house knowledge from experienced experts in centers of excellence.
My recommended practice is to form your Relationshipping Team (RTeam) and have them regularly monitor how your Brand Personalization is performing, from beginning to end. Your RTeam is charged to conduct a trial run before campaign launches with personalized elements, to experience how personalization is working, to fix glitches and to monitor execution.
Let’s say you were promoting the next new product offering. Your RTeam has a representative from Product Management, Product Marketing, Data/Analytics, IT and Finance. These teammates put on their consumer hats to check the links, landing page copy, data collection, privacy, offer and call to action to be sure it all will resonate with the customer. The RTeam members, the touchpoints, the review process will all be dependent on your organization and how you promote, and the platforms you use. My experience is that organizations are still unbalanced in focusing most attention on what goes out to engage the customer, rather than paying close attention to the real time customer inbound traffic that these days desires a conversation.
Caution: in my C Suite experience it is very, very difficult to put this discipline consistently in place. It took effort to set the weekly meeting in place and have participants take it seriously and show up. It took consistent focus and emphasis that this weekly (or bi-weekly) meeting had the highest priority. Thankfully, now that we have Zoom, Google Meet and virtual meeting tech, this is easier. Without these meetings, your prospects and customers will experience a bumpy ride.
Data and Platform Solutions
Depending on your organization this is a tricky area for me to address. Expressions like KISS -keep it simple stupid, and Crawl, Walk, Run come to mind. Why? I am an advocate for a CDP and collaborative platforms, as you will see. But please avoid not working with what you have in place now to begin immediately solving your Brand Personalization needs, rather than waiting months for the platform installation.
Let me suggest doing your own platform research, but I do want to just mention 3 platforms that enable your team to collaborate on Brand Personalization. What I like about platforms is that the Martech industry is focused on the customer experience to help brands make it unified, consistently good and personal.
On March 15-17 the Adobe Experience Cloud is conducting a summit – Make the digital economy personal. I plan to attend to learn more about how they bring the brand team and functions together.
Other platforms to study in this space are the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, designed to deliver personalized brand experiences across the journey, and the Oracle Marketing Cloud, which launches cross-channel customer engagement programs and unifies prospect and customer signals in a single view.
My purpose here is to encourage study of the platforms available in the space, rather than to recommend one to you. You need to find the one that fits your company and its budget best.
Centers of Excellence
At the speed of change in the MarTech and MadTech revolution, you need to learn how it works from your own customer experiences, but also to add learning and get closer to the state of the art from centers of excellence.
In your agencies many brands and their executives are running campaigns, which are being measured, along with tests, to see what works. Your agency partners are bringing their center of excellence experience to your brand to provide the best performing communications possible.
Today the Tech Platforms are centers of excellence. This is why I strongly recommend that you get and read “Converted” by Neil Hoyne. Why? Neil is Google’s chief measurement strategist. He is a senior fellow at The Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania. In my consulting, I see how important Relationshipping is at the C Suite level and see the details one enterprise at a time – you could call that a view from 30,000 feet. Neil gets to see it on the ground in vast detail across the activities of Google’s huge client base. Just to put that in a bit of perspective, in Q4 2021 Google’s revenues were $75 billion, $61 billion of which is from digital ad revenue. Imagine what Neil gets to look at.
What is so good about Neil’s book is that it is a pragmatic package of advice, with concrete examples, of how to perform what I call Relationshipping and brand personalization. What makes the book fun is that Neil uses metaphors of dating and marriage to illustrate how a brand should approach joining and having the ongoing conversation with customers.
As usual let me close by welcoming your feedback and encourage you to share your experiences executing Relationshipping and brand personalization in your enterprise.
George Wiedemann is founder and former CEO of Grey Direct, former CEO of Responsys, and former CEO of The DRUM Agency. He is now founder and current CEO of Relationshipping Consulting, focusing on bringing efficiencies to large-scale enterprises through deep budgetary analysis and process alignment. George is also a frequent contributor to TheCustomer.