Is your Marketing department aligned with customer experience? The necessity and logic of doing this was highlighted in a recent presentation by Hootsuite’s Vice President of Customer, Kirsty Traill. She pointed out that Marketing Communications is unfortunately the typical focus of customer experience journey maps and customer-centric marketing.
Her observations are in accordance with the first half of this six-part series which also pointed out that MarCom-focus for customer-centric marketing is extremely short-sighted in what’s needed by your company. It short-changes marketing’s impact.
Hootsuite takes a holistic view of “brand experience” by applying customer-centric research and thinking to each phase of the end-to-end customer experience and employee experience journey maps — for use by all groups within Marketing and beyond. Brand integrity relies upon both employees’ and customers’ perceptions. It also relies on the company’s fulfillment of their needs. Marketing plays a significant role in understanding, communicating and assuring these needs.
Marketing decisions are guided by a table of customer insights available for each journey stage, showing which voice-of-customer insights inform each stage and who owns it. Julie Garrah, Customer Experience Manager on Kirsty’s team at Hootsuite, explained: “We emphasize closing-the-loop in communicating what action we’re taking. This drives improvement in scores. We send customers a closing-the-loop email on a six-month cadence, sharing what we’re doing.”
The image below describes my interpretation. Green phrasing is my suggestion to foster outside-in thinking.
Research for Marketing Across the Customer Experience Journey
Hootsuite has defined four core personas and developed a customer journey map for each persona. (I’ve found it best to identify natural customer segments by looking for patterns across qualitative data.) Hootsuite builds a deep understanding of each segment’s journey stages by answering these questions:
- Need Something: How does a customer become aware of the need for what your category represents, how would they describe the need in their own words, what is it that triggers the activation of that customer need?
- What are My Choices: Which other companies are in your customers’ consideration set, where are they finding information to make a decision in the category, what is their evaluation criteria?
- Decide & Buy: What information are they looking for to make their decision, what is it that locks them in to your product versus your competition’s, do they talk to anyone, what does your purchase process look like, how long does it take, how easy was it for customers relative to their expectations?
- Receive Order: What do they need to get started, where do they find information during this stage?
- Install / Use: How do customers use your product/service, how do they define the value, how do you deliver upon that value, how do you reinforce that they’ve made the right decision?
- Questions / Moments of Truth: Which touch-points triggered repeat purchase, upgrade or expansion; where did you fail to deliver on their expectations; what caused customers to cancel, suspend, return, leave, what were the triggers; what information do they need and in what format?
- Integrations: Which touch-points turn fans into loyal fans and advocates, what is the customers’ context for usage of your product, what are their interactions with your people, what is their connection with your brand?
*Questions / Moments of Truth: Researching the “moments of truth” stage can be a difficult process to go through, but Kirsty explained: “This information is rich and can be used in very productive ways for improving customer experience as well as your marketing mix and marketing touch-points.”
*Integrations: I’ve found that integrations might be the most significant part of the journey as it answers “what is the customer trying to get done . . . with or by whom, under what circumstances, in combination with what processes or hardware/software?” This context can be a game-changer for up-leveling your marketing, product development, and operations.
The journey team at Hootsuite includes Marketing, Sales and Customer Success representatives. This allows them to look through different lenses. Their work has developed an overarching messaging hierarchy informed by customer journey mapping, and grounded in customer needs. “It’s an overall guide of how customers talk about the category,” explained Kirsty. “It describes how customers and employees think about each phase of their journeys, and how they talk about their needs. It provides vocabulary for consistent messaging to each of four core customer personas and to employees.”
Note: Kirsty Traill is a member of the ClearAction Value Exchange‘s Executive Leadership Board. She presented this case study in one of the Exchange’s Webcast ConversationsTM, a guided opportunity for Exchange members to rapidly personalize new perspectives to their work situations for same-day actionability.
Originally published as Marketing’s Role in Employee & Customer Experience in an exclusive CustomerThink Advisors column: How Customer-Centered Marketing Steps Up Your Performance & Influence.