Gartner’s Executive Summary for CMO Leadership listed that CEOs’ number one increased expectation of the CMO is to step up their leadership of the customer experience across all customer touch points. Why? Because, when done correctly, customer experience is the game changer that’s helping CMOs move the needle towards faster customer acquisition and increased brand awareness.
Using Engagement to Move the Needle
Growing competition and consumer power are eroding traditional product-based advantages, forcing marketers to shift to a new battlefield: customer experience. But, customer experience has been one of the areas where CMOs typically have the most difficulty identifying and tracking true business impact. New digital marketing platforms, analytics, mobile channels and interactivity have all recently collided to provide a way for CMOs to truly understand the effect of how customer engagement can drive true revenue.
C-level sales executives have also broadened their expectations of marketing—from generating high-quality leads, to providing sales enablement platforms and content. The global (mobile) sales organization requires access to innovations in customer engagement, from interactive applications for sales meetings, to customer-centric digital content. Marketing is the facilitator and curator of the information needs of the sales team, from competitive positioning to virtual product demonstrations to key industry knowledge. And, as face-to-face events take on an increasingly important role in strategic sales situations, sales leaders look to marketing to create opportunities for effective customer engagement, including product launches, executive briefings, trade shows, and industry networking events.
Interactive Storytelling & Self Guided Customer Discovery
The promise of the digital transformation is that the adoption of new disruptive technologies will transform the customer experience, the operational processes, and the entire business model, which will lead to competitive success. And that’s the key to unlocking this opportunity—starting with a goal to reinvent the customer experience. A new McKinsey report reveals that companies that implement transformational sales and marketing capabilities yield 90% higher sustained growth than those who don’t.
In marketing and sales, this can be accomplished by using digital interactions and interactive storytelling to create engagements that allow the customers to guide themselves through their problem-solving journeys. This yields self-directed sales cycles for your solutions, creating the epitome of personalized experiences. The customers are no longer being sold to, but instead can undergo a guided discovery with relevant content to address their specific needs. This digital interactive experience allows companies to transition from ‘price-based or feature-based’ selling to ‘value-based’ selling by demonstrating the alignment of true solutions to customer challenges.
Use Case: Fujitsu Network Communications
Michael Rapp, senior manager of marketing operations for Fujitsu Network Communications, stated, “We needed to significantly reduce our direct expense budget, and the most obvious way we could see to do so was by reducing the number of products we procured for demonstration.” Rapp continued, “Aside from the cost, we were also being confined by space and needed a solution that would enable us to showcase the breadth of our offerings at all tradeshows, customer engagements and sales presentations.”
It quickly became apparent to Fujitsu that the only way to overcome their obstacles was to create 3D virtual representations of their products–digital versions that look, behave and perform the same way as their physical products. This type of solution allows Fujitsu’s marketing and sales teams to showcase full product and solution portfolios anywhere and anytime on any device, eliminating the need to ship physical samples to trade shows, sales presentations, and other venues.
Click here to experience the ‘Fujitsu 3D Network Platforms’.
This extraordinary interactive storytelling allows Fujitsu’s customers to experience products by viewing them from every angle and exploring options and features that are of interest to them, making sales engagements non-linear and leaving the customer in control of the process. In the first six months of their deployment, customer interactions with the 3D product models from the corporate website drove almost $25M into the sales opportunity pipeline and created a more engaging and memorable interactive experience.
Making Customer Experiences Accessible, Cross-Platform
With B2B customers getting 57% of the way through the buying cycle prior to engaging with a sales representative, it is no wonder companies are losing deals early in the buyers’ journey that they really should have won. This makes the need to communicate product differentiation and value – everywhere your customers encounter your solution – the number one priority to achieve greater customer acquisition.
When looking at disruptive digital marketing platforms, CMOs must require the following 7 attributes to achieve successful customer engagement and operational efficiencies.
1.) Make It Interactive
Use interactive applications to generate engaging dialogues. This will aid in clearly communicating how products and solutions help to solve customer problems and will allow users to navigate through the experience in any sequence they choose, creating an engaging personalized demonstration.
2.) Host via The Cloud
Digital marketing applications should be delivered securely through the cloud to allow for real-time application updates, analytics, simplified B2B global deployment and incremental maintenance. This provides instant availability to all users, resulting in global message consistency and up-to-date applications.
3.) Access to Unlimited Global Users
Expand your reach and get your engaging content into the hands of those who need it most (customers, sales, marketing, channel, training). Use platforms that provide no limit to the number of users anywhere, on any device. This will allow you to cost effectively scale your reach and user base without increasing your costs.
4.) Universal Device Compatibility
Don’t pay exorbitant fees to rebuild the same interactive content for multiple devices. Look for marketing platforms that allow you to build ONCE and deploy on every platform, eliminating the need and cost to create separate versions for each operating system or device. Additionally, really great digital marketing platforms will provide automatic and seamless platform updates to support new operating system versions (and browser updates for the web).
5.) Online/Offline Access
Use digital marketing applications that are designed to run natively on each local device, without Internet connectivity. This will provide your team with the ability to bring the same interactive experience, to every venue (e.g. trade show, impromptu sales meetings).
6.) Real-Time Incremental Updates
Look for marketing platforms that easily and quickly update the digital applications without having to re-develop and re-deploy from scratch, unlike videos, which have to be replaced in its entirety. When updated (e.g. new sections, updated message), only the modified content is changed.
7.) Actionable User Analytics
Find platforms where actionable insights, derived from detailed user behavior, are presented in a powerful yet simple format, providing a clear understanding of how the application or content is used, on what devices, and in which geographies it is present. This will help develop a clear understanding of ROI and formulate deep knowledge of which products/solutions add the most value.
CMOs now have the tools to drive revenue and engage their customers in a whole new way. It’s time develop meaningful experiences that can transform our business and excite our customers in a whole new way.
Dana Drissel is vice president, marketing, for Kaon Interactive.