Part 10 (Final Part) I Love it when a Plan Comes Together.
OK. Last time it was John Winston Lennon, this time it’s Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith – a little less high-brow I do agree BUT nonetheless iconic as a statement – “I love it when a plan comes together!”. And that’s what I want to focus on, in this our final chapter in the Digital Customer discussion series. Of all the things we’ve discussed in the previous nine chapters what is it that is most important to this new ‘digital’ customer? The answer is that it’s not specifically one thing but all of these things AND it is how these things are brought together, integrated, and orchestrated around the needs of the customer to ensure a seamless multi-channel experience.
A recent research study by eConsultancy illustrated the fact that of the 650 brand respondents to the study, 49% declared that ‘joined-up’ multi-channel experience was Very important. The top 3 barriers to achieving this:
- Complexity of Customer Experience (i.e. increasing channels, customer expectations)
- Difficulty unifying different sources of customer data, and
- Lack of overall strategy (or in other words, a Plan)
To ensure that you can deliver these experiences it is important to think about ‘the plan’ and to consider ‘what is it the primary purpose?’. Is it to sell more? Engage better? Diversify or differentiate the brand? Whatever it is, a solid plan will be the thing that takes you there and with the aforementioned complexity that exists now in consumer channel adoption we also need to ‘think different’. Let me explain.
To date we have explored a wide range of topics that have helped us to better understand who these Digital Customers are, what they want and, how they want (expect) to be treated. Working back from that premise the first step to consider is that you have to reverse the typical approach of designing from the inside-out and develop from the outside-in, customer first. Inside-out development just won’t work anymore PLUS it forces you to think within the limitations of existing systems and processes – a sure-fire loser if you are looking to foster greater engagement on your customer’s terms. Customers simply do not care about the complexities of your systems and processes and refuse to be bound to them. So how can we begin to think differently?
Well, let’s consider this. Think about your customers, your market, and how they typically interact with your Brand. Now, imagine placing yourself in the customer’s shoes. Maybe they see an advert on a billboard or on television for your product. How do you capture that immediate interest?
As a Brand we may see a mobile engagement opportunity, driven by the increase in consumer smartphone adoption. So now your Execs may ask you, what is your Mobile plan/strategy? And at that point we are once again driven down a channel specific rabbit-hole. Forget about your mobile, your social, your eCommerce strategy – if it’s not tied to an integrated plan that leverages all the strengths of your business and drives you towards that ‘joined-up’ experience then you simply add to the layers of complexity and create even greater barriers.
When I think about companies that have broken through traditional barriers and truly differentiated their brand in a highly-commoditised market I often think of the story of the Swiss grocery retailer Coop. Coop@home in Switzerland is a classic example of how to design a differentiated experience that leverages your core strengths but leads with the premise of ‘customer-first’ to deliver the ultimate in customer convenience. Coop connects their customers anytime, anywhere via their coop@home store iPhone app. Time pressed Swiss love to conveniently shop for groceries while they commute back from work and have the goods delivered by the time they get home.
Join Allen Bonde, CMO of The Pulse Network, and myself as we discuss Coop@home and more real world examples of how Brands have changed the game by designing ‘joined-up’ experiences around the needs of their customers whether through social/mobile initiatives, or through core customer-centric innovations and achieved true brand differentiation. I love it when a plan comes together.