If you haven’t heard about customer experience management by now, I’m going to break it down into several simple concepts that you can start to utilize today. To frame the importance of what I’m about to tell you, keep the number 708 in mind.  Now you may be wondering, why is that? Because according to the United States Department of Commerce, there are over 708 million dollars being spent online every day in the United States alone. And if that’s not enough, consider the fact that it’s growing 4.9% per quarter.

Because of its enormous potential, I think I speak for most when I say we all want a piece of the eCommerce pie. So if inbound marketing hasn’t been the silver bullet you thought it was, it’s time to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and see how to best tailor their digital experience. Consider this customer experience management 101. Let’s start at the beginning…

Inbound Marketing has grown up, and you're website should too.

Online marketing can be summarized into a deceptively simple concept – people have wants and needs and they use the information they find online to shape their decision making about what to buy and when. Inbound marketing, by its very nature, allows companies to play a part in the crucial information phase – delivering the right information, through the right channel and at the right time.

It’s marketing by attraction, and it works.

For digital consumers, a first touch-point could be a social media update or blog post related to their Google search. From there, companies will leave a trail of bread crumbs for the user in hopes that they eventually convert. Providing top-notch content can be the first step in the right direction. From there, marketers can draw in users by placing calls-to-actions directing them to an appropriate marketing channel, or offer giveaways/gated content in exchange for a “like” or form completion. Once you draw in the user, it opens the door to future content consumption.

But what you may not know, is that inbound marketing in its present form isn’t enough.

Customers aren’t just on social, just on desktop or just on mobile – they’re device-agnostic. They move at the speed of light and typically don’t re-consume old content. Your content not only has to be relevant, it has to shape around the customers – not the other way around. The customer experience hinges on consumability, relevancy and value and if your offering fails to match all three, the customer’s attention may shift.

Enter Customer Experience Management.

The next step in this marketing evolution is riddled with buzzwords, but for simplicity sake, let’s run with Customer Experience Management or CXM. Rather than define it myself, I asked for some help from Verndale’s own EVP of Experience Design, Keith LaFerriere:

“There is still a traditional tendency to put specific touchpoints of customer engagement into a silo. Or, worse, we see so many examples of when a marketing strategy is based on linear funnel workflow. A great CXM program is one predicated on a holistic view. Not necessarily by channel, but by a combination of touchpoints that are all organically intertwined; available whenever and wherever a consumer needs them. Whether it’s from a mobile app to the store associate to the tag on the shirt you want to purchase, being available to support their needs across experiences (device or otherwise) is the new expectation.”

The growing expectations and needs of consumers are a real opportunity for fast moving organizations. Consider the concept around responsive web design, which was foreign a decade ago, but is now quickly becoming the status quo. Consumers are expecting websites to shape around them, not the other way around.

When we take customizability to the next level, we see websites with dynamic content catered to specific groups of users. These groups can be based on demographics, user behaviors or stages in the customer lifecycle. Visitors to your site will see the information that matches with their needs enabling your organization to best serve them. It’s no longer a one-size fits all approach.

One size fits all may have worked for the Model T, but it won't work online.

Imagine a website that suggests a blog post you read yesterday or that shows a call-to-action for something you already bought. It’s not only wasting your time, but its wasting what could have been a better experience. As a user, you’ll be more likely to leave the page and the analytics will reflect your dissatisfaction.

The SEO implications are dire.

When customers are shown fresh relevant content, they’re more likely to engage and share with their network – and it’s no secret that shares and metrics, like time on site, play into Google’s ranking algorithm. By customizing, bounce rates will decrease, time on site will increase and dynamic calls-to-action will improve conversions. The benefits of customization will show in the website analytics and they can snowball into improvements in search engine results. In the end, everyone is better off.

While the acronyms can be confusing, the end goal is user satisfaction. Whichever way you go, it’ll help you to take your digital marketing to the next level and your customers will thank you.

How do you manage your website display of information? Share in the comments down below!

Images via Flickr and Flickr