Improve the Customer Experience with Integrated Marketing Management

White Paper

We have entered an era when customers define how they engage with companies. With consumers in control, traditional marketing strategies, processes and tactics must change. Fortunately, when integrated marketing processes are properly incorporated, there can be a direct correlation between an improved marketing ROI and a better experience for customers. Having the right marketing automation and technology can make a significant difference in the level of your marketing success. This paper discusses how a balanced approach in an Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) environment can create more efficient marketing and an enhanced experience for consumers.

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Pressure from all sides

Marketers today face a two-pronged challenge. First, customers are expecting a more relevant brand experience. Today’s customers have different needs—and they demand a different kind of interaction with marketing, balanced between newer digital channels and traditional offline channels.

At the same time, marketers must still deliver measurable results. Internally, the C-suite continues to demand efficiency and accountability for every endeavor, especially from marketing, which is under a microscope more than ever as every decision is scrutinized like never before. And this drive to produce credible, tangible metrics is happening at a time when marketing is continually asked to do more to help expand the customer base while retaining existing customers.

Internally, bosses are demanding accountability. Externally, customers are demanding a relevant experience. How do marketers address the needs of both of these unyielding audiences?

Integrated marketing management: A tool to satisfy the customer--and the bottom line

Recent advances in marketing automation enable marketers to regain control of today’s complicated marketing environment. Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) provides the tools needed to not only streamline your workflow, but also interact with your customers and prospects in innovative and personalized ways. Your team will become more efficient and effective—and you’ll be able to prove it.

Integrated Marketing Management helps bring these benefits to your organization:

  • Data-driven value and insights. IMM lets you extract relevant information from the constant deluge of digital data. Once aggregated and analyzed, these insights are easier to communicate and share.
  • Builds measurement into the process. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and IMM helps develop metrics and benchmarks.
  • Shows results. These days, accountability is key. IMM enables deeper analytics which, in turn, help demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI)
  • Improves collaboration. IMM permits coordination between both internal teams and external resources (agencies, print shops, etc.), putting the entire marketing eco-system on the same page.
  • Spurs innovation. IMM creates the awareness required to optimize future campaigns.

Clearly, an IMM implementation can tear down internal silos, simplify workflows, and improve campaign efficiency and effectiveness—all while helping to validate the true significance of your company’s marketing spend. That should go a long way to helping satisfy the corner office. But you can also translate this new marketing integration into a relevant and satisfying customer experience. The first step is understanding the needs of today’s media-empowered consumers.

Highly mobile and constantly connected

The attribute that most distinguishes customers now is choice. Today’s highly mobile, continually connected prospects vote with their clicks. They expect immediate gratification when presented with marketing initiatives, whether that takes the form of useful information or a timely offer. Communications are expected to be personalized—and always relevant to current needs. With so many other vendors in the mix, the more you can assure your customer that you know them, the better your chances of making a connection. And that’s an absolute requirement when talking to repeat customers.

Control of your brand has also passed into the hands of your customers. Channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter provide easy outlets for observations, opinion and debate, and today’s successful marketers recognize that the value of their brands is increasingly measured by how many “likes,” “thumbs ups,” or “fans” their offerings can earn from the often fickle whims of consumers.

Creating an experience that translates into loyalty

When you successfully build relationships with customers, you create a positive buying experience that customers want to replicate. That translates into higher satisfaction and loyalty, recommendations to friends and family, increased frequency of shopping, increased average purchase price, and even a potential reduction in the number of returns.

Therefore, the goal of marketing is now to give customers and prospects what they want, when they want it. Offers must be timely, messages must be relevant, and all personalization must be based on behavioral or buying history gleaned from data.

There’s a word for that: analytics. And that happens to be a particular strength of a well-executed Integrated Marketing Management environment.

The stages below detail how IMM can be used to tie together analytics, creative development and campaign execution to create a valuable customer experience.

Marketing analysis phase

Through the marketing analysis phase, the marketer can see every data point that can add to an understanding of customer behavior, including:

  • What was purchased and when
  • What channel was used
  • Whether incentives were a factor
  • How much was the discount
  • What items were purchased together
  • What item, if any, was returned
  • What were the reasons for a return
  • How purchaser behavior can influence recommendations to others
  • Store placement, demographics, geography

Questions such as these have given rise to a new type of business intelligence role: the data scientist. It’s no longer enough to simply examine data; the data scientist also explores customer relationships in order to understand who is influencing the customer. Through that combined knowledge, marketers can deliver more effective and relevant customer messages.

Grocery and drug stores do this extremely well and provide coupons for frequently purchased items based on history. In the end, it’s this type of analysis that drives the relationship parameters (channel preference, brand name preference, product combos, thresholds for incentives and so on) to create and deliver a very much appreciated incentive for the consumer.

Planning and operational phase

Once you have analyzed your customer data, you have the basis for planning the tactics for your upcoming campaigns. When personal customer engagement is your objective, IMM can help you coordinate decisions such as:

  • Number of campaigns for the year
  • What are the best campaign formats-- email, direct mail, mobile, or a combination
  • What will the promotional calendar look like and what are the steps needed for each campaign before the marketing department can hit “send”
  • Budget for each campaign
  • Based on customer history or preference, what channels will be used
  • What graphics will be used
  • Which agencies will be needed
  • Segments to be targeted
  • Role of social media in the mix

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Execution phase

When the analysis is done, and the creative has been developed and reviewed, the execution stage is initiated. Here, your IMM environment can be used to implement your planned segmentation and begin your campaign delivery. Integrated automation tools can help you:

  • Deliver personalized messages and relevant offers
  • Assure that messages go out in time so as to avoid coupon expiration dates, missed holiday sales or other windows of opportunities
  • Track responses to measure the success rate for the campaign and allow you to potentially stop or redirect an under-performing campaign
  • Allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of a customer and continue to build that relationship.

Continuing the process of refining your view of your customer, campaign results are fed back to the analysis group to mine the data yet again to look for new trends, new insights and to potentially correct the course of a campaign that is underperforming.

Customers demand the experience marketing integration makes possible.

Customers crave the type of interactions that can occur when an IMM solution gives a marketer the space to create relationships, drive loyalty and improve satisfaction. But the reverse is also true. Lack of integrated phases can cause breakdowns that create bottlenecks and, in turn, create delays and increase the potential for mistakes such as undeliverable emails or direct mail. Over time, this can be disastrous for customer satisfaction levels, as too many bad experiences or repeated mistakes will cause desertion and ultimately declining revenues and profits.

Success stories: using integrated marketing management to enhance the customer experience

Leading marketers are already beginning to chart this new way forward, using IMM to drive revenue, not by focusing on the product, but on the customer and their experience.

Here are a few examples:

International Speedway Corporation (ISC)

ISC is the world’s leading promoter of motorsports, catering to 4 million racing fans. The company owns and/or operates 13 of the nation’s premier motorsports entertainment facilities, including legendary tracks such as Daytona, Talladega and Watkins Glen. ISC’s goal is to make the fan experience flawless—before, during and after over 100 events each racing season.

ISC recognized it needed to become a relationship builder, which led to a new infrastructure of people, processes and technologies that helped them cultivate a 360 degree view of their customers. By investing in an integrated marketing approach, ISC was able to develop an award-winning CRM initiative, fanMAX, which delivers personalized, relevant and timely messages directly to fans. Results have included:

  • Advanced segmentation capabilities permitted communications opt-in, granted by 56% of new customers
  • Initial project and annual costs were returned within the first year (2009)
  • Estimated 50% improvement in bringing projects and campaigns to market

European Insurance Company

A well-known insurance company in Europe saw the need for a strategy that would win and retain more customers, improve loyalty and maximize lifetime customer value. Unfortunately, they were using disparate technology, including databases, campaign and customer management systems. The company realized they needed a more integrated approach in order to achieve their goals.

The Aprimo solution was implemented and integrated with their customer database, helping the organization maintain a real-time, total view of their customers. Enhancing customer relationships and dialogues through more relevant and timely content has achieved significant results, including:

  • Sales volume increased by 38%
  • Customer lifetime value increased by 25%
  • Administrative task implementation time reduced by over 80%

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