Craig Dempster

Global CEO, Merkle, a dentsu company

This blog post originates from a dentsu presentation “Customer Experience Transformation in the Age of Change” aired during Advertising Week 2020.

We live in the customer expectation economy, in a world where brands need to deliver relevant experiences to consumers in order to thrive. This has been abundantly clear for a while – for instance 56% of consumers have stopped shopping a brand site due to poor experiences and as many as 66% of them care more about experience than price when they are making buying decisions[1] - and everything that happened in 2020 has simply made it impossible to ignore it, accelerating a transformation that was already underfoot: the U.S. achieved 10 years’ worth of e-commerce revenue growth in just 3 months (16%).[2] Amidst this acceleration, brand loyalty has been one of the most affected areas with 75% of global consumers reporting they tried different websites, stores or brands during COVID-19 and 60% of them expecting to integrate these new options in the future.[3] Marketers are still struggling to respond to change with preparedness: as reported by the dentsu CMO survey 2020, 49% of CMOs concede that thus far they are basing their response to 2020’s exceptional circumstances with strategies that had been pursued through previous recessions.

Hyper-personalization is the cornerstone of the ‘Total Customer Experience’

Every brand faces a unique set of problems, but all of them need to respond to the same imperative: enabling customer behavior to inform their investments and strategies and influence the experiences they serve. 61% of costumers say that connected and personalized interactions are very important to winning their business and the hyper-personalization of customer experiences is at the core of what we at dentsu call the ‘Total Customer Experience’, a blueprint to enable enterprise growth thanks to the optimization of customer lifetime value.

Today, the customer journey is no longer a linear funnel that is oriented in a straight trajectory from awareness, to consideration, from purchase to service and finally to loyalty. Customers’ relationships with brands are informed by an expanding universe of sometimes very discreet interactions carried via a myriad of touchpoints and sometimes brands are not in control of all of them. Brands that strive to deliver a ‘total customer experience’ are not only capturing customers’ attention with outstanding activation and creative capabilities; they are also leveraging identity, data, and analytics to ensure that the experiences they deliver through technology platforms are based on customer behaviors and influenced by the outcomes of those interactions.

The ingredients for customer experience transformation

Now it’s time for brands that are not yet on this path to get on it as soon as possible if they don’t want to be left behind. Through customer experience transformation - the redesign of a company’s data management, digital experience, and organizational infrastructure – brands can become market leaders or keep their position as one as consumer habits evolve.

In order to enable customer experience transformation, brands need to transform their data with the acquisition, management and mining of valuable data that informs customer experiences in real time and in a privacy-safe manner. They also need to implement digital technologies to power relevant and personalized experiences across digital marketing, commerce and customer service. 83% of marketers say that they struggle linking data from different consumer touchpoints and as many as 68% of them still lament lacking automation and having to rely on slow, manual processes.[4] The combination of world-class tech stacks, to equip the business with the capabilities necessary to deliver rich digital experiences, and world-class identity management, to understand people while complying to data privacy regulations, is the must-have recipe for brands to get on the path to the ‘total customer experience’ before is too late and this imperative demands top-down organizational sponsorship.

Learn more from our knowledgeable experts and become a prepared CMO in uncertain times. Get the full global industry scope from the dentsu CMO survey 2020 

[1] Merkle Customer Experience Report 2019.

[2] McKinsey 2020: The quickening.

[3] McKinsey 2020: The quickening.