In order to deliver effective customer engagement strategies, brands and marketers often need to look beyond the technology, and ensure that the people, process, and strategy elements within are sound, well-articulated, and well communicated in an organization.
According to Gartner, modern CMOs must become experts at building agile, adaptive strategies. Their strategies should accommodate a range of scenarios to account for continued disruption in the year ahead and effectively prioritize the programs that are best aligned with the enterprise’s short- and long-term growth and success. Gartner also indicates that while a high proportion (87%) of B2C marketing leaders are focused on customer engagement as a key strategic priority to drive growth, they lack a clear definition of successful engagement and their approaches have varying effectiveness.
Creating, defining, and nurturing an overall customer engagement strategy is critical for marketing leaders to succeed. This involves a shift from product-centric thinking to customer-centric thinking. Here are five key elements that we have found make up a successful customer engagement strategy:
- Ensure your engagement strategy is defined, documented, and communicated. It all starts with having a plan, and having the plan on paper, and communicated effectively to all key stakeholders, inside and outside of the marketing organization. Being able to create a tangible asset from a shared company vision is paramount for success.
- Have an executive sponsor for your customer engagement strategy. Having a senior executive with the ownership, budget, resources, and P&L directives to help drive the program forward will provide a huge lift. Without executive sponsorship and buy-in, you will have an uphill battle to generate attention, momentum, and budget around customer engagement programs.
- Deliver customer-centric programs instead of product-centric programs. Everything you create and deliver should be centered around the customer. This mindset requires constantly thinking about how to create a value exchange with consumers. This might take the form of journey mapping and design, voice of customer initiatives, or simply asking for more feedback, interests, and zero-party data from customers.
- Create clearly defined metrics and KPIs for evaluating success. As Dr. H. James Harrington famously stated, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it”. KPIs should be SMART, and should incorporate revenue, retention, and profitability at the very least.
- Deliver a true value exchange for consumers across the customer lifecycle. Becoming customer-centric is all about ensuring you are removing the friction from the consumer’s experience with your brand. Create ways to incorporate your customers into a more comprehensive lifecycle view, from first touch acquisition and enrichment, to ongoing engagement, personalization, and ultimately brand advocacy and loyalty. Watch the video, Tips from the Experts: Cheetah CES — Setting Waypoints for Success to learn how to build the framework for engagement with customers through data, and the waypoints you’ll need to set for success.
Having a sound customer engagement strategy goes well beyond the technology stack. To learn more about how to optimize your customer engagement strategy, take our Customer Engagement Maturity Assessment.
Patrick is SVP of Product Marketing at Cheetah Digital, focused on the go-to-market strategy and team for the Customer Engagement Suite. A frequent industry event speaker, Patrick has over 20 years of experience in the technology, consulting, and marketing industries. Prior to Cheetah Digital, Patrick was VP of Product Strategy at RedPoint Global, leading the product roadmap and go-to-market for the Customer Engagement Hub. Previously, Patrick was at Adobe through the acquisition of Neolane, focused on email and real-time decisioning. He has also spent time at Pegasystems, leading product marketing for the next-best-action decision engine, and spent many years at Forrester Research in the research and consulting organizations. He is a certified product manager and holds an MBA from Boston University.