Introducing the New CX Marketer and What Sets Them Apart

August 8, 2019

Introducing the new CX marketer and what sets them apart

Editor’s Note: This guest post was contributed by John Cosley, Director, Global Brand and Digital Marketing at Microsoft/Bing.  

The digital marketing game is changing. Everyone is feeling it, customers and marketers alike. Evolving digital experiences are driving a new set of marketing imperatives. Today's consumers expect hyper-personalized brand experiences that put them at the center. They demand seamless, contextual interactions that deliver tangible value. And they want it all without compromising their privacy.

It’s a tall order. But the fact remains that brands are at a crossroads: either they transform to embrace customer-centricity or continue business as usual and face eventual extinction. In fact, Forrester predicts that CEOs will exit at least 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set needed to drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth. 

Marketing Redefined

CMOs and their teams have become agents of change as as they scramble to meet evolving customer expectatioins especially amongst digital millennials. In this high-stakes landscape, we are witnessing the rise of the new CX marketer: part creative, part data scientist. 

To learn more about this new marketer and what sets them apart, Microsoft Advertising conducted research with marketers and agencies across more than 200 companies of all sizes and industry verticals.ii We assessed marketers’ customer-focus maturity in mastering two key aspects of creating a better customer experience:

  1. Understanding the customer journey
  2. Marketing to the customer journey

In our study, we found that only 20% of marketers are figuring out how to capture and leverage customer decision journey (CDJ) insights to improve their marketing performance. These leading marketers are accelerating their pace of customer learning that is leading to more valuable touchpoints, increasing their customer data, and driving greater revenue. Conversely, we saw a growing gap as 80% of respondents are failing to keep pace. The majority of respondents are struggling to combine data, leverage the cloud or define clear objectives.  

Whether you’re marketing for B2C or B2B, I’ve outlined three characteristics that set the CX marketing “high performers” apart as well as some steps that you can take to join their ranks.

1. High performers hire the right talent

Leading CMOs are re-structuring their organizations for success, with an appointed officer carving the path toward customer-centric marketing. This person is responsible for building a team capable of extracting data insights with cutting-edge technologies, meeting evolving customer expectations, and delivering on the demand for data-driven strategy and verifiable performance. This person operates as the primary champion and stakeholder who manages the agencies and data management platforms (DMPs) responsible for helping them achieve their goals. 

The study found that 86% of high performers already have a leader in place—and the remaining 14% will hire someone within the next 12 months. Meanwhile, just under half of low performers have this role in their organization.

2. High performers prioritize the right resources

While some in-house expertise is always necessary, today’s marketing leaders are partnering with agencies, cloud solution providers, DMPs, and MarTech firms to expand their capabilities and accelerate speed-to-market while reducing costs and risks.  In our study, we found that high performers use agencies at nearly twice the rate of their counterparts to accelerate their customer journey marketing aptitude. 

We also found that high performers have a higher overall digital spend. When dividing the digital spend between total leader spend and total non-leader spend, we found that leaders are spending 50-100% more annually. Not only are high performers spending more, but they’re also trying new media channels, with 71% of leaders investing in emerging channels verses 50% of non-leaders.  High performers are positioning digital and emergent technologies as drivers of future growth.  

3. High performers embrace the right data and technology

Data is key to unlocking smarter customer journeys. Today’s high-performing CX marketer does an excellent job of collecting, unifying, and analyzing their first-party data. But that’s not all. They augment this data and close the gaps with third-party data to create a holistic view of the customer. 

It turns out that 95% of high performers are giving significant first-party data access to their agencies to support data unification and extract more value out of the partnership. Seventy-eight percent of high performers say that combining first- and third-party data is a top priority, as compared to only 40% of low performers. 

It’s also important to note that privacy and data security are top concerns for high performers. While they are more likely to use customer data than their lower-performing counterparts, they’re also more likely to be transparent about how they use data, giving customers incentives to share data and asking customers how their data can be used. 

CX marketers are also turning to technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make better marketing decisions, create more engaging touchpoints, and to generate deeper insights. They’re using cognitive services, chatbots, and digital assistants to create more interactive experiences. They’re also leveraging machine learning in a variety of way to propel growth (see chart below).  In fact, our study found that when using machine learning, these high performers are achieving up to 2.4 times greater sales.

A blueprint for CX marketing success

How exactly can today’s customer experience marketer transform data into action? We looked to the high performers for help in creating blueprints that start with the cloud and end with enhanced customer engagement. 

1. Unify data in the cloud

Embrace cloud solutions, DMPs, and agencies to unify and secure data in the cloud. Work across marketing, sales, and services organizations to gain a more holistic understanding of customer data, boost speed-to-market and efficiency, lower costs, and increase ROI, data security, and customization.

2. Ensure high quality of data

First-party data from purchase history, customer support records, and CRMs is a goldmine for a customer-centric marketing leader. But if your data isn’t high quality, applying AI and machine learning is ineffective. Leverage high quality search and ecommerce data around what customers are buying, what they’re doing on your digital channels, and what their journey looks like. Prioritize privacy and data protection best practices.

3. Consolidate your first- and third-party data

Illuminate the blind spots in your first-party data with trusted sources for third-party data. Make it a priority to establish a single platform with one view of the customer. Be alert for issues around quality, provenance, duplication, and timeliness of third-party data.

4. Use predictive analytics

Focus on predictive outcomes. Evolve performance measurement from activity-level, static-funnel metrics towards predictive metrics that align to business outcomes. There is an incredible amount of codified machine learning tools available as part of cloud services, such as Azure Machine Learning Studio, that can help reduce time to market and expertise required. Use prescriptive guidance to dynamically adjust engagements based on next best action recommendations.

5. Enhance engagement with AI

Create more useful marketing touchpoints and connect your activities to revenue KPIs. Use AI to drive personalization, boost customer engagement, and create additional touchpoints that generate more data. Use the data from these new touchpoints to extract deeper insights around the brands customers are considering, the products they’re looking for, and when they’re most likely to convert.

For more information about what makes a high-performing, CX marketer, download the eBook, Creating smarter customer journeys.