Companies care about customers

Who will take care of the customers?

Advances in machine learning (ML) and other artificial intelligence (AI) disciplines are helping companies provide transaction and social media data and documents with additional intelligence. Only in this way are they able to better meet customer requirements and recognize them at an early stage - sometimes even before the customer is even aware of them.

CIOs should therefore gear their teams towards developing the right tools and processes to convert the aggregated data into added value in the best possible way. In addition, CIOs also need allies who play a key role in the company - such as the CMO. This is the only way to ensure that data-driven digitization initiatives are based on a solid understanding of the customer. That in turn is a key driver of positive business results.

The customer journey needs definition

It is no longer rocket science to elicit data from customers. These share all kinds of personal information as they navigate online (and even offline) worlds with intent to purchase. The challenge for those responsible for marketing is now to bring together the heterogeneous data sets that are created in this way in order to be able to make sense of the customer interactions. In addition, they can also predict how customers will act in the future and serve these needs or interests accordingly.

According to a Gartner study, the marketing budget in 2016 averaged around twelve percent of total company sales. Another finding of the analysts: The expenditure for technology in the marketing area will soon exceed that of the IT department. However, larger budgets always go hand in hand with stricter accountability and also make the return on investment mandatory. Close cooperation between the IT and marketing departments is essential in order to make the best possible use of the budget.

Because data is becoming more and more important for the customer journey, the collaboration between CIOs and CMOs is also much more important than was previously the case. Companies have understood that IT plays an essential role in increasing sales and customer loyalty. Only when IT and marketing work closely together can customer data be aggregated and analyzed in the right way. In addition, this collaboration ensures that the resulting insights reach all relevant departments and teams quickly and efficiently.

"Only the CIO has an enterprise view of the data and the infrastructure that surrounds it," writes Informatica CIO Graeme Thompson in a blog post. For marketing managers who want to drive customer engagement, this perspective is critical to success. Because, continues Thompson: "CIOs can take an end-to-end view and see how all the different processes converge. This way they are also able to recognize how the underlying applications must be designed in order to achieve optimal results to be able to - for the company itself, but also and above all for the customers. "

Success criterion data networking

Aggregating data and keeping an eye on trends across channels is complicated by today's multi-channel environments. Big data storage and analytics solutions are increasingly being combined with artificial intelligence to bring order to the never-ending strands of information. This enables companies to build authentic relationships with their customers, to attract potential new customers and to further develop relationships with existing customers.

In order to be able to define supposedly simple things like product costs or marketing materials, companies have to consider independent data sets as a uniform set of information. The fact that these data sets often contain contradicting information that teams and tools have to resolve as quickly and consistently as possible makes their integration even more complex.

With the help of AI, hidden patterns in this data can be made visible and linked to business goals. Finding out which insights are useful for the business and - more importantly - for the customer, is still the job of human employees. So far, marketing has mainly focused on the effectiveness of corresponding campaigns by measuring the number of people and clicks reached. However, these are indicators that appear relatively early in the customer journey and therefore often lack the necessary depth to be able to analyze how many deals can be traced back to a specific campaign. But even if they do, these measurements do not necessarily relate to customer interactions that occur after the initial business contact - for example, when support services are called up or follow-up purchases are made.

CMOs can increase marketing performance in a targeted manner if they work out the correlations between the data sets together with the CIO and initiate subsequent analyzes. This makes it possible - beyond click through rates - to understand which campaigns have produced the best results. The ability to present the "next best offer" to a (potential) customer can have a significant impact on the customer experience and drive customer loyalty and sales figures. Tracking customer activities after a purchase and in the case of support enables companies to gain in-depth insights into their customers.

CIOs who collaborate directly with CMOs to understand the customer lifecycle can develop data aggregation techniques and, with the help of artificial intelligence, also help strengthen customer loyalty. The resulting insights can in turn be used to better control marketing activities and corporate strategy. This also includes products and services that are better tailored to the needs of customers.

In order to develop and establish a positive environment for existing customers, a long-term strategy that puts the customer first is essential. Ideally, this arises from the combined resources and skills of the CIO and CMO.

Learn more about how CIOs can help your organization make customer centricity a reality.