Merkle unveiled its 2023 Customer Experience Imperatives focused on closing the “experience gap” and delivering a complete, connected customer experience.
The past few years witnessed a wild recalibration of customer expectations, along with a profusion of new marketing technologies. The adoption of tech platforms by brands was fast and furious in 2022, but in 2023, Merkle is urging brands to invest smarter, not faster. The 2023 Imperatives are a guide to creating value – often from existing resources – by fostering long-term, loyal relationships with new and existing customers.
This year’s Imperatives focus on actionable steps to deepen and extend customer relationships, building upon the 2022 vision of the customer data value exchange. Brands and consumers alike are still reeling from the residual and ongoing effects of the pandemic, while navigating unpredictable economic headwinds. The Imperatives illustrate how brands can move beyond short-term thinking and “shiny object” tactics to build a more enduring foundation for long-term success, while actually improving customers’ lives in tangible, meaningful ways.
“The focus on advancing tech and capabilities in the recent past makes 2023 the perfect opportunity for brands to turn their focus inward to tackle the expectation economy,” said Michael Komasinksi, Global CEO, Merkle. “Just as companies had to shift their strategy toward customers, they will now need to shift their own mindsets and behaviors to refocus on their ‘why,’ providing customers with new or better ways to engage with their brand that deliver elevated experiences.”
- Future-Proof Your Organisation – There have been so many tech vendors vying for brands’ business that brands can lose sight of the “why” and “what” they are actually delivering for consumers. When it comes to delivering a complete, connected customer experience, there must be a shared vision for the total experience these investments are meant to support. In 2023, brands should look inward to realign their CX mission, create a modern data foundation and agile delivery organisation, and evangelise their vision for the future state of customer experience.
- Reimagine Your Data and Tech – Data is a goldmine of insight and opportunity. But more often than not, companies only leverage a fraction of the power of the consumer data assets at their disposal. This results in optimisations that are transactional at best and a missed opportunity to use data in a way that reciprocates with relevance. Brands must focus on data unification, orchestration, and hygiene – elements of a data strategy that are crucial to achieving a unified understanding of customers. Innovation doesn’t have to be splashy — or costly – to be effective; sometimes scaling a CX vision means using owned data in a new way.
- Make Every Experience a Path to Commerce – Consumers are looking for interactions that are tuned in, intelligent, and highly responsive – moments that work together to make shopping – and life – easier. Shopping doesn’t happen in a disconnected vacuum, so commerce shouldn’t be managed as a siloed function. Instead, it should be at the very centre of digital transformation, to enable a total commerce experience for consumers who never stop shopping. Brands should view commerce as a powerful vehicle for building long term-relationships, as the emotional connection generated by a positive shopping experience pays dividends far beyond the checkout process.
“If there’s one thing brands should take from these imperatives, it’s this: innovation and creativity must be your reward for doing the fundamentals well,” said Komasinski. “When the foundation is there for a total experience approach – inclusive of sales, service, and commerce – a brand’s content and channels are working in sync to drive action and engagement beyond the point of transaction. Customers will turn from one-buy wonders to brand loyalists.”