Delivering exceptional customer experiences has quickly become table stakes for marketers. Too often, though, these experiences are undermined by inconsistent messaging and opportunities go begging.
Repeated or irrelevant messages breed consumer intolerance and annoyance, which is quickly vocalised and often amplified by social media.
Inconsistent messaging can also be a lost opportunity, where a customer expects to be informed but there is silence. For example, a customer signing up to a new program will reasonably expect to receive a welcome email. When they receive nothing, that can create confusion and concern — which can be just as damaging as a sending a poor message.
In markets like China, where social and ecommerce platforms are dominated by a few large players, the risk and reward of consistent messaging increases, particularly for B2C.
For example, WeChat and Alibaba both offer an incredible reach. But given their prominence, customers will often be using both platforms and any inconsistent message on WeChat can quickly undermine strong messaging on Alibaba, and vice-versa.
However, focussing too heavily on these big players presents another risk – neglecting first party channels.
The challenge is a winner-take-all situation. Marketers heavily rely on WeChat and Alibaba as their solo channel to communicate with their customer audience, but lack a consideration of their own channels like email, SMS and website.
The strong messaging on the large Chinese platforms is damaged when customers don’t receive a consistent message in other channels.
Why it’s happening
There is nothing counterintuitive about delivering consistent messages, yet it still trips up many marketers. The reason? The ubiquitous problems that arise from disconnected data systems and data access, working in silos. They simply do not have a single view of the customer, much less an accurate idea of what messaging has already been delivered.
That problem snowballs when channels are managed by different teams — such as a media agency for acquisition and remarketing, another agency for social marketing, while a company’s own marketing team manages email and mobile channels.
When this happens, even a central marketing plan can’t connect the data and creative for individual customer experiences.
It’s a problem evident in the Chinese market where many organisations lack the skills and the tools required to unearth customer insights from first party data.
The insights are needed to improve customer experience by delivering consistant relevant messages through all channels automatically.
How to fix it
A great place to start is to build consistency on the areas over which you have control and where you are comfortable.
For example, implementing automation and template programs for email and mobile channels will improve consistency in message cadence and content. At Oracle, we recommend leveraging existing data and using dynamic content to start to personalise content, while maintaining a consistent message.
Next is to focus on building a data strategy to inform segmentation and start to weave that in other channels.
It’s likely the first major roadblock will be addressing how customer data is managed and accessed.
Therefore, when getting data architecture in order, the focus should be on creating a core customer view in a secure, transparent and privacy-compliant way. All other data — such as sales, product, and policies — can then be attached to the core customer data, creating the fabled 360-degree view of the customer.
It is no small feat to upgrade data architecture and automate marketing. However, the benefits that accrue to brands will quickly justify the undertaking.
About the author
Paul Yang is the Marketing Cloud Sales leader at Oracle China. Oracle is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.