Marketing DO or DIE – Managing Customer Interfaces

In case of any company that is selling products and services that people are interested in enough to find more information about, have customer relationships with continuous or repeated purchases, succeed or fail because of their customer interfaces. In the current business environment, where the competition is hard and people have other players available in a ‘click’, you can not afford to fail in converging visitors or people who get interested to buyers. For CMO, these are the new priorities:

  1. Most accountable and rapid growth is available from current customers, their loyalty, re-purchases and cross-selling increasing lifetime value. This game is all aobut customer experience
  2. Strongest growth of customer base is available from own customer interfaces by expanding their reach and increasing conversion rate. The core goal is to recognize these people and start servicing them in order to sell (=selling by servicing and inspiring approach)
  3. Other market – non customers, is most unaccountable and most difficult to really increase ROI from. Content marketing driven SEO success, positive social media, referring traffic and general positive WOM are all free medium generating new visitors to own customer interfaces.

CMO has a rather large liquid capital to invest and in most cases its has been spent on external media channels and advertising. As I am writing this the old spending habits are changing rapidly. Instead of trying to advertise the company’s image, preference and top-of-mind to the new hights, smartest CMO’s and companies are concentrating their efforts on customer experience and customer interfaces. Customer Journey and how to manage it is very much dependent on data and it is now rather easy to capture that data, which is changing the game rapidly (There is nothing wrong with advertising, but I have witnessed way too many times that the advertising has increased demand in general and sold competitors products. So, don’t advertise in case you don’t know that your customer interfaces actually deliver sales to your own brand. Once you do, they will sell also when your competitor is advertising and your own advertising will deliver much higher ROI)

When designing the customer journey and marketing priorities the external touch points are as valuable as their capability to pull people to the company’s own interfaces. Once they are on the company’s interfaces it’s vital to recognize them, which makes it much easier for you to inspire, serve and create feeling of trust or trigger purchases. Own interfaces are as valuable as their capability to convert visitors to buyers or at least recognize who the potential buyers are. In banner advertising this kind of action is called re-targeting, but that secondary compared to marketing automation tools and rich CRM data captured with 1st party cookies. So, here’s a how you can break the picture above in to more detailed contributors along the customer interfaces:

It’s actually not that difficult to pull together data about these interfaces and their contribution to the corporate overall success. Once you have all that data pulled together it is much easier to concentrate on how to make the whole system work more efficiently. These frameworks are tools for Topsight -kind of view. However, they give you a better perspective about what is the role of advertising and what could be possible with your existing customer interfaces, natural traffic, visitors, people considering your product and learning about it, or the role of CRM and existing customer database.

Once you have understanding the next level would be about creating systematic and automated tools and processes for further scale. Here is one more frame for such approach (cycle for success) in the online marketing environment:

This cycle for success starts from customer understanding: Who, what, where and why we should target. The budget allocation for “who” is the foundation for potential to succeed.
The second stage is about performance attribution explaining the active performance of a creative portfolio. Multivariate testing (MVT) with variety of creatives and continuous improvement of best campaigns will deliver you results that are several times better than regular practices deliver.
Clicks however are not money. You must take the time and make sure that the process delivers sales eventually. That is about optimization of landing pages and customer journey. Very little things can deliver much better sales. I don’t think there is any other area in marketing where you can get such amazing ROI that you can get from increased conversion.
Once you do create sales, you also create customer database. Analyze them thoroughly and it becomes an asset you can feed back to the allocation model and create effective marketing automation in order to optimize customer life-time value. Customer understanding is also the best food for creativity.
This is the cycle of success I think will become standard within the next few years.
Everything explained above is already working in practice. Its still very much about continuous learning but already there – not in the distant future.

Published by Toni Keskinen Catalyst for transformation and Executive-as-a-Service, Author, Speaker and catalyst for change. I do Behavioral Economics and Customer Journey insights driven growth design at strategic and operational levels together with client's employees and operate as a catalyst for corporate transformation.

17 thoughts on “Marketing DO or DIE – Managing Customer Interfaces

  1. Mr. Paul G Huppertz was kind to comment me at LinkedIn’s International Service Design Network
    Here’s his advice and comment:

    “Only a service consumer who has explicitly triggered a singular & unique service of a certain service type can experience this service by simultaneously consuming it whilst it is rendered to him. Thus, there is no other way than triggering a singular service for experiencing the service rendering.

    For instance, a taxi passenger, i.e. an authorized taxi service consumer, can only experience the service rendering whilst the triggered taxi service is explicitly rendered to him by transporting him from his starting point to his designated destination. If this taxi passenger is the only one in the taxi car, he is the commissioning sevice customer and the triggering service consumer in one and the same person. Nevertheless, these two fundamentally different roles must be clearly distinguished:

    * service consumer
    authorized by the commissioning service customer and triggering a singular service of the committed service type whenever he needs one

    * service customer
    who commissions the accountable service provider with rendering each & every triggered service to each & every authorized service consumer in his realm whenever he triggers a singular service

    Thus, there are two fundamentally different interfaces to these two roles:

    * the interface to the authorized service consumers, i.e. the service provision point

    * the interface to the commissioning serivce customers, i.e. the service contract

    Regarding service providing, it must be clearly distinguished

    * service
    = set of one-time consumable & perishable benefits that must be rendered to an authorized service consumer on his dedicated service trigger

    * service provision
    = rendering a triggered service of a certain service type explicitly to an authorized service consumer on his dedicated service trigger by effectuating the service-specific benefit to the service object designated by the service consumer with his service trigger

    * service output
    = changed status of the designated service object which to the service-specific benefit has been effectuated

    * service outcome
    = effect of the service output, i.e. that the triggering service consumer can execute his upcoming activity”

    I agree. I shouldn’t talk about service experience – but customer experience in the text above. Sorry for my semantic misleading.

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