Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2021-09-08
User-friendly. Intuitive. Personalized. Questions answered before they’re even asked. These are the qualities of experiences we’ve grown accustomed to as consumers. And since the pandemic has directed more of our buying experiences online, digital customer experience (DCX or DX) is playing an even more important role.
The recent 2021 State of Digital Customer Experience report details how companies are prioritizing DX and how the bar has been raised for all to deliver the great experiences that customers now expect. With elevated B2C experiences becoming the norm and more people involved in the buying process (including tech-savvy Gen Z), the B2B digital customer experience is more important than ever.
Here are a few of my top takeaways from the report, along with practical ways B2B marketers can improve DX and move the needle for their business.
According to the report, digital customer experience is regarded as critical—either “Extremely important” or “Very important”—by over 80% of respondents. In fact, only 1% of respondents said DX was not important.
Over the past 19 months, businesses in nearly every sector have had to make sure they’re agile and adaptable. Faced with economic uncertainty, there’s been a focus on finding new customers and keeping the ones you’ve already got. The report noted that the importance is increasing—the use of a customer acquisition rate metric has increased from 23% to 28% and customer lifetime value has increased from 17% to 22%. Additionally, there’s been a rise in using “bookings, renewals, revenue and/or growth” as a metric from 32% to 39%—it’s now the most used type of measurement and the most useful.
Good DX makes the buying process easy for new customers and keeps them coming back. On the contrary, poor DX is another hurdle for sellers and marketers to overcome, and it could make current customers more likely to look for a new solution.
While there are many tools available to manage DX, there are disparities in how marketers rate them. Not surprisingly, the most popular tools focus on the core set of content and digital marketing capabilities, including CRM (70%), email marketing (60%), CMS (55%), social media analytics (52%) and social media management platforms (47%). According to the report, investment in integrated digital experience platforms is low, but the companies that do invest in these areas say their tools are more effective. Smaller organizations facing budgetary challenges may not be seeing results from their investment, and as a result, scale back their investment, which impedes DX more. Companies doing DX well, keep doing better. Those struggling, fall further behind.
A user-friendly website, visually appealing content and multi-channel touches will fall short if you’re hitting the wrong notes because you don’t know your prospect. According to the report, more organizations today are focusing on personalization and seeing the benefits, but most are early on in their journey with a long way to go.
In my experience, here are two practical ways businesses of all sizes can improve outreach personalization:
Grow your audience with Intent Data. By combining high-quality business contact data with digital intent signals, B2B marketers can identify prospects by company and job function who have done research or engaged with industry specific content online. This can also reveal why someone may be interested in your solution, based on the specific keywords or related content. Knowing this information, outreach can be personalized to meet the needs of the prospects and deliver a better digital experience.
Leverage identity graph data to better understand your prospects. Marketing teams are struggling to understand their customers, with only 11% saying they understand customers “well.” Yet, understanding who your customers are, what they’re looking for and why they’re interested in your solution, are all key to delivering a personalized digital experience. Utilizing an identity graph allows for a deeper and more complete view of the prospect. This puts marketers in a better position to identify the right prospects for their offers and engage more effectively with them.
While most marketers want to deliver great digital experiences, it isn’t always easy. The report noted a “virtuous cycle” where organizations put DX as a high priority and then invest in tools to support it and then experience positive results, which reinforces the importance of DX.
Prioritizing digital customer experience is becoming a necessity for B2B marketers, especially with the greater shift to digital buying. If it’s not on your priority list, maybe it’s time to take a look again.
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