CXM: the marketing acronym you keep

  • Posted on October 25, 2012

Technology and marketing are moving at blistering speeds so it’s a good thing we have acronyms to help us keep pace:  SEO, SEM, CPM, CPC, MRM, WCM, DAM – YGTP (you get the point). And with the splintering of marketing into so many sub-specialty areas, it’s not unreasonable to surmise that Moore’s Law may also pertain to the proliferation of three-letter marketing jargon.  So why in this sea of alphabet soup is a new acronym so important for our industry?

Customer Experience Management, or CXM, is a zeitgeist because it does something fundamentally different - it centers around the customer. Remember them? Sure customers are at the heart of your marketing activities, but if your role is to drive traffic from ads, decrease shopping cart abandonment, optimize a website, or improve social engagement, then the odds are the type of customer you’re supporting is a channel-specific one. CXM flips the channel paradigm in order to drive interaction “across digitally-enabled consumer touchpoints. As Forrester puts it, that’s a good thing for customers who may be confused and frustrated with the way companies treat them across various disconnected online experiences.

We’ve all seen channel miscues from the customer point of view – the pair of jeans you abandoned on a website that stalks you around the web, the personalized e-mail offer intended for another person, the website-as-digital-brochure, the well-intended social site that is anything but social. There’s no doubt these are areas many of us can improve, but bringing all these channels together in a meaningful way for customers immersed across all of your channels may just be the next frontier in marketing innovation.

And while CXM is basic in principle, it’s anything but basic in the practical sense for large enterprises to realize this vision. Its cross cutting nature requires marketing leadership to champion a vision for the all-up customer experience and organize the right people, processes and technology to support their journey. Support to do this has never been higher.

Forrester now suggests that over 90% of companies have prioritized ‘improving the customer experience’ as a strategic initiative.  And Accenture cites that a strong partnership between marketing and IT  is required to execute this journey. With a strong vision of the customer experience, and clear goals and objectives for your journey, technology can be an incredible enabling force.

Many of the same companies that helped you extend your reach into new channels are helping connect these channels together in their offerings. Microsoft is helping its customers by integrating existing products with a highly curated ecosystem of partners.  For example, Sitecore integrates its WCM and DMS offerings with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint, and publishes sites natively into the Azure public cloud, while Webtrends has an integrated offering with SharePoint to improve analytics and optimization for customers with a large SharePoint investment.

Not all acronyms were created equal and CXM should be at the top of your organization’s priority list.  While CXM is driving new marketing innovation, it is not a war cry to abandon your current strategies and technology investments, but rather to integrate those around the needs of your customers. Consider that the whole of your customer interactions may, in fact, be greater than the sum of your channels. If you’re one of the 90% of companies that have a strategic priority to improve your customer experience, let CXM be a catalyst for change.

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