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Marketing in the era of customer experience requires a shift in mindset from transactions to relationships. By placing the customer at the center of their strategies, businesses create memorable experiences that foster loyalty, advocacy, and sustainable growth. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, investing in the delivery of exceptional customer experiences is not only a strategic imperative but also a moral obligation to uphold the trust and confidence of consumers.

Bridging the gap between Marketing and Customer Experience is critical to that. To do that involves fostering open communication and collaboration between these teams to ensure a cohesive approach to engaging with customers. In my recent article, Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Customer Experience, I mentioned that I’d offer up some conversation starters to facilitate dialogue and alignment between Marketing and Customer Experience departments.

Conversation Starters

By initiating conversations around these topics, Marketing and Customer Experience teams can work together to bridge the gap, align their efforts, and ultimately deliver exceptional experiences that resonate with customers and drive business growth.

Shared Goals and Objectives
  • “Let’s discuss how our marketing initiatives align with the overall customer experience strategy. Are there specific customer touchpoints or moments in the end-to-end journey where marketing can play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall experience?”
  • “How can we ensure that our marketing efforts contribute to enhancing the overall customer journey? Can we align our messaging and promotions with key milestones in the customer lifecycle to create a more cohesive and seamless experience?”
Customer-Centric Culture
  • “How can we cultivate a customer-centric mindset across both Marketing and Customer Experience departments (and the entire organization, for that matter)? Are there ways we can involve employees in the customer journey and empower them to take ownership of the customer experience?”
  • “What steps can we take to empower employees to proactively identify and address customer pain points? How can we create a culture where every team member feels responsible for delivering exceptional experiences and exceeding customer expectations?”
  • “How can we create a culture where the customer is at the heart of all we do? How do we ensure that there are no discussions, decisions, or designs without bringing in the customer voice and asking how it will impact the customer?”
Customer Persona Insights
  • “Have we developed customer personas? How were they developed: for marketing purposes only, or do they also include the types of details (needs, preferences, expectations, problems to solve) needed to design the experience?”
  • “What insights have we gathered from customer personas that can inform both marketing messaging and experience design? How can we use this information to tailor our marketing campaigns to resonate with different segments of our audience?”
  • “How can we leverage customer data to tailor marketing campaigns and improve the customer experience? Are there opportunities to use needs, preferences, and problems to solve to deliver more targeted messaging and orchestrate a better journey?”
Feedback and Insights Sharing
  • How and when is Marketing gathering feedback that might overlap with the work that Customer Experience is doing? How can we collaborate and coordinate so that we don’t over-survey our customers? How or where can we listen differently?
  • “What feedback have we received from customers that could inform adjustments to our marketing strategies? How can we incorporate this feedback into our campaigns to address pain points or enhance the overall experience?”
  • “How can we ensure that insights from customer interactions are shared across both Marketing and Customer Experience teams? Are there regular meetings, channels for communication, or platforms where we can discuss customer feedback and collaborate on solutions?”
Customer Journey Mapping
  • “Let’s collaborate on mapping out the customer journey to identify touchpoints where Marketing can enhance the overall experience. Are there opportunities to create targeted marketing campaigns, promotions, or next best actions that address specific pain points or moments of delight?”
  • “How can we use customer journey maps to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement across Marketing and Customer Experience? Are there areas where Marketing can proactively engage customers to address concerns or provide additional support?”
Empathy and Understanding
  • “How can we deepen our understanding of customer needs and emotions to create more empathetic marketing campaigns and experiences? Are there ways we can incorporate customer feedback or user research into our marketing strategies to better understand their perspective?”
  • “Are there opportunities to involve customers in the co-creation process, such as seeking feedback on new product features or marketing campaigns? How can we demonstrate empathy and understanding in our communications and interactions with customers?”
Measurement and Evaluation
  • “What key performance indicators (KPIs) should we be tracking to measure the impact of marketing efforts on the overall customer experience? How can we use analytics to assess the effectiveness of our campaigns in driving customer satisfaction and loyalty?”
  • “How can we use data and analytics to assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives in driving customer satisfaction and loyalty? Are there specific metrics or benchmarks we should be aiming for to ensure that our marketing initiatives are contributing to a positive overall experience?”
Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • “Let’s brainstorm ways to collaborate on upcoming marketing campaigns to ensure a seamless customer experience. How can we align our messaging, creative assets, and promotions with the customer journey mapped out by the Customer Experience team?”
  • “How can we work together to integrate marketing promotions with in-store or online experiences? Are there opportunities to leverage data and technology to create personalized experiences that bridge the gap between online and offline interactions, i.e., creating seamless omnichannel experiences?”
Training and Knowledge Sharing
  • “What training or resources can we provide to both Marketing and Customer Experience teams to ensure a shared understanding of our customers’ needs and preferences? How can we foster empathy and understanding across teams to better serve our customers?”
  • “Are there opportunities for cross-training or job shadowing to foster greater collaboration and empathy between teams? How can we create a culture of learning and knowledge sharing that encourages collaboration and innovation?” (see “customer-centric culture” above)
Continuous Improvement
  • “How can we establish a feedback loop to continuously iterate and improve both marketing campaigns and customer experiences? Are there mechanisms in place for collecting customer feedback and acting on it in a timely manner, closing the loop in all five ways?”
  • “What mechanisms can we put in place to gather real-time insights and make timely adjustments based on customer feedback? How can we create a culture of experimentation and innovation that encourages and allows us to test new ideas and learn from both successes and failures?”
Brand Consistency
  • “How can we ensure that our marketing messaging and branding are consistent with the actual customer experience? Are there specific brand values or attributes that should be reflected in both our marketing materials and the customer interactions?”
  • “Are there any discrepancies between our brand promise in marketing materials and the reality of the customer journey? How can we align our messaging to better reflect the actual customer experience and build trust with our audience?”
Innovation and Experimentation
  • “Let’s explore innovative ways to engage customers through marketing initiatives while maintaining a focus on delivering a seamless experience. How can we leverage emerging technologies or trends to create memorable experiences that differentiate us from competitors?”
  • “How can we create a culture of experimentation where both Marketing and Customer Experience teams feel empowered to try new approaches and iterate based on feedback? Are there opportunities to pilot new initiatives on a small scale before scaling up?”
Customer Advocacy and Loyalty
  • “How can we leverage our marketing channels to amplify customer advocacy and foster loyalty? Are there strategies for incentivizing customers to become brand ambassadors or advocates through referral programs or loyalty rewards?”
  • “What steps can we take to turn satisfied customers into brand ambassadors who actively promote our products or services? How can we cultivate a community of loyal customers who advocate for our brand both online and offline?”
  • “What are some ways that we reward existing customers for their loyalty. We do a lot to bring customers into the fold, but what can we do to ensure we treat existing customers just as well – or better?”
Competitive Analysis
  • “Let’s analyze the marketing tactics and customer experiences of our competitors to identify areas where we can differentiate ourselves. Are there gaps or opportunities in the market that we can capitalize on to create a unique and compelling experience for our customers?”
  • “How do our competitors’ customers and their needs differ from our customers and their needs? How do we ensure we continue to differentiate ourselves for these customers, while at the same time also attracting new customers?”
  • “How can we stay ahead of industry trends and customer expectations to deliver a superior experience that sets us apart from competitors? Are there ways we can benchmark our performance against industry leaders and identify areas for improvement?”
Transparency and Trust
  • “How can we communicate transparently with customers to build trust and credibility? Are there opportunities to be more open and honest in our marketing communications, such as sharing behind-the-scenes content or addressing common misconceptions?”
  • “How can we use our marketing channels to demonstrate transparency and authenticity in our interactions with customers? Are there ways we can be more proactive in addressing customer concerns or providing accurate information to build trust?”
  • “Are we being proactive in our communications and messaging when issues occur? Do we get out ahead of the issues? And do we follow up with root cause analyses and fixes to ensure issues don’t happen again?”
Crisis Preparedness
  • “What plans do we have in place to address potential crises or negative customer experiences, and how can Marketing support these efforts? Are there protocols for responding to customer complaints or issues in a timely and empathetic manner?”
  • “How can we proactively communicate with customers during challenging times to mitigate any negative impacts on their experience? Are there opportunities to use our marketing channels to provide reassurance or updates during a crisis?”
  • “And how do we apologize when things go wrong? How do we ensure that the apology is authentic and meaningful?
IN CLOSING

By engaging in productive discussions and developing actionable strategies for aligning their efforts and delivering exceptional experiences to customers, Marketing and Customer Experience teams can foster deeper collaboration and alignment, ultimately working together to create meaningful connections with customers and drive business success.

Critical to success is the awareness and recognition that the customer experience begins long before the purchase. The experience starts when the customer has a need, a problem to solve. Marketing and Customer Experience teams must work together to ensure that the experience is great out of the gate!

Customer experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Customer experience is the new marketing. ~ Steve Cannon

ABOUT ANNETTE

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. In 2019, she published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. In 2022, she published her second book, Built to Win: Designing a Customer-Centric Culture That Drives Value for Your Business [Advantage|ForbesBooks], which is available to purchase on Amazon, Books A Million!, Target, Barnes & Noble, and thousands of other outlets around the world! Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your EX and CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.