Delivering an incredible customer experience is top of mind for every business today. Customers expect to be treated like celebrities by brands. They expect brands to know them, understand their preferences, and deliver relevant experiences. Experience has become the currency of brand loyalty and retention. More than half (55%) of companies surveyed by Gartner Research reported their digital ambition is to create a better customer experience.
Global businesses know they need to enable all lines of business to create holistic experiences, because differentiating only on price or product features is no longer a viable growth strategy. A 2018 Forrester Consulting study of global enterprises found that experience-driven businesses grow revenues 1.4x the rate of other companies and enjoy significantly higher customer retention rates.
Creating meaningful, positive customer experiences requires democratization of data across the different lines of business. Democratization of data requires technology collaboration across departments and processes. There’s one role which has the ability to do this and drive overarching transformation: the CIO.
Technology is a key enabler for data democratization and delivering contextual experiences. Central to delivering the experience is the technology stack, which helps unlock the value from data, stitch a holistic view of the customer in real-time and provide dynamic decisioning. This enables the delivery of a hyper-personalized, real-time experience, measuring and providing insights to refine across petabytes of data. This is not easy to achieve, but necessary for enterprises across all industries to gain customer loyalty.
The CIO’s role in experience technology
Every line of business – sales, marketing, service, product, finance – has a partial view of the customer. The CIO and their teams often get tasked to bring these partial views together in a holistic way. This requires an experience data platform that can help build a unified view of the customer from interactional data in real time. This can then be used to create segments, and, when actioned with campaigns, to deliver personalized content and other rich experiences. CIOs must accomplish a progressive technical strategy while maintaining business continuity, but this tricky balancing act is nothing new for them.
Let’s take a look at Sephora, a pioneer in retail. The beauty retailer was a recipient of the 2018 Retailer of the Year by World Retail Congress award, because it “adapted to the realities of the digital world by transforming its approach to retailing and the way that it is managing for the future.” Over the years, Sephora has evolved its digital strategy to become a market leader in an intensely-competitive sector. The company merged its online and offline marketing teams, developed a rich, mobile strategy for engagement and personalization, invested heavily in in-store tech, and offers AI apps to help customers select the best products for their face. By understanding its consumers in a holistic way, Sephora is delivering relevant experience to drive more sales. The company measured a 3.9 times higher return on ad spend and a three times increase in conversion rates from its digital ads, when including in-store sales. A holistic understanding of the customer allows businesses to deliver relevant experiences.
How CIOs can get started on experience data strategy
CIOs need a data platform that will help them deal with the volume, variety, and velocity of Big Data. It must be hosted on the cloud and fit within their existing enterprise architecture. It must have capabilities to stitch a holistic view of the customer leveraging centralized and virtualized data.
The unified view of the customer will change as new data comes in real-time. To recommend the right next best interaction, dynamic decisioning must happen across the unified view of the customer. Data governance, security, and privacy have to be built-in by design which ensures that customers’ preferences are strictly honored.
In addition to solving for the technical challenges, CIOs must align with their C-suite peers on the experience strategy and business outcomes. Delivering new and relevant experiences leads to customer growth and retention, resulting in top and bottom-line lifts. A real-time data platform is key to achieving this.
For the right solution to unify your customer experience data, learn more about the Adobe Experience Platform and the Open Data Initiative. Learn more about CIOs and how to be ready to work with new data sets.