What is CXM anyway?

2nd June 2014

Or how well do you know your customers.

To some, Customer Experience Management, or CXM, is simply about dealing with your online customers effectively. But we know it goes much deeper than that. True CXM is about knowing where your customers shop, how they like to be contacted, even which brand of toothpaste they prefer. It’s about understanding your customers to such an extent that you are able to deliver tailored, personalised experiences to them on the fly which not only encourages their loyalty, but makes them into advocates and spokespeople for your brand too.

According to a recent study by Econsultancy, 20 per cent of companies rate customer experience as the most exciting opportunity of this year, ahead even of mobile at just 18 per cent, and content marketing at 15 per cent. Targeting and personalisation are seen as the top digital priority in the B2C world today, but unless we truly understand the customer experience, how can these be realistically achieved?

Defining CXM

Forrester roughly defined CXM as a ‘solution to the management and delivery of targeted, dynamic offers and interactions across digital customer touchpoints’. In plain English, that means saying the right thing at the right time to your customer at every occasion that they come into contact with your brand. To achieve this you will need to know what your customer is thinking, what they want and how they browse, research and buy. Sounds straightforward enough, right?

What does this mean for marketers?

If you were trying to adopt a digital strategy that embraced CXM but without the help of any purpose built tools, you’d require a fairly effective crystal ball to have any success. What you’re trying to achieve here is to predict what your customers want and need, sometimes before they even know it themselves.

One of the keys to effectively implementing CXM is Big Data. Big Data takes your digital reach to a whole other level, by overlaying the basic information about your consumer with all sorts of other data. When did they last visit your site? What devices do they use? Which products did they look at? Do they follow you on Facebook, and if so have they commented on your posts?

Collecting all this data manually would be untenable, which is why companies like Sitecore have developed effective CXM tools. Implemented correctly, the software can collects and overlay all this data for your customers, allowing you to target and personalise the messages they’re seeing to maximise relevance, loyalty and potential sales. This is already at an advanced level with the Sitecore DMS and about to evolve further with the releases of Sitecore 7.5 and Sitecore 8. And with use of Email Campaign Manager (ECM2) and marketing automation via engagement plans, systems like Sitecore can do the heavy lifting for you.

Think about it. Marketing automation tools can be set to respond to trigger points in the customer’s behaviour, delivering just the thing they want to see at the time when their interest is piqued. Your content marketing strategy can stop being so labour intensive, because instead of broadcasting to your customers hoping to catch the odd fish, you can present the most relevant content to each and every one and get more back from your investment.

The future of CXM

Managing the customer experience is only going to become more important – with the lines between digital and offline starting to blur. As we look into 2015, there is no doubt that marketers are going to need to get their head around CXM in a big way. Any futureproof digital strategy is going to need to consider this 360 degree view of the customer not only good practice but a fundamental to good customer service.

We expect to see more customer journey mapping, more targeted feedback from consumers and brands aiming to build a genuine empathy with customers which will, in turn, inform future marketing strategies. CMS is evolving, because customers no longer want to be part of a system. They want and expect nothing less than an experience when they interact with brands, and a truly flexible CMX strategy will enable brands to make them the hero at the centre of their own story.

It’s all about the customer. They are, and always have been, at the heart of everything we do, but now more than ever we need to place them at the centre of our marketing strategies. CMS is evolving into CXM, so make sure your business is keeping up with the pace of change if you don’t want to be left behind.