How IT Can Enhance the Customer Journey
In a perfect world, customers would pursue purchases from a store to a digital device to a traditional computer in a seamless manner, engaging with a company that is aware at all times of the customer's needs and preferences. But, so far, this ideal vision remains out of reach for most organizations, according to a recent survey from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and SAP Hybris. CMOs are expected to invest $32 billion in marketing technology by 2018, but many admit that they struggle to deliver contextual, personalized experiences to customers in real time across multiple channels. The survey report, "Context, Commerce and Customer: Best Practices to Exceed Expectations," states that the majority of CMOs are working on systems to expand marketing's view of the customer at all impact and interaction points. It also points out that IT must play a leading role here, to help marketing improve the measurability of customer campaigns and programs and increase engagement throughout the customer journey. "The answer is not as simple as ramping up technology faster or even automating more of the engagement process," according to the report. "In reality, marketing must look at the critical intersection where people, process and platform all intersect. This is the point at which marketing becomes relevant—where it drives value for both company and customer, and when technology stops being the difference, and experience becomes the competitive differentiator." 170 global CMOs and other marketing executives took part in the research.