shutterstock_114707986.jpg Maintaining a good customer experience is the ultimate goal of any marketer, but according to a new report from IBM, many marketers aren't doing well in this task.

Lack of Customer Experience Skills

Social Engagement. Production promotion. Advertising. Analytics. Improving conversion rates. These and other factors are all areas that a marketer must be skilled at in order to be successful at their job and advance their company’s brand.

The report, The State of Marketing 2013, found that a lot of marketers need to re-examine how they approach the field, as about $83 billion is lost in marketing each year due to a poor customer experience and only 20 percent of those surveyed reported having good customer experience skills. Common problems include marketers not being able prioritize and use social channels properly and being unable to attract new fans or customers.

The report also compared two separate groups of marketers: the “Leaders” or those who are influential and engaging across all channels and “All Others," which are individuals who have one or many problems relating to technology or customer experience.

The two groups were then compared in three different categories: Knows Customer Context and Integrates Accordingly, Acts on Insights -- Systematically and Takes a Broader View of the Customer Experience, where after each analysis the report provides solutions for those with problems in these areas.

IBM: The State of Marketing, digital marketing

Know Your Customer and Integrate Accordingly

Today’s customer is someone who is always looking for a personal level of engagement from companies. This personal touch lets a customer know that a business values them and is looking to improve not only their relationship, but the customer experience as a whole (this could be through something small as learning a person’s name).

According to the report, this type of engagement has to extend across all channels, which not only include email and social media, but through customer service lines, in-store and on mobile devices.

For those who were leading marketers and used a personalized method within call centers and social media engagement, a success rate of 85 and 71% was achieved, while those in the others category only achieved a personal level of engagement 60% of the time in calls centers and 50% in social media.

digital marketing, IBM, marketing report

Marketers also have to be able to integrate technology and social channels as well as being able to “automate [a] decision process” across up and coming channels such as online video and mobile apps.

For those who need help in this field, IBM suggests that a business choose one person on the marketing team to be a “cross-functional marketer” whose job it is to keep track of a brand’s social activities, monitor a main communication channel, such as email, and develop a plan on how to use it with other marketing platforms while also keeping track of information that could improve future campaigns

An Insightful Marketer is a Good Marketer

Monitoring social media is often a hard task for many marketers as they struggle to keep track of individual engagement, customer trends and comments across a number of networks. Using analytics helps marketers keep track of this data, but a marketer can’t simply collect this information, they have to use to develop a better interaction strategy and customer profiles.

They [leaders] use analytics in understanding individual customer preferences and can pinpoint media spend to target them,” said the report.

While there are basic ways for those who aren't leaders to improve their marketing skills, such as segmentation, response modelling and customer lifetime value modelling, marketers also have to use tools that analyze attribution.. The most popular format among the leaders who were surveyed for the report is a campaign management solution at 43% followed by a spreadsheet format at 42%  and an agency at 28%. Only one percent of the those in the leaders category didn’t use a tool.

On the other hand some analytics data is more useful than others when measuring a marketing campaign. The highest is the overall net increase via sales, followed closely by increased customer retention and increased brand reception.

Overall, a marketer has to make sure they are using analytics tools properly and that the information gathered will help create a strategy or ‘systematic plan’ that will increase ROI and company revenue.

The Customer Experience: A Company Venture

Before a marketer can reach this marketing endpoint of increased revenue and better ROI, they first have to use analytics to influence customers and create a more in-depth experience, which isn't always one person's responsibility. In order to be an influential brand, marketers not only have to look at engagement data, but monitor their entire company's operations, having a point of purpose marketing option and train sales and customer service staff on products and services. In doing this, the customer experience becomes a task that is accomplished through a company effort, not just through the sales or marketing departments.

Resulting from this is an omnichannel marketing approach that better caters to customer needs such as having one-to-one strategy on all social channels.

If a marketer follows these points they will be able better understand how customers engage with businesses, create a community around a brand, product or service and be influential across social channels, thus bettering the overall experience.

Opening image courtesy of watcharakun (Shutterstock)