Creating world class, digital experiences doesn't have to involve ripping out whatever tools an organization already has in place, so experts from OpenText and marketing firm VML put together a few strategies to help bridge the gap.
Contextualized Customer Experiences
World class digital experiences aren't much different than a cup of coffee, said Marci Maddox, senior director of product marketing, customer experience management at OpenText during the Creating World Class, Dynamic Digital Experiences webinar.
"At home, you might only spend a couple of cents on a cup of coffee," she said. "It's different at a coffee shop, though. And we're willing to pay more on the coffee because of the experience -- there's a wider selection, and other added touches. But it's really that special touch that someone might put on your coffee cup -- like a design in the coffee -- that puts a smile on your face."
The same rules apply to the digital experience, Maddox said. If people are to be compelled to buy something from a store or website, it will often be because they had a world class digital experience before they got there.
Martin Coady, managing director of technology for VML, recommended discovering your customer's goals and motivations to identify digital touch points before introducing the technology. According to Coady contextualized customer experience is moving past targeting and personalization.
"Instead of pushing out content that you think customers will like, focus on finding out their habits and what they like," he said, "Find the right moment to start that conversation; the right moment to send that message."
Content is still king in the omni-channel age.
Companies are turning to content marketing -- sometimes called affinity marketing or inbound marketing -- instead of traditional advertising to provide relevant information to customers. Coady suggested organizations make use of existing content and tools before investing in new, and potentially expensive tools.
The above image shows an example of a content strategy with the underlying supporting technology. While companies need the technology, Coady urged companies to put the process in place before investing in potentially costly tools.
"We don't need to find new tools, just harness existing content for a new format," he said.
Start with existing content and measure what works, Coady added. Don't put it off just because you don't have a targeting engine, for example. He stressed the importance of maintaining proper usage of search keywords. Tools that most companies already possess, like SEO, analytics and email should not be forgotten. Email is good for starting conversations, for example, for introducing ideas.
The idea with this strategy is that content is the bedrock, and if there is alignment with what customers are looking for, the format can shift while using the same content, Coady said. If enough is known about a customer, the channel won't matter as much, whether it's email, social or Web chat.
Social and the Omni Channel
As a global marketing agency, VML employs a decentralized hub model to reach customers in many countries, Jason Bedell, technical director at VML said.
"Usually we have an integrated marketing campaign that goes out to various regions of the world, and from there it gets adjusted for those audiences," Bedell said.
This is part of the omni channel strategy. Local teams tailor messages to the audiences in their region, and that means changing the images used, and having translators ready. With social, the lines are a little blurrier, Bedell said, but in the end it's the same idea. Use the same messages, but adopt them to different formats.
Because there are so many social channels, however, it is sometimes necessary to pick the proper venue for certain messages, Coady said. If you think of a town hall meeting, where it's very formal and structured, and then think of a dinner party, where it's looser and more friendly, Coady said, that's kind of the idea.
Mobile Medic app marries online and offline experiences.
Cloud and Online/Offline Experiences
In true omni channel fashion, many companies enhance offline experiences through technology. VML for one, built a mobile app for the Australian Defense Force, and it was used in conjunction with specialized posters that could be scanned with smartphones.
The force wanted a way to get people to apply for medical scholarships, and had people use the app to give the poster subjects an x-ray. Using the information gathered from the x-ray, students could give their diagnosis, and that would count as the scholarship application submission.
While Coady acknowledged the cloud's popularity, he said it's not an all or nothing proposition. It can provide good value as a mix with other technology, and it can be a cost saver, but it has to be strategized.
This was one of the largest webinar's we've had yet, and that meant there were plenty of questions. On the question of suite or platform versus best of breed, platform got the thumbs up. Investments already made could be best used by simply extending them, Coady said. As to how best to set up a multichannel model, it's important to get people on the ground working first, Maddox said. They are just as important as technology.
Locals may need to be hired to translate, for example, and people need to be staffing channels to keep them open. If that isn't done, that multichannel approach may fizzle, Maddox said. A question on how to adopt these techniques outside the US or for a multilingual audience brought in some regulatory concerns. In the EU, for example, there are stricter rules on collecting personally identifiable information, Bedell said. Some of the tools have to be customized to meet local privacy regulations, he said, but those are not insurmountable obstacles.
Interestingly, the question of gamification came up, and none of the three panelists were very excited about it in the enterprise. Some of the same features we see in gamification are being baked into social, Coady said -- things like badges and recognition for being an expert -- but he doesn't identify it as a core need.
Perhaps the most important question was on what technology is really needed.
"We don't get tech for tech's sake" Bedell said. "We go by what business problem is being solved for."
Determine teams and processes first, Coady said. Consider the type of training and determine if a new process is needed. The more uncovered during the planning, the better positioned companies will be.
We've posted the entire webinar below, so be sure to watch in its entirety to learn about 8 trends in creating world class, dynamic digital experiences.