Marketers get it: businesses need to put customers first. Digital experiences are key in delivering an amazing customer experience. The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to change the way they do business (if it hasn’t already begun to do so).

The problem is, most marketers don’t understand how to connect these conversations, reveals a new study.

Conducted by the CMO Council and sponsored by IBM, "Brand Attraction from Enriched Interaction" (registration required) found that while almost half of senior marketers surveyed believe that digital experiences facilitate a better customer experience, a meager 5 percent felt that they were extremely good at engaging various audiences across mobile, web and social channels. Further, only 16 percent believed they were doing a good job, with 32 percent in the moderately good range. This feedback came from 268 senior marketing executives who provided their insights via online surveys and one-one-one interviews.

Liz Miller, CMO Council“We start talking about data, and then digital marketing, and then start talking about establishing a digital enterprise,” Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council told CMSWire. “We’re not really making the leaps and connecting digital content and commerce, but we need to start making some real strides.”

Future Impact

According to the study, marketing leaders named the Internet of Things (IoT) (89 percent) over the digital enterprise (67 percent) and the API economy (67 percent) as the technology transformation that will most impact customer engagement. 

A higher percentage of marketing laggards on the other hand (43 percent) believe that the digital enterprise will affect their business more than the IoT (28 percent) and the API economy.

Why the discrepancy? Because best in class marketers understand that the connected customer is the key to tying it all together, stated the study authors.

“To be sure, these leaders are not just looking at the opportunity to send out new, more personalized and intimate interactions at scale through these new connected points of experience,” reads the report. “They are also looking to harness the data, intelligence and insights that these new connections have to offer.”

In order to achieve this, the report continued, the three technology trends need to converge not only around the customer, but the connected customer, which the authors define as “one who is fully immersed in the IoT and who expects personalized engagements delivered by the digital enterprise — using intelligence and information gathered through the API economy.”

Which tech transformation will have very significantly impact customer engagement?

The Case for Content

The authors also pointed to content as instrumental in the way that brands garner attention, increase engagement and spread word of mouth.

According to the study, 56 percent of marketers believe that higher engagement rates as the top benefit of personalized content and digital interactions, while 47 percent cite more timely, relevant interactions, followed by increased word of mouth at 44 percent. 

Miller cautioned that when it comes to creating these personalized experiences, marketers have to make the shift away from the push mindset.

“Marketers need to understand that push isn’t always the answer,” she said. “You need to create a different experience in which someone becomes a loyal advocate, telling their stories."

“If marketers are not finding new points of engagement to guide customers along their journey, organizations are going to be in a painful spot because the Internet of Things is going to shake our businesses to the core.”

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Peter Mooney