Whether you call it CEM (experience with an E), CXM(Experience with an X), web engagement, digital experience management, customer lifecycle management or Susan  -- read any contemporary marketing writing and you’ll discover that there is a business imperative to pivot your organization around the empowered consumer.

This means you must somehow manage that customer’s perceptive of your business, service or products through their customer journey, from their initial awareness, through a purchase or engagement to them raving about you on Twitter.

Here on CMSWire there are some great contributions to this conversation and I’d like to distill this down to three areas of focus, which for the purposes of a punchy headline -- I am calling the 3 C’s of CXM.

The first of those C’s is rather obvious -- it’s Customer and in parts two and three of this article I will focus on the other two C’s: Control, or how you orchestrate this customer experience and our favorite C as CMSWire readers, Content.

CXM is a Strategy Not a Platform

The first C being customer means that CXM is a business strategy, not a technology platform today.

By making customer the first pillar of CXM, we are talking about more than what a digital marketer can control over the web; it extends to every touch point a customer has -- from the initial brand awareness, through to purchase and then to the post sale service and support.

As a business strategy, this is a broad task, bringing together all of the parts of the business that touch the customer. This is only emerging in some businesses and there is no single technology platform that can do this.

CXM is Beyond Attract and Convert

The typical focus of a digital marketer is in two stages of the customer journey: attracting them to your product or service and then converting them to an engagement objective -- perhaps a product purchase.CXM addresses an important third stage in the customer's journey -- that of retention.

CXM, Retain -- from Customer to Advocate

The purpose of the retain phase of the customer journey is not just revenue related to future cross and up-sell purchase, but the importance in this socially connected world of creating advocacy.This means bringing together the pre-sales marketingactivities with those of customer care -- to change this relationship from being a loose hand off to a symbiotic relationship. The level of service offered to this customer could be a significant influence over the next customer in their purchasing decision.

This convergence needs two things: the business function or program to span the entire customer journey and a way to effectively measure that.

The Rise of the Customer Advocate


Implementing CXM often requires significant organizational change and enterprises are defining new business functions and units to be the hub of managing the customer experience. To lead these new business units and initiatives, organizations are creating new senior roles to represent the customer and be an advocate of their needs, often in the C suite.

Leading analyst firm Forrester, back in their 2008 paper “The Customer Experience Journey” recommend that this “centralized group now acts as a facilitator to the network of customer experience advocates across the company” and if well implemented, Forrester argues that customer advocacy becomes cultural, removing the need for these central functions.

So, how do you measure the impact of this new function?

Learning Opportunities

Understanding the Customer, not Counting Hits

Understanding the hits on a web page is easy and free. Marketers have never before been as exposed to such a volume of data. But data is not the same as insights. The more difficult metric to measure is the effectiveness of this holistic CXM strategy that is sitting across multiple business disciplines and systems.

One very effective approach to understanding this broader sentiment about your organization, product service or brand is to use social media.

Using social media monitoring tools and with some analysis of the revealed data you can develop metrics for such things as:

  • Brand Affinity: The emotional commitment customers feel to your brand
  • Customer Engagement: Customer response to your offerings, marketing and customer experience
  • Product Commitment: How likely a customer is to recommend your product or service or adopt a new product that you are about to launch.

These metrics not only give a reading of how well you’ve done in the past, but can also predict how your audience will react. 

This covers the first of my three C’s of CXM: the Customer. Managing their experience is a cross business function and we need to find new ways to measure their effectiveness. We can no longer focus on attracting and converting through marketing, but that retaining and delighting our customer is a business imperative as recommendations and advocacy play such an influential role in attracting future customers.

In the next article I will look at how we orchestrate that experience -- through the second C -- Control.

Image courtesy of iQoncept (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: While you're waiting for Ian's next installment, why not read his How Context Can Define a Great Online Customer Experience