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PHOTO: Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup

Today we continue catching up with our CMSWire Reader Advisory Board members to learn about their challenges and successes in 2019. We recently spoke with advisors focused on employee experience and trends in the digital workplace. Today, we’re speaking with the marketing and customer experience (CX) professionals on our advisory board.

Christopher Plamann, Solutions Marketing, United Rentals

christopher plamann headshot
Christopher Plamann

CMSWire: What was your greatest challenge in the areas of CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Plamann: Definitely alignment across multiple business functions as to how the CX is delivered and what is prioritized.

By this I mean that marketing typically has a specific set of CX objectives, often that the group will be measured by at year-end. And rightly so. Obviously, CX falls into the responsibility set of marketing in most organizations. The challenge comes with consistent delivery of those CX objectives, and by extension, actions, across the customer journey. It’s one thing to drive more site traffic or hopefully, conversions. It’s another to make sure those conversions are fulfilled in a way that represents true value for our customers.

At the end of the day, it comes down to recognizing what marketing can affect, and then putting a strategy in place to align other business disciplines to ensure a consistent CX delivery, before implementing the new CX processes. That last part is tough because you don’t always have the luxury of all groups sharing a singular vision for improving the overall CX.

CMSWire: What was your greatest success story in CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Plamann: The first part of the answer above. We’ve been able to drive significant increases in volume of digital interactions through our web properties, not only with existing customers, but also through new customers finding us through digital initiatives and programs.

CMSWire: What are you looking forward to in your arena in 2020?

Plamann: I’m excited about new CX and omni-channel capabilities coming online as we start up new digital platforms in 2020. We’re focused on providing outsized customer value, and I’m lucky enough to work for a company that understands the need to innovate across all functions in pursuit of that goal. Digital continues to play an increasingly important role in our value delivery, and I expect 2020 will see further developments in our ability as marketers to influence the customer journey.  

Nathalie Latourelle, Digital Experience Lead, National Bank of Canada

Nathalie Latourelle
Nathalie Latourelle

CMSWire: What was your greatest challenge in the areas of CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Latourelle: Process and practice. The tools are one thing; the right data is another thing. At the end, new tasks emerge and marketers as well as data scientists need to build a customer journey, follow the performance, analyze and give pertinent insights. 

CMSWire: What was your greatest success story in CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Latourelle: Enabling information architects to demonstrate the value of conceptualization and measurement of an end-to-end journey for the not-identified user

CMSWire: What are you looking forward to in your arena in 2020?

Latourelle: Practice more customized journeys and inside socialization of the tools we have to maximize their usage. Feed maximum optimization insights to the value chain for specific customer journeys. 

Megan Horton, Director, Digital Branding and Strategy, Oklahoma State University

Megan Horton
Megan Horton

CMSWire: What was your greatest challenge in the areas of CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Horton: Funding and balancing many ongoing large projects. We have a lot of great ideas in our technology roadmap but need additional funding to move forward with them. In the meantime, we’ve continued to roll out our new, interactive web design themes. These projects have required a lot of manpower, but it’s been worth every minute. The new websites we’ve rolled out have exceeded our outlined performance metrics.

CMSWire: What was your greatest success story in CX/marketing as a practitioner in 2019 and why?

Horton: This year was an historic year for Oklahoma State University on many fronts. We set aside a significant amount of time for some long-term planning. In the spring, our team rolled out a five-year strategic marketing and communications plan that positions us for continued and future success. We’ve included CX-focused strategies and aim to be a lean, agile unit with a digital-first mindset, choosing the right technologies and data strategies to align with our audiences’ needs and optimize their experiences. 

The plan also places importance on unifying the OSU brand across all mediums. In July, we rebranded as a university system and — for the first time — our visual identity is truly aligned across all of our units. The fruits of this project were immediately visible within campaigns, content, signage, marketing materials, advertisements, etc.

CMSWire: What are you looking forward to in your arena in 2020?

Horton: Data, data, data! Creating a personalized student experience demands that all of our data is connected and leveraged properly. We are partnering with OSU departments to utilize existing data sources, identify new ones and leverage new technologies to serve up resources and information to our customers: students. You can learn more about how our Institutional Research and Information Management team are leading the way in higher education data analytics.