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CIOs, CMOs team up to boost customer experience

Sheila Lam | Nov. 19, 2012
Customer engagement is about creating an emotional connection. Whether it's a clever tag line like "Let's Gap Together" or images of alluring models, the idea is to create a rapport and convert it into business transactions.

Business executives may demand adoption of specific technologies, but, without the requisite technical knowledge, this demand may not necessarily be helpful. She said that business-savvy IT executives should proactively ask questions to better understand the ultimate goal or purpose of the project, instead of interpreting the requests as orders.

"Marketing and business executives are good at telling the IT department what they want, but sometimes what they want may not necessarily be what they need," she said. "If you can deliver what they need rather than what they want, that's how you add value."

Digital marketing strategy

Apart from helping CMOs to engage with customers, the partnership between marketing and IT can also add value in understanding customer-needs.

Newer customer-engagement channels provided by mobile and social media platforms have exponentially increased the opportunities to connect with customers. "Customers now connect with your brand 24/7," said Adams. "Marketing needs tools to manage this extended relationship."

This is when partnership with IT becomes critical. Giuseppe Bruni, lead strategy and transformation, IBM ASEAN, agreed that CIOs can help their marketing colleagues to achieve more comprehensive digital marketing strategies.

"One reason most organizations struggle to get the customer insight they need is that they still focus on understanding markets rather than individuals," said Bruni. "Traditional sources of information are important. However they can only show customers in aggregate, offering little insight into what individual customers need or desire."

From connection to transaction

The next-generation customer engagement goes beyond building an emotional connection to extend that connection and provide personalized offerings.

Citibank Hong Kong, a customer of the Tibco Loyalty Lab, is doing just that.

The bank developed a real-time marketing and customer-acquisition engine to evaluate transaction-events like credit card purchases--to further offer personalized and relevant promotions for customers. This project won a Bank Innovation Award for its groundbreaking use of real-time software.

Nevertheless, many organizations, unlike SHKF or Citibank, are just beginning their journey of customer-engagement transformation. Adams suggested that these organizations should start with their strengths. "Look at your organization's core strengths," he said. "How can technology help improve them?"

For example, financial services companies must provide various types of information to their customers, and Adams suggests that simply providing that information via a mobile app can be the genesis of a successful campaign.

From the organization's standpoint, a well written app can reduce workloads and cut down on paper waste, but for consumers, it's all about convenience, as they no longer need to go to a branch or ATM machine.

"So rather than looking [at the campaign] from the organization's perspective, put that filter on the customers' perspective," he said.' "Leveraging technology to serve them better is a formula for success."

Additional reporting by Chee-Sing Chan and Emily Chia


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