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Charting the Contextual Marketing Roadmap with Sitecore

March 28, 2018 | Posted by Lisa Carolan

Sitecore_Roadmap .jpgMarketing teams are constantly searching for the means to create a natural access pipeline to vital, real-time customer experience data. This is the only way to harness the power for creating proactive rather than reactive experiences for them. While the multi-channel digital age appears to increase the challenge of obtaining real-time customer data, it also holds the key to making contextual marketing a reality.

Sitecore has emerged as a leading solution for marketers to continually nurture the evolving customer relationship. By fostering the ability to design campaigns around context marketing, the platform makes it possible for marketers to anticipate customer needs in nearly real time.

The Sitecore platform essentially drives constant refinement of the customer experience with data gathered from each encounter, device, time and place. The result is that marketers can create a seamless process that takes a customer through the phases of attraction, conversion, and finally to the advocate phase of being a lifetime customer.

Plotting the Course to Lifetime Customer

The Sitecore Customer Maturity Model shows how marketers can encourage customer development through the align, optimize, and nurture stages. By the time they reach the nurture stage, marketing technology, and optimization processes come to the forefront in gathering customer data. This is where contextual marketing becomes possible through the use of data. Marketers can measure their digital goals against business objectives by personalizing content and running tests to see what delivers the best results.

As marketers begin nurturing more mature customer relationships, they increasingly make connections through personally relevant content. They simultaneously prompt potential and current customers with calls to action that trigger customer motivations that result in sales fulfillment or brand interaction. This process reveals how context marketing is the key to creating meaningful and solid long-term customer relationships.

By the time marketers have formed customer relationships that mature to the lifetime stage, the constant influx of data gathered from encounters across all channels feeds analysis for highly actionable and targeted marketing. This sets the stage for campaigns and interaction approaches that are designed to meet new customers entering the pipeline at different stages, times, and channels.

In essence, the lifetime customers become advocates for the brand through analysis of brand interaction data gathered from various channels. At that point, the data reveals how the brand and company fulfil a commonality of needs and desires based on lifetime customer interactions. This data can then be extrapolated to create targeted approaches for new potential customers.

The challenge comes in moving the relationships from initial phases to the advocacy lifetime customer phase. More specifically, businesses must have a way to overcome the challenges of intradepartmental siloes. It is the natural departmental divisions within enterprises that make it difficult to share actionable customer data in ways that strengthen campaign targeting as well as the overall brand..

Eliminating Customer Experience/Information Silos

The biggest challenge to delivering the ideal customer experience are the silos that exist between departments such as sales, marketing, product development, fulfillment, and customer service. This leads to gaps in the customer communication process, which then leads to customer frustrations that erode sales fulfillment and the brand relationship.

These gaps can occur in all phases of the customer journey in ways that lead to unanswered questions and customer anxieties. For example, take a scenarios where a purchase or enquiry into a product’s use are not addressed in a way that anticipates the customer need. Marketers can effectively use Sitecore to identify any areas where marketing efforts may be missing vital customer information by identifying these challenges in past customer encounters.

Everything from the website and email campaigns to call centers, customer-facing app data, and social media are all ways that marketers can gather information to identify gaps. The goal is to listen to individual customer feedback while simultaneously monitoring and analyzing how potential customers are communicating with each other through social media channels as one example.

The reality is that most marketing teams don’t have the unified platform that can bring together incoming data from all channels in a holistic way to solve the context marketing problems of:

● The use of multiple marketing tools where each tool has its own silo of customer information and only collects data from one channel

● Creating a single point of truth that can transcend interdepartmental data silos and approaches

● Creating holistic, targeted campaigns that draw on CRM, CSM, and ERP solutions

Sitecore makes it possible to create a holistic context marketing express lane that brings all of these data channels together to facilitate analysis that doesn’t require a data scientist. The possibilities grow exponentially with the combination of Sitecore and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Creating a Holistic Context Marketing Express Lane

The journey of consumers that use multiple channels to interact with brands are happening outside of traditionally developed brand campaigns. However, their journeys can intersect with campaigns at any point, at any time and through any channel from web, to mobile apps, to social media.

Businesses must be ready to engage at any time and place with the right message while simultaneously developing campaigns for nurturing customer relationships. Sitecore makes it possible to learn from all of these interactions to create more refined targeting approaches that meet customers where they are with the information that they need.

The individual data points gathered from each customer interaction becomes millions of data points that can predict behavior and shape the right responses. This complex process requires sophisticated tools, principles, and practices that can automate the process of parsing the data for delivering real-time customer insights that can streamline the customer journey.

Sitecore can fulfill this role by first setting the stage for the creation of an all-encompassing customer data repository and the means to seamlessly connect it to a content management system. The data repository feeds a holistic customer information database that integrates data from multiple digital marketing and customer-facing systems.

Making Data Accessible and Useful Across the Enterprise

The older the data, the less useful it becomes, and the more complex the data the harder it is to segment it for analysis. Sitecore makes it possible to overcome these challenges by making it possible to collect all visitor interactions in a real-time, big data repository and segment it for efficient analysis. Businesses also need the ability to use the data outside of the marketing department in order to understand interactions that can empowering sales and other departments to create and contribute to brand interactions. It’s equally important that when the data is ordered and analyzed with the right tools that it can also prove beneficial to strategic planning, and finance departments as well as service and support.

Sitecore can provide the contextual intelligence of these big data repositories by making it possible to prospect and makes that data available in real time, at scale, to any marketing support application. For example, analytics software that can derive insight into the meaning of data to guide actionable contextual marketing interactions.. The intent of this process is to provide a single source of truth and a single version of truth (SSOT, SVOT)in terms of customer data.

Marketers can then leverage contextual intelligence about customer interactions that span a multitude of online and offline touchpoints. This enables them to use Sitecore to automate time-consuming tasks that create bottlenecks and unforced errors in the campaign process.

Contextual Marketing for the Omnichannel Expressway

It takes automation to track customer engagements with the brand in real time across every channel. More than ever, marketers need to deliver a connected experience that adapts to all channels. To accomplish this goal, Sitecore helps marketers to:

● Orchestrate real-time interactions and automate responses and content based on how customers are interacting with a brand in the moment.

● Create email campaigns that can work in concert with customer interactions across other channels in

● Ensure that web content interactions are optimized across mobile devices

● Create a holistic approach to content sharing across social media platform integrated with web content management, personalize conversations and measure the success

● Integrate all content and campaigns across channels with e-commerce to fulfill the right customer need at the right place, time and device

● Create more dynamic print campaigns that can be targeted and personalized based on the omnichannel customer experience

● Make print a powerful offline marketing channel through the creation, publishing, targeting and delivery of personalized content that is highly contextualized.

Data customization for database import and export must be driven by contextual marketing that is made possible via a drag-and-drop experience that uses marketing automation for cross-channel orchestration. This contextual marketing approach must also have the ability to import data from any system such as CRM, CSM, and ERP as well as from IoT devices and more. Only then can marketers create a highly personalized contextual marketing experience for customers.

Sitecore makes contextual marketing possible by enabling customer-centric conversations that deepen across time and future points of engagement. More specifically, it moves brand marketers to effective two-way interactions that lead to customer fulfillment and brand loyalty. This can further the business’s top and bottom line growth while paving the way for digital transformation.

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