SDL: Marketers must become "variation chiefs"

Marketing technology vendor's chief revenue officer says social, globalisation and omni-channel have created a perfect storm for marketers around customer engagement and experience

SDL chief revenue officer, Bernadette Nixon
SDL chief revenue officer, Bernadette Nixon

Marketers need to become “chief variation officers” if they wish to win the customer experience revolution they’re fighting in right now.

That’s the belief of SDL chief revenue officer, Bernadette Nixon, who opened the customer management technology vendor’s Sydney event today by looking into how brands, large and small, can better tackle the ever-rising expectations of their customers.

According to Nixon, customer experience is being driven by three significant trends: Omni-channel, globalisation and social.

“Each of these is impactful in its own right,” she commented. “The theme of all three is variation. “Whatever your job title may be, today you are the chief variation officer.”

Nixon said customer experience comes from building relationships based on trust and value, and pointed to industry figures which state that it takes two years on average to gain brand trust. “Trust is a precursor to any relationship,” she said.

“If it takes two years to do that, then it’s taking more than five years to get more than an average share of wallet from that customer.

“How can we bring in the art and the science to get to that inflexion point sooner? That’s ultimately going to be the testament as to who wins your arms race – you or your competitor.”

Globalisation, social and omni-channel are vital in driving better customer experiences, and all are about marketers interacting in a more contextual way, Nixon continued.

“But it’s amazing how often it’s not done,” she said. “Often it’s lots of little things that get in our way; the systems, sometimes the marketing organisational structure.

“It’s also because we often overlook the post-purchase phase.”

Nixon also presented SDL’s methodology for tackling modern customer experience, broken down into three imperatives. The first is data-driven personalisation, and using analytics and data to better understand customers both in terms of their buying journey as well as commitment.

“Use that information to really inform what you’re doing with your digital strategy and multi-channel communications,” she said.

The second piece of the puzzle is “applying customer mandates”, Nixon said, while the third is perfecting a frictionless customer journey.

“You need to figure out what is the low hanging fruit is so you can impact that,” she added.

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