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Data-Driven Customer Experiences in the Post COVID-19 Era

As we are continuing to face this global pandemic, each brand is preparing to adapt, overcome, and survive the current economic crisis.

Given the challenges during the APEX phase with respect to economic impact (reduced marketing spends), customer impact (change in purchase behavior), or experience impact (increased digital activity), it has become extremely critical to optimize every experience and touchpoint appropriately. Competitive advantage lies in the synergies of the experiences which can only be unlocked by migrating from fragmented to connected experiences.

Every organization is trying to solve two underlying questions:

  • How can we better adapt our marketing strategy during this prolonged period in which US consumers continue to be impacted by the pandemic?
  • How should we position ourselves to emerge from the crisis with momentum and competitive advantage?

It’s no surprise that consumer behaviors are changing as they learn to live with this new reality. Consumers have not only changed their purchase destinations but also their buying preferences. During these times, brands that can understand the shifting preferences of consumers and communicate with empathy will gain the best traction which re-emphasizes the importance of effective communication with relevant experience across channels.

Often, organizations struggle to develop strong omni-channel experiences because of siloed data and inconsistent integrations. Data gets collected at every touchpoint across channels from organic search to paid media, and even inbound phone calls. With every brand interaction, consumer expectations evolve and so should their corresponding experiences. Centralized data plays an integral role in providing personalized experiences that take into consideration consumers’ level of familiarity with the brand and help towards consumers’ purchase and loyalty decisions.

CX Channels

How do we shift from Fragmented to Connected Experience?

The answer is right audiences and relevant experiences. An integrated ecosystem that seamlessly delivers personalized experiences with constant learnings has many components and is commonly referred to as enablers by Merkle.

Strategic Experience Roadmap

Enablers are driven by a deeper understanding of customer expectations, leveraging unified audience strategy across channels and campaigns to deliver cohesive and relevant customer experience. A roadmap is produced by strategists who work closely with the business leadership team and marketing team to consider the active market trends.

Reporting Analysis

Data & Audience Management

Centralized audience strategy is the approach to understand the consumer regardless of the source or medium of their engagement with the brand. This requires an audience management platform (DMPs/CDPs) which facilitates consolidation of data from all sources and creation of rich profiles and targetable audiences. The platform also enables syndication of audiences to various channels for experience delivery.

Content and Asset Repository

Delivery of consistent experiences across channels require similar assets and language. Centralized content and asset repository, also known as digital asset management platform (DAM) integrates well with the site CMS, marketing tools, etc. removing redundancy and increasing maintenance efficiency.

Experience Orchestration Platform

This platform is designed to deliver rules and audience-based experiences. It is integrated with DAM to utilize the assets and provide marketers with the ability to augment and enhance the user experience of all digital properties.

Reporting & Analytics

An overarching test and learn agenda to understand performance and constantly learn about consumer behavior is at the core of this effort. This requires a detailed test plan and measurement strategy. Analytics platforms such as Adobe Analytics, in conjunction with tagging efforts, provide the ability to collect data across all digital properties for optimization.

All of these platforms and activities are inter-connected and form a feedback loop that allows for constant utilization of learnings to optimize and improve the overall consumer experience.

How do you achieve Connected Experiences?

Merkle has developed tailored assessments that will help validate the current state of each enabler:

Audience Management Platform Assessment

Assessments are geared towards:

  • Determining relevance of existing customer profiles and audiences.
  • Developing a consolidated audience strategy and activation approach
  • Evaluating in-market criteria and audience impacts based on different marketing prioritization

Audience management steps

Experience Orchestration Assessment

Assessments are geared towards:

  • Determining all activities that are live and validating if they are still necessary
  • Creating a cohesive experience strategy, inclusive of test and learn, based on shift in audience priorities and marketing spend
  • Creating an experience orchestration strategy to deliver the newly strategized experiences
  • Enabling tagging and media pixels to ensure accurate reporting of experience performance

Optimization Steps

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar on August 18. Sign up here.