Introducing Adobe’s customer journey maturity model
For years, you’ve been perfecting your multichannel marketing campaigns, engaging customers more and more effectively, experiencing the rewards of your maturing expertise. And it’s paying off. Research from Aspire shows that when businesses share data across their organization and develop a cohesive and seamless conversation with customers regardless of channel, they grow revenue 41% faster than those that offer only disjointed engagement.
But it’s hard not to be discouraged to note that customer satisfaction is trending downward. As compared to 2019, almost twice as many customers think businesses need to improve customer experience. And 65% of consumers say they cut back on interactions with companies that don’t meet their customer experience standards.
We need to expand our playbook, with customer-centric journeys that match our campaign-centric victories. Campaigns reach out to customers on the brand’s time frame and objectives, while customer journey management supports customers while they are satisfying their own needs. The goal of customer journey management software is to visualize and then automate and orchestrate these interactions across all available touchpoints. When your brand nails this, customers will love being in a relationship with your brand. Your brand will react to customers’ actions by presenting engaging content highly relevant to their in-the-moment behaviors.
For example, re-imagine a timeless remarketing use case. You trigger an “abandon cart” email with some extra offer immediately after a customer fails to convert and they leave your site. This extra nudge may work and help that customer convert, but it also may diminish the value of the sale if they already intended to purchase without the offer. If you re-imagine this use case, insights from customer profile attributes and past behavior would indicate they have a high propensity to buy and give you the opportunity to personalize their next engagement. Real-time data might also indicate they already made the purchase in another channel, so rather than annoy them with irrelevant nudges you can make an offer at the right time that delights them and spurs another purchase.
But maturing our campaign-centric experiences occupies all of our headspace today. How can we make the leap and expand our operations from campaign- to customer-centric, from multichannel campaigns to customer journey management? To develop operational excellence in customer-centric journeys, we have seen brands succeed by focusing on five dimensions of excellence:
- Organizational readiness
- Customer data foundation
- Content and design
- Omnichannel orchestration and engagement
- Insights and experimentation
Here’s the way forward — re-orient organizational structures to center on customers. Empower marketing and customer experience teams with tools, systems, and authority. Update customer journeys to better align with business goals and customer goals.
When Bill Belichick maps out new plays for the New England Patriots NFL team, he uses the strengths of everyone in the organization — and everyone participates. There is no such thing as a play involving one or two players. And this is exactly the approach to adding some new customer-centric plays. You must involve the whole organization.
But that’s easier said than done. Firms identify the biggest obstacles to customer experience program success as organizational silos (55%), company culture (44%), and business processes (37%).
Successful brands are flexible and adapt to putting the customer experience first. They embrace digital transformation with cross-functional and agile capabilities that prioritize the end-to-end customer experience. Leading companies establish a strategy for customer value that is backed up by goals, objectives, metrics, and budget. Everyone in the company is on the same page, shepherded by a dedicated team that coordinates the company-wide game plan and KPI progress.
Here’s the way forward — once the strategy for customer experiences has been set, executives from each department must act from a common playbook. Adapt organizational structures to place customers at their center and continue to measure and optimize end-to-end customer journey performance. Charter a center of excellence responsible for optimizing customer experiences and journeys across all the teams involved, including marketing, customer experience or service, and product managers.
Customer data foundation
Wealth managers and doctors know that every bit of client data is valuable — even essential — to caring for each client. And they invest in gathering and keeping it. We can and should do the same for our customers.
By syncing multiple sources of data into a single view of the customer accessible to all departments, brands can successfully create engaging experiences for their customers in real time. This is an ongoing challenge. Two-thirds of CMOs are overwhelmed by the volume of data available to them. Half are using at least 14 data sources. What’s the right game plan?
Leading companies combine historic, transactional, and real-time behavioral data to create a centralized understanding of customers and customer journeys. They create a common customer profile accessible to all systems and users in real time. Their customer data platform is designed to adapt to growing data needs and sources, and profiles are automatically refined as new data becomes available.
Here’s the way forward — develop your top priority use cases for real-time customer data. These use cases will establish the requirements for evaluating and justifying the changes to your organization and technology stack that enable their implementation. Then scale and add governance so cross-functional teams can operate from the same data foundation. Finally, implement real-time data capture and real-time connections between engagement channels and the customer data platform.
Content and design
Searching through seemingly endless caches of content seems an inescapable time-suck of today’s marketing life. But accessible content libraries and integrated workflows that empower all marketing teams to collaborate and optimize across channels, with assets automatically optimized for delivery to devices, channels, and applications — this is not just a dream.
Forrester research revealed that 77% of Experience Leaders provide creative teams with a single place to manage tasks, create content, and collaborate in real time natively in their design tools, and 76% to intelligently automate assembly of modular content to meet personalization needs.
Leading companies have a single digital asset management (DAM) system, accessible to everyone, which makes approved assets easy to find and deploy. Creative, workflow, and delivery tools are integrated. Content creation is fast and efficient while adhering to brand guidelines. Customers enjoy personalized digital experiences across platforms. Teams enjoy a smooth workflow using an integrated set of tools. Automation and AI help make content that is personalized at scale — in real time. This ideal is far from most brands’ reality today. How do we get there?
Here’s the way forward — establish an integrated DAM system to increase a team’s ability to deliver engaging, high-quality content with rich media — across all channels, at scale, and in a timely manner. Implement an integrated canvas for designing journeys and experiences that connects the system of engagement with the systems of delivery. Develop programs, such as using generative AI to produce the content, that will continuously support your brand storytelling and future visionary journeys.
Omnichannel orchestration and engagement
We all have goals for omnichannel excellence, and an ever-shifting game plan. As an example, were your customers browsing for style on TikTok and provisioning their kitchens from Instagram two years ago? Probably not on your radar then, but social media commerce is increasing more than 25% annually, adding another layer to your omnichannel strategy.
Successfully engaging customers is the sole path to revenue and loyalty, and personalization is the key to engagement. Brands keep customers engaged at each step of their journey through one-to-one real-time engagement and intelligent audience activations. Adobe recently found that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy a 10% year-over-year growth, a 10% increase in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.
Leading companies harmonize engagement activities across all channels, with processes and tools connected with their systems of engagement. Personalized offers and the next best experience are optimized via artificial intelligence.
Here’s the way forward — continue to experiment with and improve omnichannel customer journeys — putting the customer, not the channel’s success, at the center of the strategy. Integrate and update downstream marketing applications to empower your orchestration efforts. Establish goals and plans to leverage artificial intelligence to scale personalized customer journeys. Evaluate and analyze where customers are leaving a journey compared to the moments they are fully engaged.
Insights and experimentation
The millions of decisions our customer journeys require each day must happen without us. Ideally, our systems of engagement analyze customer journeys as they unfold to anticipate and respond to customer needs and leverage real-time insights to improve customer journeys, increase revenues and retention, and reduce churn. Forrester research showed that 79% of Experience Leaders use a decisioning engine to determine which customers receive which messages and experiences over which channels.
Leading companies continuously experiment to improve customer journeys and engagement tactics. Real-time customer journey analytics surface meaningful insights across all channels and feed those insights into customer profiles automatically.
Here’s the way forward — develop a culture of experimentation throughout the organization. Implement more advanced analytics in all channels. Expand the culture of experimentation into every aspect of customer engagement. Incorporate real-time and contextual customer data and use artificial intelligence to determine the next best experience.
So where are you today?
Overall, across these five dimensions, most brands are in the youthful stages of maturity. Few can justly claim to be leaders. Adobe has developed a self-assessment tool that will tell you where you are now in each of the dimensions and guide you with advice on how to advance your brand’s maturity in customer-centric journeys. Take the assessment here, answer 15 questions, and get a personalized report.
Next, review your maturity report and start a conversation with your brand’s stakeholders. You may find multiple opinions on the brand’s current maturity, with lots of ideas and energy for moving forward. And of course, speak with your Adobe team to understand how Adobe can support your business goals around personalized customer journeys.
Kevin Lindsay is a 25+ year tech industry veteran and currently leads product marketing for B2C customer journey management (CJM) at Adobe — including the industry-leading products Adobe Campaign and Adobe Journey Optimizer. Previously, Lindsay held product marketing and strategy roles in digital asset management (DAM), personalization and testing/optimization at Adobe. Other stops on Lindsay’s tech marketing journey included the enterprise search space and ecommerce merchandising. Lindsay believes that modern, data-driven, and AI-powered CX strategies are key to delivering empathy and personalization at scale across the customer lifecycle.