Contextualizing the Transformation of Digital Customer Engagement


Digital transformation is not some abstract concept or an ephemeral idea being bantered about in technology circles. It is a real force that is affecting almost every aspect of our lives. For many of us, it is easy to passively overlook the magnitude of this transformation, since it is something that just happens in the background of daily life. Not long ago, most people carried a flip phone, for example, and the next day everyone wielded high tech mobile super computers that could engage with brands wherever, however, and whenever they wished.

Consumers may not give this transformation much thought. To them, it is simply part of a new “normal” that has since been refolded back into an already extensive list of customer expectations.

But for brands, marketers, and technology providers, this evolution represents a long and ongoing battle to not only stay current with, but also advance, these customer experiences in exciting and innovative ways. Some brands are more sophisticated in this regard than others, but it is, nonetheless, still a major challenge for most. For larger companies, many outdated legacy systems still exist, and new and evermore advanced marketing platforms are constantly emerging. And even younger, more agile brands, are also still facing a host of new customer expectations, which now include those that want to have trusted and personalized relationships with brands.

This is a marketing landscape that Jahia understands. Jahia helps global brands drive 1:1 customer and employee digital experiences at all touch points. Across the web, through mobile, email, social media, in-store, and, soon, possibly even through virtual reality, Jahia’s Digital Experience Platform purports to be “leading the third wave of digital marketing”

Jahia believes that the future of marketing will be based on a data driven contextualization that combines aspects of both the physical and virtual worlds. As a result, it provides solutions that merges previously siloed systems and integrates additional third party software to help global clients accelerate digital transformations.

Recently, Loyalty360 was able to speak with Elie Auvray, Jahia CEO, about the nature of the contemporary digital marketing landscape, and more.

The marketing landscape faces so many challenges now, but it is also rife with opportunities as well. What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you see?

Auvray: As always, meet and exceed customers’ expectations BUT . . . at digital age speed.

This change of pace is the biggest challenge, but also the greatest opportunity given the multitude of advancements in digital marketing technologies. However, success demands cross-departmental teamwork. Lack of collaboration between marketing and IT departments is still the number one cause of failure, resulting in lack of agility.

The customer of today expects immediate and personalized answers. And more and more, it is an expectation that digital and physical world experiences need to be seamless.

Additionally, with the rise of data driven contextualization and customer-centric journey management, the challenge of managing customer data privacy is now something enterprises need to put on the top of their priority list.

So, contextualization and ultra-personalized services: yes.
At the cost of customer data privacy: no.

The challenge for brands and marketers, when it comes to data privacy, is to ensure that we are transparent about the data being collected: where is it being sent, how is it being used, etc. The opportunity for brands and marketers when it comes to data privacy is, by being transparent about your organization's’ data privacy practices, you will build trust and loyalty with customers.

I believe that the way we handle our customer’s data will define us as a company. This is the ultimate challenge. And, it’s the ultimate opportunity. Customers who trust us will become powerful long-term brand advocates.

Something we have been talking about lately is what we call “alignment.” That is, it seems that many brands think they should (or are even pressured into becoming) the next innovative CX company, like Apple or Amazon. But is this beneficial, or even realistic? Should brands first understand their own unique identity, and then define objectives, process, and programs that align with that identity?

Auvray: It is important to watch and learn from companies like Apple and Amazon regarding customer loyalty and advocacy. What is interesting here about the two brands you mentioned, is how important trust is for them. Consider recent customer data protection news for Apple as well as reliability of their customer delivery, year after year for millions of customers. You cannot build this without trust from one side to another. But brands need to create their own unique identity and establish specific processes and objectives that reflect their brand.

However, every brand needs to orient their digital ecosystem around their customers, who now expect to get contextually relevant content and experiences on their preferred device whenever they want it. Customers now demand instant connections and this can only happen if they are at the center of your identity.

There is also so much focus on customer data and around creating actionable insight now. So how should brands be managing data in a way that is less complex, easier to understand, and more impactful?

Auvray: The way a brand manages its customer data defines them. Brands are continuing to invest in new technology systems to manage their data that then need to be integrated and maintained over time. But this strategy only exacerbates what becomes an exponential problem as expenditures beget more expenditure of time, money and resources.

Brands should be aggregating their customer data and content and breaking down organizational silos to innovate the digital customer experience to gain digital agility and sustainable competitive advantage with one-to-one customer relationships. They also need to be open and transparent with their data privacy practices. Brands can achieve this by letting customers know what information they have on them, how they plan to use the data they have collected, and give the customer the choice of opting out of any data collection. Anything less could cost a brand its customers, and, ultimately, their company.

Something we also hear about is the phrase “customer journey.” What does that mean to you?

Auvray: Brands need to see the customer journey as an ongoing relationship that is cultivated by every interaction shared with the customer - including digital and physical interactions. Brands also need to support a customer-centric philosophy internally. Otherwise, the customer experience (and overall brand) will suffer consequences in time.

Throughout the entire customer journey, each touch point - all of them, from physical to digital - needs to be personalized and based on real-time intelligence. This is the biggest change we’re seeing thus far; more intelligence being used to deliver more personalized experiences.

Similarly, we hear the terms omnichannel and multichannel bantered about a lot too. Is there a difference between the two?

Auvray: I think of multi-channel as simply delivering content to more than one channel (i.e., web and mobile). Omnichannel goes beyond that. With an omnichannel approach, there are multiple channels that are CONNECTED and linked synergistically. This is an absolute requirement to achieve unified customer engagement.

And, finally, what do you see as the future of customer loyalty?

Auvray: The future of customer loyalty will continue to rely on a brand’s ability to provide personalized customer experiences throughout every touch point but not at the cost of customer data privacy. This will include immersive 360-degree experiences that use customer data to cultivate virtual experiences based on what the customer wants or needs.

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