Is your Marketing department aligned with customer experience and employee experience? The necessity and logic of doing this was highlighted in a recent presentation by Hootsuite’s Vice President of Customer, Kirsty Traill. She pointed out that Marketing Communications is unfortunately the typical focus of customer journey maps and customer-centric marketing.
Her observations are in accordance with the first half of this six-part series which also pointed out that MarCom-focus for customer-centric marketing is extremely short-sighted in what’s needed by your company. It short-changes marketing’s impact.
(Note: this article focuses on Marketing’s understanding of customer and employee journeys. Next week’s follow-on article describes how Hootsuite increases Marketing impact by making use of these insights across all of Marketing’s functional areas.)
Hootsuite takes a holistic view of “brand experience” by applying customer-centric research and thinking to each phase of the end-to-end customer experience and employee experience journey maps — for use by all groups within Marketing and beyond. Brand integrity relies upon both employees’ and customers’ perceptions. It also relies on the company’s fulfillment of their needs. Marketing plays a significant role in understanding, communicating and assuring these needs.
“We recognize the importance of employee engagement in driving the customer experience,” said Kirsty. “Marketing touches every part of the employee journey and is a key part of driving a truly customer-centric culture, starting with recruiting and whether the public’s image of our employer brand is likely to attract high-caliber talent.”
The journey team at Hootsuite includes Marketing, Sales and Customer Success representatives. This allows them to look through different lenses. Their work has developed an overarching messaging hierarchy informed by customer journey mapping, and grounded in customer needs. “It’s an overall guide of how customers talk about the category,” explained Kirsty. “It describes how customers and employees think about each phase of their journeys, and how they talk about their needs. It provides vocabulary for consistent messaging to each of four core customer personas and to employees.”
Marketing decisions are guided by a table of customer insights available for each journey stage, showing which voice-of-customer insights inform each stage and who owns it. Julie Garrah, Customer Experience Manager on Kirsty’s team at Hootsuite, explained: “We emphasize closing-the-loop in communicating what action we’re taking. This drives improvement in scores. We send customers a closing-the-loop email on a six-month cadence, sharing what we’re doing.”
The image below describes my interpretation. Green phrasing is my suggestion to foster outside-in thinking.
Research for Marketing Across the Customer Experience Journey
Hootsuite has defined four core personas and developed a customer journey map for each persona. (I’ve found it best to identify natural customer segments by looking for patterns across qualitative data.) Hootsuite builds a deep understanding of each segment’s journey stages by answering these questions:
- Need Something: How does a customer become aware of the need for what your category represents, how would they describe the need in their own words, what is it that triggers the activation of that customer need?
- What are My Choices: Which other companies are in your customers’ consideration set, where are they finding information to make a decision in the category, what is their evaluation criteria?
- Decide & Buy: What information are they looking for to make their decision, what is it that locks them in to your product versus your competition’s, do they talk to anyone, what does your purchase process look like, how long does it take, how easy was it for customers relative to their expectations?
- Receive Order: What do they need to get started, where do they find information during this stage?
- Install / Use: How do customers use your product/service, how do they define the value, how do you deliver upon that value, how do you reinforce that they’ve made the right decision?
- Questions / Moments of Truth: Which touch-points triggered repeat purchase, upgrade or expansion; where did you fail to deliver on their expectations; what caused customers to cancel, suspend, return, leave, what were the triggers; what information do they need and in what format?
- Integrations: Which touch-points turn fans into loyal fans and advocates, what is the customers’ context for usage of your product, what are their interactions with your people, what is their connection with your brand?
*Questions / Moments of Truth: Researching the “moments of truth” stage can be a difficult process to go through, but Kirsty explained: “This information is rich and can be used in very productive ways for improving customer experience as well as your marketing mix and marketing touch-points.”
*Integrations: I’ve found that integrations might be the most significant part of the journey as it answers “what is the customer trying to get done . . . with or by whom, under what circumstances, in combination with what processes or hardware/software?” This context can be a game-changer for up-leveling your marketing, product development, and operations.
Research & Actions for Marketing Across the Employee Experience Journey
Hootsuite applies customer experience insights to all stages of the employee experience journey:
- Need a Job Opportunity / What are My Choices: Does your Careers web page paint the image of a customer-centric company, how employees are portraying you on LinkedIn and GlassDoor, is your employer brand aligned with your corporate brand and customer-focus?
- Decide & Sign / Start Job: Educate every new employee on buyer personas and user personas in every team and department, show videos from customers explaining what they use and like, provide pocket guide with customer needs and value proposition, explain company standards to new hires so they understand how important customer-focus is and how their specific role affects customer experience.
- Daily Work: Empower everyone in the company to address customer issues since it’s impossible for your Customer Success team to manage every touch-point customers have with your company, role-based training, create a central repository of customer information and unified customer profile across the journey, design your tech stack to integrate the fewest systems necessary to house customer data for a comprehensive story of individual customers.
- Higher Purpose: Make “customer love” visible through stories shared with employees, display your Customer Support vision, encourage employees to participate in shadowing, ride-alongs, and capturing customer quotes.
- Championing: Encourage brand spirit through corporate apparel and swag, empower employees to “share love” through social media, arrange for people from development to shadow Customer Support and Sales Enablement to sit in on sales calls, invite Product Marketing and Vertical Marketing teams to attend customer events to see how customers are interacting and engaging with content.
Hootsuite studies a flow of qualitative data from marketing touch-points about what customers want and need. By gaining a deeper understanding of how customers are thinking and feeling about information at each stage in their journey, the company has also gained appreciation for how the touch-points interact with one another.
These insights re-orient employees’ outlooks. They break down traditional silo mentality. The goal is to become a more customer-centric organization by driving behavior in doing what’s best for the customer as the way to drive business growth.
Check back next week for continuation of this article: “Customer Journey Insights Increase Marketing Impact”.
Note: Kirsty Traill is a member of the ClearAction Value Exchange‘s Executive Leadership Board. She presented this case study in one of the Exchange’s Webcast ConversationsTM, a guided opportunity for Exchange members to rapidly personalize new perspectives to their work situations for same-day actionability.
This article is fourth of a six-part series as an exclusive CustomerThink Advisors column: How Customer-Centered Marketing Steps Up Your Performance & Influence.
4. Marketing’s Role in Employee & Customer Experience Journeys