The Number One Challenge Facing Marketers in Manufacturing
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The Number One Challenge Facing Marketers in Manufacturing

Author: Tanu Gupta | Categories: Manufacturing, 1:1 Marketing, Personalization, Customer Experience

In the manufacturing industry, marketers can quickly become overwhelmed with the number of dials there are to turn. From the product itself to pricing and promotion, everything needs to catch customer’s attention.

The number one challenge for marketers amongst all, is creating a unified omni-channel customer experience that comprises many facets of a business.

The modern customer demands a consistent and relevant customer experience across time, touchpoints, devices, and brands. Many manufacturing firms struggle to deliver on those expectations.

One study found that the customer journey--across multiple touchpoints--has the highest correlation to increased revenue. A one-point increase in customer satisfaction in the study correlated with a 3% increase in revenue-growth rate.

For manufacturing firms that want to compete and get ahead, they need to be looking to the future and focusing on the importance of the customer experience (CX). Now is the time to implement the tools, technology, and processes to unify operations and marketing efforts.

A study by Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50% of firms will make significant organizational changes to focus on unifying CX.

Data shows us the importance of creating such a priority of customer experience, and many firms expect to do so within the coming years. But what is holding other organizations back?

Fragmentation Across Brands

For many firms in manufacturing, there are natural divisions within the company. Separate brands, products, and teams can create gaps in knowledge, actions, and data.

These fragmentations drive divisions within the customer experience.

One brand or department may adhere to a specific brand style guide or voice guidelines, but others may not continue the same experience. This can lead to disparate experiences within the same transactions or for the same customers.

“Today, fragmentation continues to grow across distribution platforms, as well as type, availability and volume of content, as technology continues to evolve. And an outgrowth of fragmentation and choices is loyalty—or more often disloyalty. In the U.S.” … “78 percent of consumers are not loyal to a particular brand!” - James Russo, SVP Global Consumer Insight, Nielsen

 Many times these divisions within the organization require a rethinking or restructuring of company departments, but it can result in not just improved customer experience but also operational efficiencies and clearer strategic vision.

Fragmentation Across Touchpoints

The fragmentation that occurs within the confines of many firms manifests itself as fragmentation to the customer. In the era of omni-channel marketing across devices, platforms, and media, creating a unified experience isn’t just happenstance--it takes dedicated planning, strategy, tools, technology, and data.

Each touchpoint along the customer’s journey--from awareness to support and beyond--requires consideration. These opportunities can either reinforce the firm’s message or confuse and put off customers.

For marketers in manufacturing, these touchpoints span not just digital properties, but often extend into physical plants and other interactions that all require thought and orchestration.

Creating a Unified Experience

The number one challenge facing most manufacturing firms is overcoming this fragmentation and building systems and processes to unify the customer experience across touchpoints, brands, and devices.

Keys for creating unified customer profile
Source: Aria

Not only does this deliver a better experience for customers and boost baseline metrics like leads, sales, and retention, but a unified experience also necessitates a high level of organizational and operational efficiency within the firm. This means having the systems in place to collect and distribute customer data across all platforms. It means having the infrastructure to plan, measure, and adjust operations in an agile way.

“In order to form a single view of the customer, businesses must create an identity map that connects multiple data points across seemingly distinct identities with the highest match rate and accuracy.” - Omar Tawakol, GM of Oracle Data Cloud

For your firm to embrace a unified customer experience, it requires a process to take stock of the current landscape and then create and implement necessary changes.

Keys to implementing a unified experience are five fold:

  1. Organization - Cross-functional teams that have the ability, skill, knowledge, and authority to act to unify various processes and systems
  2. Technology - Systems and platforms that integrate together across departments and touchpoints
  3. Data - Single-view customer data warehouse that stores data on individual customers
  4. Measurement - Clear goals and measurements that are used to assess progress and impact
  5. Strategy - One shared vision for the outcome of the process and how it will improve the firm across all company departments and positions

Together, these represent the necessary components for a unified customer experience--one that delivers relevant messages to all customers across all relevant touchpoints and can help manufacturing firms to meet the demands of modern customers. More about these challenges can be read on my blog 5 Reasons Manufacturers Fail at Delivering Great Customer Experiences.