Stop Dictating What You Think Your Customers Want

In a recent Forrester survey, 61 percent of marketers said their customer data does not easily cross marketing channels and that new data sources.

Is the customer engagement journey more like a map or a roller coaster?

According to Dr. Rob Walker, VP of Decision Management for Pegasystems, it’s neither. Many marketers want to believe they can dictate or script customer journeys, but Walker says reality is much more complicated.

“Because there are so many touchpoints and devices, something unexpected happens all the time,” Walker noted recently. “I sometimes hear people talking about the customer journey like it’s a roller coaster, but I think it’s more like a pinball machine. It’s hard work trying to keep the ball in play, and good luck trying to script it.”

Walker’s remarks came as part of a recent webinar, Stop Dictating What You Think Your Customers Want. Walker joined Principal Analyst Rusty Warner of Forrester Research and Vince Jeffs, Pegasystems’ Director of Marketing and Customer Decision Management, for a conversation about the roles of personalized marketing and predictive marketing in customer engagement.

Offer-focused or customer-focused?

In a recent Forrester survey, 61 percent of marketers said their customer data does not easily cross marketing channels and that new data sources — especially from mobile and social — are difficult to integrate, Warner noted. Of marketers who were able to track customers across channels, nearly two-thirds said they could predict high-value customers but were failing to effectively engage them. A potential solution, he said, is a focus on customers rather than on products.

Walker noted that Pegasystems’ “Next-Best-Action Approach” demonstrates that interacting with a customer is a privilege that calls for a unique, contextual, customized action determined in real time. This customer-centric approach must be balanced with business objectives in a way that benefits both parties, he said.

The role of analytics

Jeffs, who served as the webinar moderator, asked how machine learning, along with predictive and adaptive analytics, can help marketers learn more about their customers and anticipate their needs to engage in real-time marketing.

Walker noted that truly understanding customers involves use of identity matching and other technologies to create an extended profile. Once a customer’s history is accessible, a marketer can execute actions in real time that meet a customer’s needs in the moment.

“It’s about understanding where the customer’s mind is, where they are in their particular life cycle and in their journey path at that particular moment,” Jeffs added.

Marrying online and offline interactions

In a July report on real-time interaction management, Forrester evaluated 11 vendors based on their technology versus ability to deliver against their strategies and visions. Warner noted that based on a number of factors, Pegasystems rated as one of the leaders in the real-time marketing field. The ability to align real-time decision management capabilities with business rules played a major role in the evaluation, he said.

“We also saw the ability from Pega to address (both) the digital and the offline world,” he added.

To watch an on-demand version of the webinar, Stop Dictating What You Think Your Customers Want, click here.