BlogEmma Lehtovaara 26.03.2024

A colleague responsible for customer experience or digital transformation as a friend for the brand manager?

Marketing development Sales growth Strategic consulting Customer experience

There is a murmur from sales that marketing only involves campaigns and polishing the brand. In marketing, people fret that sales do not enter customer information into CRM, and targeted communication feels like navigating with your eyes closed. Sound familiar? The comments could be from many companies where no one is responsible for customer experience management or digital transformation. Or there simply isn’t enough time to plan the big picture and lead the change, because someday those campaigns have to be done under a lot of pressure to deliver.

The challenge of customer data and customer experience

According to the career stories of Finnish executives on the popular Leadcast podcast, successful transformation seems to require leadership and digital skills above all. It is easy to agree with this, having followed the transformation of many large Nordic companies from the front row in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki. CRM is often used lazily, if at all. Customer information is scattered, and its utilisation in marketing planning is only at the intent level. Sales and marketing operate separately on a practical level, although joint plans may have progressed into KPIs to guide operations. Sometimes the most amusing thing is to hear that we are not now interfering with the use of CRM, because we just can’t do anything about it. However, those salespeople don’t use that CRM.

Another typical phenomenon I encountered in my role as a customer when applying for a customer loyalty. There were quite a few problem areas in the electronic process, which had a significant negative impact on my experience, slowing down the process in practice. On the other hand, I know that the company is a prolific producer of weekly campaigns, offers and interesting content. Of course, the experience is formed from them as well, but unfortunately rarely is the customer experience as concretely affected by a successful roadside advertisement as by the jamming processes of a personal meeting point and transactions that really make bile boil. Or let’s say that a successful product campaign is at least not reinforced by a poor experience of everyday transactions.

What does successful marketing digitalization and transformation require from a company?

The foundation for a successful transformation is often built on the foundations that lead to the source of customer data and careful planning. It would be important to focus on drawing up a systematic plan for at least a couple of years ahead, which will result in a clear way forward for both data collection and utilization as well as in-depth knowledge of the customer’s life cycle and purchasing process. The goal should be to improve the quality and experience of customer encounters throughout all phases where experience plays a significant role in generating conversion and building loyalty.

Of course, data alone is not enough, but we also need a plan for developing, testing and optimizing customer analytics. In addition to these areas, I would definitely include segment or buyer persona-specific content design based on customer touchpoints, purchasing process and life cycle stages, with the aim of ensuring a consistent experience despite the fragmented service across channels.

What is the role of technology in transformation?

At its most successful, the goal of technology is to create places for new activities that were previously hindered by scalability and scarce human resources. However, it is often forgotten in the equation that the role of technology is mainly to act as an enabler. It is up to the organisation itself to build operating models and structures that raise operations to a new level. Often this means a thorough reorganization, which may make more sense to hire new thinking from outside the company.

For example, in the case of marketing automation, such new operating models are often left halfway through, and the system is mainly used to automate weekly outgoing offers. At its best, however, automation can be harnessed to build a loyal customer experience if the groundwork for understanding customer encounters has been done and a plan for creating better service processes has been described. Instead of automating autumn campaigns, it would make more sense to automate customer service and take the customer through the purchase process or life cycle, ensuring great customer service and straightforward and proactive management of affairs.

Digital transformation is not a single project

A couple of years ago, I remember staring at a Forbes article that said that individual projects are not a digital revolution or that a pile of individual projects is not enough to digitalize a business. I couldn’t agree more, because successful transformation requires, above all, consistent strategic planning and cooperation between the different units and functions of the organization; Common goals, weekly meetings, workshops and brainstorming. When someone comes up with an idea where the customer experience could be improved, the work is incorporated into the design in accordance with an agile working culture or parked in the backlog to wait for the next planning period.

Then we look at the results. Did the experience improve? Did conversion improve? Do we still hear murmurs about customer service? Without chewing, however, I don’t buy the idea that digital transformation is the goal set by a structured roadmap for years to come. Oh, why? Because even this idea suggests that somewhere in a couple of years there will be a goal that transformation will never have.

If you are interested in the topic, please contact us and let’s continue the discussion!

The article was originally published on the IAB website on 22.10.2020.

Written by

Emma Lehtovaara

Business Director


Emma is a business-oriented executive with an international consulting background, who works with digital transformation, customer experience, and martech. At Dagmar, Emma is responsible for B2B business. She is eager to innovate, digitalize, and drive change in the customer’s organization. Emma’s goal is to increase sales and improve the customer experience. She is passionate about both strategy and its careful implementation.

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