Intelligent Customer Engagement began from a simple premise: content is the best way to have meaningful engagements with your target audience but most content marketing lacks strategy.
Why is that though? The answer is really quite simple: companies are creating lots of content in lots of different channels but failing to join that together into a structured journey for their target audience. If you look further you can include the fact that lots of different functions within a company are communicating with their customers in a disjointed way.
To put that into context, take a look at your own organisation. How many functions (marketing, sales, contact centre, billing, etc.) create content and/or communicate with your target audiences? The answer will certainly be more than one. Possibly half a dozen or more if you are a large blue chip. Now look at it from the customer’s point of view: bombarded with advertising, PR, social media, e-mails, calls, bills, customer communications, and so on and so on. And yet the vast majority of this is done in isolation. No wonder they are not engaging, not listening and not biting.
And so it was the need for a connected audience journey which led to the creation of Intelligent Customer Engagement or ICE for short.
Through ICE you can do three things:
- You can create structured journeys for your audience based around your business objectives that maps the actual buying journey of your customers, regardless of whether they are B2C or B2B. From initial engagement, through to the buying cycle and onwards to the receipt of the product/service, retention and advocacy. It is a psychological journey that is aligned to the way people actually behave. You can then define the content that needs to be produced to guide the target audience on that journey.
- You use content as a tool for not just engaging the target audience as businesses do already but for guiding the audience through their buying journey. You can do this by firstly creating content based on the structured journeys you have already mapped out. Secondly, using content analytics you can understand what content they are consuming and therefore what they are both interested in and where they are in the journey. Lastly, using the power of a Content Decision Engine to offer the Next-Best-Content that you would like them to consume, you can progress them forward on the journey. But here’s the thing, content is self-selecting. People can choose to read or watch whatever they like. That is absolutely fine because by doing so they are self-selecting their own personal journey. This means that you, as the provider of that content, are being relevant. It also provides you with incredibly powerful insight on your customers because when it gets to content consumption “what you read says more about you than what you say”.
- You can integrate your customer communications silos through content consumption. It’s simple as a concept. When the target audience consumes a piece of content that takes them from one of your silos to another, their content consumption data goes with them. That means that when they have read your e-mail, gone to your website, called into your contact centre, spoken with your salesperson and received the bill and ongoing customer communications, all of it has been part of a seamless journey that has been enabled by passing the data from one system to the other about what they consumed on their journey. The systems do not need to talk to each other, just the content data. That means that when, for example, your call centre agent or account manager speak with a customer there is rich data about what has brought that customer to that point in the journey. Now you can have a really worthwhile interaction as the content data provides context to that customer’s individual journey.
The result is true customer-centricity. And more than that, your campaign results will be consistently better as they will be more relevant to the customer’s needs as they have self-selected their own journey. With ICE you will have the ability to sustain the engagement with your audience throughout their buying journey, magnifying your existing content investment and enabling a stronger ongoing relationship with greater cross-sell opportunities. And finally, you will have incredibly powerful forecasting capabilities as you will, quite literally, be able to see the customers coming, thus allowing marketing to have a legitimate and credible voice in every boardroom.