According to how I have seen the marketing landscape evolve, loyalty is a fickle these days, and marketers are in a continuous courtship with their customers. Along with this undivided attention to their clients, it becomes essential to map and identify what they are doing and why, before organizations look at introducing new technologies within the marketing vector. Recognizing the needs of customers has become toilsome. This is more so because every person is geared-up with their digital gadgets, exploring options and choices, starting from advertisements, to e-commerce websites, to social networking, all at their fingertips. What makes the work of marketers even more complicated is to ensure relevance in accordance with the changing stance of the technology itself and the growing needs of clients.
Customers require an individual and personalized experience rather than being bucketed within broad segments. For this, marketers adopt customer data platforms to understand customers and their needs at an individual, holistic level, including their preferences, approach of engaging with marketing firms, thus meeting customers at a favorable juncture. Furthermore, the purchasing cycle has transformed to a great extent, from pure research, evaluation and purchase, to purchases being influenced by research at different touchpoints, advertisements on various channels, and finally purchases made from a third channel. In this context, it becomes vital for marketers to bring together the digital expanse of customers and use the knowledge from it to address their needs and ensure a data-driven customer journey.
"While addressing the customer experience journey, agility is critical element for marketers. In spite of the complexities that exist in the marketing sector, we should not get overwhelmed by them, and continue to test, learn, iterate & innovate"
Segmentation is another crucial facet when it comes to customers. With AI and ML, marketers can compute and analyze vast amounts of client data and identify significant patterns in the context of who among them are long-term clients. This helps to get to the micro-segment level and analyze small groups of people and go-ahead to design relevant digital content and marketing offers to engage more customers on websites. Customers are unique in their needs and requirements, and this stands most true in the hospitality industry, where they visit for varied purposes. These may include destination experience, gambling, for attending shows and nightlife venues, as well as conferences, which makes it imperative for hoteliers to ensure an integrated experience, aligned with the purpose of the customer visit. This can be further enhanced with technically-driven measures including access to mobile apps to plan their itinerary and discover the resort, all conveniences within their rooms, along with Alexa voice and iPad-based experiences for in-room controls from TV, thermostat, drapes and lighting, to making restaurant reservations or buying show tickets.
A recent project that I was a part of as the CIO of Wynn Las Vegas was the opening of our latest property, an integrated resort paired with a casino, in Boston. It is comparatively smaller than our Vegas property, but we are expecting a large influx of local clientele along with international tourists. Therefore, our approach was to design the establishment from the perspective of both our potential visitors. We have gone above and beyond to ensure the best in-house technologies for an enhanced experience for visitors, including the installation of Alexa and iPad-based technology, which can control the ambiance in the room. We are further looking at long-term initiatives in providing a data-driven experience to customers at every touchpoint, to understand the customers extensively and provide services according to their needs. What should resonate throughout guests’ stay is a frictionless experience, to promote customer-centricity by deeply understanding and engaging guest sand to deliver all of the capabilities while keeping pace with the technological advancements to better customer involvement.
While addressing the customer experience journey, agility is the principal methodology for marketers. In spite of the complexities that exist in the marketing sector, we should not get overwhelmed by them; instead, we should find means to overcome them by identifying micro-goals within the organization. These can either be short, middle, or long-horizon aspirations, based on which a roadmap should be built to map and analyze the evolution of the capabilities of that organization. Furthermore, an incremental and iterative outlook is required, especially in delivering solutions and services to customers. Additionally, legacy platforms need to be enhanced to incorporate advanced capabilities, and if that is not a possibility, then industry leaders could set up a cloud environment for assimilating modern, off-the-shelf technologies, enhancing and then migrating them on to a new platform. Industry leaders like myself should also be receptive about delivering their offerings faster and in a manner that is easier for customers to adopt. Further, enterprises should appropriately quantify and validate strategies through a continuous test, learn, iterate and innovate approach. They should frame alternative approaches in case those plans don’t work successfully, while also keeping a keen eye on the feedback in terms of value drivers, the success of marketing strategies, and commercial technologies. It is equally essential for marketers to have a clear roadmap reflecting their organizational goals along with delivering easy to understand, bite-sized chunks of information to improve customer experience along with enhancing marketing initiatives.
When I look back on my take on the marketing sector, I find it very vital for organization leaders to understand their business and clientele while also honing the strength and skills of the workforce to deliver services efficaciously. It is also crucial to analyze side by side, the purpose of the capabilities introduced as well. It is also vital to train and better the skills of the team along with bringing in new skills to stay at par in delivering the capabilities for better customer experience. A proof of concept has to be put in place as well to decide on the right tools to invest in, to finally deliver value to both employees and clients.