Mission-critical for good CX: Getting the customer journey map right

In our second #IamCX event, we focused on customer journey mapping as a critical step towards moulding yourself into a CX-first business. It was great to see so many market-leading B2B brands there, and to help them drive the CX agenda in their organisations.

The thing is, there’s a growing market for running internal customer journey mapping exercises. It’s not new. But what came out of the event, was that these exercises aren’t leading to any real organisational change. It’s something Jason pointed out, sharing his experiences of seeing individual departments trying to run “customer-centric” programmes and seeing them fail time and time again. Frustrating right?

Most audience members raised their hands when asked if they had run a customer journey mapping exercise – but when they were asked if any had actually used the maps, only one hand remained.

What the Q&A revealed was that this was largely down to the lack of executive buy-in. As Jason put it, ‘For customer journey mapping to actually work, it has to be seen by c-level as a key part of the business strategy. Without their buy-in, the whole exercise is no more than an arts and crafts workshop.’ And it’s true.

Opening our customer journey mapping event, our own MD Jason Talbot stressed the value of customer journey mapping. His 5 key benefits were:

  1. Customer journey mapping gives a framework to support the overall customer experience strategy,
  2. It gives you key areas to prioritise and helps you guide decisions
  3. You get to see the business from the outside in: the customer’s point of view
  4. It gives you a measurement framework to understand why customers stay, grow or depart
  5. Your CX strategy goes from being woolly and intangible, to a clear plan that you can action straight away

Putting CX first is, of course, an immensely worthwhile exercise. At the event, Matt Cheung, the CEO of business consultancy firm Clarasys shared that a 1% increase in CSAT scores translates into 9% revenue growth (The Customer Service Institute). Remarkable – and proof that there is big £££££ to gain.

Adobe’s Thierry Stortenbecker provided a great digital transformation context and made a clear case for the role of tech in creating single customer views – the basis for creating hyper-personalised and contextual customer experiences.

Overall the event delved into the whys and the hows of customer journey mapping, giving clear business incentives for the exercise and then actionable advice on creating and implementing them.

So, in the way of a summary, we have one main piece of advice:
By all means do the customer journey mapping exercise – in fact we urge you to. But you’re not going to get any real value from them unless CX becomes a key part of your organisation’s strategy. Get exec buy in – or else your maps and efforts will only gather dust in the back of a filing cabinet.

The Office of Health Economics appoints The Crocodile

The Office of Health Economics (OHE) has appointed The Crocodile to provide a broad mix of strategic, digital, martech, brand and content services.

The research and consulting organisation provides vital insights for public healthcare institutions and the pharmaceutical industry. In an era of unprecedented innovation, OHE addresses strategic issues that help advance healthcare provision around the world. As the industry continues to evolve, OHE is expanding its marketing capabilities to help it stay at the forefront of healthcare insight.

“OHE is a pioneering organisation with the brightest thinkers in its industry” comments The Crocodile’s MD Jason Talbot. “We’re excited to be working with such a talented team that is doing fantastic work, and look forward to helping them lead the way in healthcare research and consulting. OHE joins a growing agency portfolio of consultancy-based clients, and we are delighted to have them on board.”

15 Remarkable CXM Stats

Yes, another acronym to learn. Customer experience management (CXM) has become a new and pressing topic of discussion for CMOs across the globe – regardless of industry.

CXM is concerned with the business of managing the totality of a customer’s individual interaction with a brand, over time. No small thing.

The following stats compiled by CMO put into perspective just how important a customer experience focus and CXM is to a company’s future success. Grab a coffee and enjoy.

  1. Over 80% of organisations expect to compete mainly based on CX this year. (Source: Gartner)
  2. Companies that are experience-led have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.5x higher employee satisfaction, and 1.9x higher average order value. Experience-led businesses also have 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.9x return on spend, and 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates. (Source: Forrester)
  3. In a survey of customer experience team leaders, 100% of respondents agreed that customer experience management cannot succeed without engaged employees. (Source: Customer Think)
  4. In the same study, 97% of CX team leaders agreed that CXM is a business strategy for creating loyal customer relationships, and 89% said it includes any effort to improve customer satisfaction. (Source: Customer Think)
  5. Fifty-two percent of CX professionals believe that CXM requires a chief customer experience officer to be successful. (Source: Customer Think)
  6. Organisations classifying themselves as “very advanced” at customer experience are almost three times more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goals by a significant margin. (Source: Adobe Digital Trends Report)
  7. Customer experience leaders are four-and-a-half times more likely than other companies to have a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack (32% vs. 7%) to fuel their customer experience management strategies. And companies with a unified tech stack are 131% more likely to have significantly outperformed their top 2018 business goals (30% vs. 13%). (Source: Adobe Digital Trends Report)
  8. Half of brands say they are planning to increase CX-related technology spending in 2019. (Source: Adobe Digital Trends Report)
  9. To deliver on their customer experience management goals, 55% of marketers are prioritising more effective audience segmentation and targeting. (Source: Adobe Digital Trends Report)
  10. Eighty-six percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. In fact, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Source: Walker)
  11. Consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value, stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years, and will recommend brands at a much higher rate (71% vs. 45%). (Source: Motista)
  12. Loyal customers—those who support a brand over time—spend 67% more than new customers. (Source: Edelman)
  13. Customers who have had an unpleasant experience on a brand website are 88% less likely to return. (Source: Clicktale)
  14. Sixty-one percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% end up visiting a competitor’s site instead. (Source: McKinsey & Co.)
  15. Companies with the strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. (Source: Aberdeen Group)

Interested to learn more? Reserve your place at our customer journey mapping event on 25 March in London here.

Croc bolsters strategic social capability with Rabin appointment

Meet Tom Rabin, the latest addition to our award-winning B2B social media team.

Tom joins from social media communications agency, 1000heads, where most recently he was working as an Account Director in their Sydney office, looking after accounts including Google, Intel, Samsung, and Microsoft.

At The Crocodile, Tom will be leading social strategy and campaigns for tier one accounts including London Stock Exchange Group, Videojet, and Verizon Media.

The Crocodile’s Account Directors are among the industry’s best, combining top-end skills across strategy, planning, client relationship management, and team leadership.

The Crocodile’s Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, says: “The demand for talent in B2B social is at an all-time high. We are delighted that Tom has chosen to join the team. As well as being a confident and accomplished Account Director, he is an exceptionally talented social media practitioner with a deep understanding of how social media fits within an integrated marketing environment.”

Peter Berg joins The Croc as Senior Copywriter

The Crocodile continues to attract the very best talent in the B2B market with the appointment of senior copywriter, Peter Berg.

He joins us having built a wealth of experience at the likes of Earnest and April Six working on accounts including Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft and O2 to name but a few. He hails from Minnesota, along with Prince, Bob Dylan and the Coen Bros, and (like those noir-loving brothers) has a passion for script writing (cop thrillers) as much as copywriting and creating big ideas.

Creative Director, Chris Tongeman says: “At The Croc we believe in the importance of data and technology in getting in front of more of the right people, however unlike many others we also believe in the importance of ideas, experience and creativity to convert those moments into meaningful engagement. This requires intelligence, critical thinking, customer empathy along with the bravery to make a creative leap beyond the obvious. It takes people like Peter and we’re delighted to have him on the team.”

CX Shorts: Let’s talk tech

Next in our CX shorts series, we’re diving straight into one of the key buzzwords around CX: tech. So, who better to talk to than Charlotte Kennett, Global Customer Marketing Manager at Blue Prism, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provider?

Charlotte has picked up on a key stumbling block in CX: many B2B brands are starting to talk the talk, but few are walking the walk. It’s something the industry is famous for. And for her, tech is the way to fix that.

Take a look at our first CX short, where we hear from Sylvia Jensen about the end goal for a good CX strategy. Look out for our next short coming next week!

CX Shorts: The end goal

The first in our series of CX shorts, we’re asking marketers what good CX means to them and (because true end-to-end CX is a tough ask) how the industry can get there.

After our first #IAMCX event, Sylvia Jensen, VP of EMEA Marketing at Acquia talks about the end goal of a CX strategy. ‘Loyalty’ is the obvious answer, but Sylvia believes there’s a higher goal.

Anje Pearson joins from LBi Digitas

We’re really pleased to welcome another quality strategic hire, Anje Pearson, who joins as Account Director. (That’s ‘Anya’ by the way, never ‘Angie’!).

Having spent the last four years working with LBi Digitas she brings best in-class experience in digital strategy and execution, working with the likes of Unilever and Auto Trader. Not to mention a plethora of booze brands from beer to wine, hiccup!

Managing Director, Jason Talbot says: “We have a really simple plan to build a great agency: hire people who are the best at what they do. Anje not only comes with a great depth of strategic experience she also has the human characteristics that make her a great fit at The Croc – a smart, likeable problem solver that has the courage to want to do great work. We’re delighted to have her as part of the gang.”

CX: The Good, The Bad and the Gameplan

Yesterday, market leaders from SAAS, loyalty, FinTech and professional services gathered at The Trampery, Shoreditch to participate in the first in our series of CX events.

Importantly, the speakers covered the pitfalls and problems faced when implementing a CX strategy, as well as the huge opportunities available in emerging tech, and the value of the human touch.

We were dazzled by Charlotte Kennett from BluePrism sharing hands on experience of a business that has gone all-in on CX. Organisationally they have designed an infrastructure focused around a fantastic end-to-end customer experience, with a dedicated Experience C-Suite. Key advice included reviewing where your marketing spend is directed, focussing more on post-sales marketing, and making sure you get closer to all customer facing functions, regardless of specific job titles and departments.

Leanne Chescoe from Demandbase made a compelling case for where ABM sits within the overall scheme of things. She challenged us to consider building fewer quality relationships over anonymous volume and showed the tangible impact personalisation can have.

Our own Jason Talbot made the case for why marketing department heads need to get ahead of the curve on CX, as it’s still in relative infancy in Europe. He went on to explain why it has never been more important for marketing to look at the business through the eyes of customers – to look beyond the funnel, and start thinking across the whole customer lifecycle.

Charlotte, Leanne and Jason were then joined by Sylvia Jensen from Acquia and Fraser Stark from Influitive, making for a really informative and lively panel discussion. The most important outcomes were around changing our attitudes as marketers. We need to apply more care to actual paying customers, and design relationship strategies that include advocacy programmes. Cross-department journey mapping was also identified as an absolute must, to help identify initiatives that get the ball rolling and have a positive customer and commercial impact.

CX for us is about marketing to individuals and making marketing more human. There is no one-size fits all strategy, but the way to improve your own strategy is to get advice from others going through the same process and get buy-in from the top. We learnt a lot ourselves from the event and are looking forward to putting on the next one – watch this space!

The First B2B Partner for Adobe Customer Experience Cloud in EMEA

People buy experiences. Not products. 

Customers across B2B2C markets now live, work, and play in a world driven by decisive moments. To compete, it’s essential to orchestrate customer experiences across services, platforms, and devices, in order to meet ever-increasing expectations.

To help our clients address these challenges head on, we’re pleased to announce The Crocodile’s appointment as the first official B2B partner of the Adobe Experience Cloud in EMEA.

Together we bring full-stack capabilities across brand, data, and technology to help our clients create fully integrated digital foundations to deliver revenue-driving, personalised, cross-channel experiences.

Delivering conversational marketing with the ultimate digital foundation

  • Brand: We build beautiful, strategic experiences powered by Adobe Experience Cloud, providing brand messaging, visual identity, UI/UX, customer experience design, and campaign strategy services.
  • Data:  We personalise your cross-channel experiences by intelligently organising rich customer data and blending it with the decisioning power of the Adobe Experience Cloud.
  • Technology:  We unlock the full potential of the technology, transforming it into marketing strategies that deliver exceptional customer experiences.

The Crocodile’s managing director, Jason Talbot, says: “Our vision is to help marketing departments fulfil the promise of customer experience-led strategies to create true distinction in cluttered markets. In B2B markets especially, we’re really excited at the significant performance impact this can have for market leaders looking to expand their advantage, or market disruptors trying to shake up the status quo.”

CXy Series: Part 2 – No BS fundamentals

by Jason Talbot

In Part 1 of the series I made the basic case for CX. So, if we’re building a CX battle plan, what would be our basic principles?

I think it boils down to five principles. Experiences must be:

  1. Seamless. It’s time for channel-agnostic experiences everywhere customers interact across all aspects of the business – sales, service, marketing – unified as one.
  2. Orchestrated. Every interaction must pick up where the last one left off.
  3. Contextual. Data such as location, device, customer journey, previous interactions and purchase history all needs to be considered.
  4. Convenient. Move at the customers’ pace. Don’t rush or try to force them, instead provide help and support along their journey.
  5. Responsive. Customers want it quickly – whatever it is! Conversations happen in real-time, so don’t miss the moment!

Everything on this list is familiar. Theoretically it’s charted territory. But when it comes to implementation across the whole customer journey, these principles show a business where every part works in unison – across the digital and physical, human space. It’s a bloody formidable feat.

Let’s be honest, this isn’t going to be easy – but it is achievable. Let’s consider some fundamentals first:

One: Senior management buy-in.

Now, in my opinion, if management don’t get, buy into or accept the role of marketing itself, then it might be worth trying this somewhere else. However, in my experience the best CEOs tend to be naturals at marketing and as they continue bend their heads round this you better be ready. Don’t say I haven’t warned you.

Two: Gaining a clear handle on the issue:

It’s essential to move from an abstract notion of CX and have a clear notion of what it means and how it might apply to your business.

We are still a long way off from mass-adoption and those who get ahead on this now will be ahead of most of their peers. Don’t get lost in the tactics – what’s important is to gain a perspective on the big picture. Look at where the component parts fit together.

Three: Address credibility issues:

Before taking the helm of cross-functional teams for delivering a superior end-to-end customer experience, first make sure the marketing function can already demonstrate good form in end-to-end customer marketing.

The thing is, I see a lot of focus on the funnel, but I see less in the customer phase. Back in the old BTL days CRM was a marketing strategy in itself:

Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”

CRM is often viewed in terms of technology in B2B. Like most things tech has a role to play, but the marketing strategy has to come first. CRM is far more than just a platform.

It’s time to design strategies across the whole customer journey. Too many of us have got ourselves stuck in the funnel and have left the actual “customer” piece to other departments.

Marketing needs to reclaim CRM and design strategies with an end-to-end view that informs, rewards and surprises throughout the customer lifecycle. Try thinking a little bigger than emails or newsletters.

Let’s not be complacent and remember marketing has always been about more than one ‘P’ (be it promotion, product, placement – you name it). Let’s get the foundations in place to make marketing the obvious choice to lead the CX agenda.

Best Content. Best SME. Best CX.

The 2018 International B2B Marketing Awards shortlist has been announced and The Crocodile, with LSEG AIM, have been shortlisted in three heavyweight categories:

  • Best Use of Content Marketing
  • Best Customer Experience (CX) Initiative
  • Best SME-Targeted Campaign

Jason Talbot, Managing Director says, “when planning any programme the hope is to create high-value moments across the whole customer journey capable of driving growth and relationships. I believe the three categories we have been shortlisted for is evidence that we have been successful in hitting this balance with the AIM campaign. The collective client and agency team continue to do a great job and this is great recognition of their effort and quality”.

The Croc Sponsors 2018 B2B Marketing Awards

Here at The Crocodile – across every section of the agency – we have a culture that looks to surpass the expectations of our clients. We recognise and celebrate excellence on a daily and weekly basis, so it only seemed natural for us to sponsor the B2B Marketing Awards again in 2018, now our third year running.

The Awards are a great benchmark for how agencies and clients alike are performing, after all we’re in an incredibly competitive industry. We were lucky enough to pick up a bit of silverware last year with Standard Life in the hard-fought Best Lead Generation and Nurture category, and like so many we also go into this year’s Awards with high expectations.

This year the theme is: Artists of Change – recognising the artists crafting the industry’s best work. We like a good theme here at The Croc and last year we had great fun with the ‘Beast’:

Watch this space to see what we come up with this year. Now, which words can you put before Artist…..?

The shortlist nominations are out this Friday, so save some finger nails. I would like to wish everyone that has entered the very best of luck… including ourselves!

By Jason Talbot

Engaging with SMEs across the UK

Nectar Business and its coalition partners wanted to raise its emotional connection within the SME community. A high profile nationwide campaign was required to make SMEs feel like Nectar is on their side, acting as a secret weapon that will reward their business expenditure.

The ‘Festival of Points’ campaign strategy was able to drive top level awareness, raising the profile of Nectar Business and the partner brands, and then go beyond this by creating rewarding customer experiences with high levels of engagement across channels, including:

– Newspaper print adverts
– Paid and organic social
– Emails
– Campaign landing page
– PPC and display banners

At the heart of the campaign was an interactive points competition, boosting engagement. The competition creative used a combination of quirky imagery and animation to represent each partner brand, delivering high levels of fun, engagement and personalised rewards.

The winning mix of campaign strategy, great content execution, targeted media and cross-channel orchestration resulted in better results than ever before:

• Over 45K leads from campaign landing page
• 12.7K competition entries from social media
• Huge spikes in positive brand sentiment