Harnessing the Macro Customer Experience to Drive Growth

One of the key ingredients to achieving growth goals in demand marketing has always been the customer experience. Putting the customer at the center of everything has been the cornerstone for successful growth strategies for decades, so nearly 10 years ago, a group of tech companies built a formulaic approach to growth that centered around the customer experience and called it “growth marketing”. That formulaic approach is still widely applied today, but organizations that offer a considered purchase with a long sales cycle are finding that traditional growth marketing isn’t working for them. Why? Because even growth marketing plans are largely tactical. They don’t embrace a Strategic Demand Marketing approach, and therefore can’t provide a holistic approach to sustainable growth, especially for large enterprises.

Traditional growth marketing focuses on the micro customer experience, because that’s usually enough to push a prospect through a low-risk transaction. But for a high growth company with considered purchases to succeed, it must understand that the customer experience can be grouped into two categories: micro experiences and macro experiences, and then connect those experiences together with a Strategic Demand Marketing approach.

Micro Experience

There are four stages to a micro customer experience: Trigger, Action, Reward, and Investment.

  1. Trigger: Sarah is tasked by her CEO to fill the sales pipeline
  2. Action: Sarah searches “how to generate sales leads” and finds an eBook to download
  3. Reward: Education and direction on where to start
  4. Investment: Sharing some personal information on a form

In this scenario, a typical example of a micro growth tactic would be to optimize the landing page that Sarah finds – reduce friction, expose her to the content, and get her wanting more. While changing page colors, pictures, copy, and form fields are all very important pieces to optimize, they’re all tactical tasks that aren’t sustainable or scalable, nor are they necessarily improving Sarah’s experience. What’s overlooked when a company focuses too much on the micro experience is the orchestration of all the touchpoints that come before and after any interaction. These touchpoints add up and create a relationship with the company, which then turns into a sale. This is the macro experience.

Macro Experience

The macro experience looks at questions including:

  • Who are the decision-makers and influencers?
  • How is every interaction orchestrated with the individual forming a relationship with our company?
  • How can interactions between all parties be connected and orchestrated?
  • How should I invest funds across channels to achieve this level of orchestration?

By looking at the customer journey holistically and strategically orchestrating the macro experience, your demand marketing motions are able to reach every person who is considering a relationship with your company in the right place, and at the right time. This not only creates better interactions for your buyers, but it also improves ROI and drives larger organizational growth.

So how do you orchestrate the macro customer experience?

Step 1. Understand the complete picture

The most crucial step in creating a full customer experience is creating conversation tracks and a subsequent content model that maps the buyer journey for every stakeholder involved. These assets should be developed by conducting first-party research with your customers, prospects, and anyone else who impacts the buyer journey, and then that research should be validated by third-party sources.

The goal is to find the information that each critical person is seeking along every stage of their journey. Then, with data in hand, you can create content that is relevant for all prospects at all stages of the buying process. The final picture shows the macro customer experience, but each individual piece of content (and the channel in which it’s delivered) keeps the micro customer experience top of mind. Both have to be optimized in order to achieve growth.

To see a complete content model and how it supports a real customer journey, read Does Your Poor Customer Experience Explain Your Lack of Growth?

Step 2. Use the data you have

While you should start by mapping out the entire journey, every buyer’s activity along their journey isn’t always readily available. This usually is because data isn’t readily accessible across your organization or, more likely, it’s because you aren’t collecting the right data. Curious what we mean by the “right data”? Read this article to learn about the demand marketing KPIs you should be monitoring.

This scenario is unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You probably have some standard data set to work with, probably in your marketing automation tool. Once you look at that data (role, company, industry, location, lead/opportunity stage, etc.) you can start connecting dots.

We also recommend leveraging Google Analytics to track behavior flow and identify bottlenecks or problem spots.

But while demographic information is valuable, eventually, you’ll need more data to understand behaviors. When that happens, you’ll need to re-assess your tech stack, and we provide guidance on how to evaluate yours in the article “Is Your Martech Stack Orchestrating Engagement or Just Blasting Outbound Emails?

Step 3. Expand your insights

In order to arrive at a best-in-class customer experience, you’ll need to gain visibility into all the relevant touchpoints each stakeholder has in the customer journey. You’re trying to answer the question: who is engaging with my content, what content are they consuming, and where are they doing it?

To do this, you need to track online and offline channel interactions (what channels are my prospects using), content interactions (what content is being consumed), and person data (who is engaging?). You’ll need a method to capture, store, and manipulate this data. We recommend a multi-interaction tracking paradigm.

Once you’ve expanded your insights and start gathering behavioral data, you’ll realize that the typical customer experience isn’t linear. It’s dynamic. And so, you too, must be dynamic.

While the path is not easy to get to a mature customer experience that leads to larger organizational growth, it becomes more realistic when you can chart the path forward one-step-at a time.

  1. Understand the customer experience as a whole
  2. Make improvements using the data you have
  3. Chart the path and strive for broader access to people, content, process and technology across all the departments that involve the customer experience

Understanding what your customers need when they need it allows you to be in the right place, at the right time, all the time. Connecting your customer experience to growth goals is one of the first steps in becoming a strategic demand marketer. To see this process applied to a real customer journey read Does Your Poor Customer Experience Explain Your Lack of Growth? For additional reading we suggest the following articles:

How Marketing Can Support the Entire Customer Journey

Next Generation Growth Marketing: The Evolution Towards Strategic Demand

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