Your whole business is a website now

Today the game is about customers, content and data.

It’s hard to say when it happened, but sometime recently organizations started realizing they are no longer brands with websites, but instead their whole brand is a website.

Three powerful trends are converging to bring this about:

  1. The ongoing digitization of everything.
  2. The rise of new technology platforms that allow us to automate, personalize and deliver these digital assets with ever-greater flexibility and scale.
  3. The explosion of channels, devices and technologies that is taking us rapidly from “desktop and mobile” to the “internet of everything and everywhere.”

Today the game is about customers, content and data. Or more to the point, the level of agility with which you can deliver yours everywhere for maximum profit and impact.

“Always-on” customer, meet “On-demand” enterprise

Today’s consumer increasingly expects to move seamlessly across channels, devices and places to get what they need. For brands, this means instantly accessing their available data, predicting just the right experience, then assembling that experience and delivering it consistently via the user’s most convenient channel.

It’s a tall order. This new reality not only requires a substantial change in how today’s siloed organizations are structured and how they think, but a substantial investment in new technology as well.

Are we there yet?

Not quite. Recent research by Econsultancy and CACI found that while 90% of organizations surveyed indicated some level of commitment to an integrated customer experience, the majority of companies have only an embryonic customer experience strategy and only 20% have a well-developed strategy.

Not surprisingly, the report found that organizations are facing their biggest challenges around the integration of data, systems and processes.

While this doesn’t paint the healthiest picture of brands’ current capabilities, the report concludes that change is coming. More than three in five companies plan to increase their budget for data and insight, and over half also plan to increase their ‘systems and processes’ budget. CRM investment tops the wish list, with business and web analytics software, email platforms and content management systems following closely behind.

What success looks like

While most brands have a lot of work to do before they’re ready to compete in this on-demand world, we’ve found that those best positioned for success look like this:

  • They’ve defined what success looks like and have a plan to get there.
  • They have one person responsible for their end-to-end customer experiences, with a big-picture view of the customer journey and the authority to ensure that all functions and departments are working together.
  • They’ve consolidated all of their customer and business information into a centralized nerve center from where they drive the customer experience, messaging, pricing, recommendations and availability automatically and on the fly.
  • They have a modern content management system that can identify inbound requests and automatically scale, rearrange and otherwise dynamically alter experiences for different inbound screens, browsers, operating systems, devices and situations.
  • They routinely personalize interactions and communications based on customer preferences, demographic data, online and offline behavior, transaction history and context.
  • They actively seek out and invest in the technology solutions they will need to win tomorrow.

New leaders and models are emerging. Early groundbreakers like Amazon, Netflix and Google are nearly ubiquitous and always seem to know who we are, where we are and where we last left off. And there are exciting new players like car service Uber, which has achieved a level of connectedness, responsiveness and dare we say it – frictionlessness – that most people deemed impossible just a few months ago.

It’s all one big organism now

Multi-channel; real-time; responsive; personalized; automated. The demands keep getting greater, and it all adds up to the same imperative: A total, nearly supernatural command of your customers, content and data. The race is on.