Customer experience (CX) has become a pivotal focus for organizations looking to gain a competitive advantage and long-term customer loyalty. But what exactly is CX, and how does one go about connecting CX and marketing for an optimal customer experience?
On a recent episode of the Growing Social Now podcast, host Barbara Rozgonyi interviewed CX expert Shelly Chandler to provide clarity on customer experience strategies and trends. They explored how CX and marketing overlap, how to align CX with business goals, key innovations shaping CX, and more.
Defining CX Customer Experience
To start, Shelly emphasized that many misunderstand what customer experience entails. At its core, CX focuses on the customer’s perception of a brand throughout their entire journey. This requires understanding customer needs, emotions, and expectations at every touchpoint from initial awareness to advocacy and loyalty.
CX draws on various disciplines:
- Marketing research and customer insights to understand pain points and desires
- Data analytics to analyze both what customers say and what they do
- Product design and management to build offerings that fulfill wants
- Account management and customer service to optimize ongoing experiences
A true CX strategy weaves together these areas to positively shape how customers view and engage with a brand over time.
Connecting CX and Marketing Strategies
Far from operating in silos, marketing, and CX should work hand-in-hand. Each serves an important but distinct role:
- Marketing drives awareness, generates interest, and acquires new customers.
- CX aims to improve satisfaction, loyalty, and relationships with existing customers.
To succeed, marketing should feed CX teams data-driven insights on consumer demographics, motivations, and preferences. In turn, CX provides marketing with feedback to improve messaging and engagement.
Leading organizations align strategies, technologies, and teams across these functions to build customer-centric cultures focused on lifetime value. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Disney, and Southwest Airlines exemplify this integrated approach.
For example, Amazon heavily leverages customer data and feedback to constantly refine its user experiences and marketing. This obsession with understanding and fulfilling customer needs has fueled Amazon’s growth.
Strategic CX Customer Experience Insights for Marketers
When developing a CX strategy, Shelly advised starting by identifying quick wins that link to business KPIs. Look for pain points to smooth out and opportunities to add self-service interactions that reduce costs.
She also stressed the need to invest in digital CX, as customers increasingly expect robust online experiences. Omnichannel personalization and seamless brand consistency matter more than ever.
Additionally, Shelly urged marketers to tap into customer insights and emotions when shaping messaging and experiences. Take a sentiment-driven approach that caters to customers’ mindsets at each touchpoint.
Above all, marketers should collaborate with CX teams on building and promoting on-brand customer experiences. Facilitate sharing of data and insights across groups to enable this alignment.
The Future of CX Customer Experience Trends
Looking ahead, 10 key trends that will define CX in 2024 and beyond:
- Generative AI will enable more dynamic and personalized CX, from marketing campaigns to customer service.
- Subscriptions and pricing will become smarter and more tailored to individuals.
- CX quality will increasingly justify premium pricing.
- Omnichannel strategies will evolve via tech like AI and VR/AR.
- Synthetic customer modeling will simulate behavior to anticipate pain points.
- Sustainability initiatives will integrate into the customer journey.
- Security and transparency will gain emphasis to maintain trust.
- Chatbots will provide faster, more accurate customer support.
- Immersive and experiential CX will capture customer attention.
- Sentiment analysis will allow brands to detect and respond to customers’ emotions.
As CX rapidly matures, its functions may consolidate under marketing or product divisions. But CX investments and priorities will restart as companies recognize profits depend on competitive customer experiences.
CX Customer Experience Strategy Key Takeaways for Smart Marketers
- Recognize that CX and marketing are closely intertwined. Embrace strategies to align them.
- Use CX insights to engage customers on an emotional level.
- Map the entire customer journey to identify pain points and improvement areas.
- Communicate CX improvements externally via marketing.
- Prepare now for emerging CX trends like generative AI and AR/VR.
- Invest in CX skills and certificates like those offered by CXPA and Qualtrics XM Institute.
With a bold CX vision and relentless customer focus, marketing and business leaders can form bonds that turn customers into advocates. By fixing pain points, optimizing journeys, and innovating experiences, companies can gain an unbeatable competitive advantage.
Meet Shelly Chandler
Shelly Chandler is a senior customer experience strategist and leader who delivers proven results that increase revenue, reduce costs, and solidify customer loyalty. In a specialized profession that spans all functions, her career as a customer catalyst has helped companies to drive action within organizations that are ready for customer growth.
Shelly especially enjoys transforming blue-sky visions into tangible, executable programs, creating strategic change with others to enhance customer experience. Shelly has worked in many different industries, adding strategic value and a broad understanding of the CX profession over the past 25 years. Key verticals include B2B and B2C, Hospitality, Automotive, Transportation, Manufacturing SaaS, and Financial Services, with brands such as PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Moen, Penske, Walmart, Forsta, and American Tire.
CX Strategy, Insights Development and Metrics, Experience Design, and CX Training are Shelly’s areas of expertise, along with public speaking, coaching, and volunteering. Shelly and her family reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. Connect with Shelly Chandler on LinkedIn.
About the Growing Social Now Podcast Host: Barbara Rozgonyi, Communication Innovator
Barbara Rozgonyi, founder of CoryWest Media, is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, and podcaster. She specializes in PR, marketing, and digital communication, working with major brands to Fortune 50 companies. Known as one of the original social media thought leaders, Barbara began using platforms like LinkedIn for business in 2005. She launched her award-winning blog in 2006 and co-founded Social Media Club Chicago in 2008, working with the board to quickly make it an international top chapter.
Barbara is also an early pioneer in intranet platforms, helping develop one of the first for a Fortune 50 corporation in the 1990s. She saw early on how digital tools could transform workplace communication and teamwork. Now, through her podcast “Growing Social Now,” Barbara showcases today’s top minds who are shaping the future of communication and work. Reach out to Barbara when you need digital marketing PR consulting, a Fractional CMO, LinkedIn marketing strategy and sales training, or an inspirational educational keynote speaker for association conferences and industry events. Connect with Barbara Rozgonyi on LinkedIn