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Ready NorthNovember 23, 20203 min read

Solve for the Customer: Digital Strategy, Technology, Story

This year, the world changed. 

And while growth slowed for many companies, the need for incredible digital experiences has accelerated. It’s a trend we don’t see scaling back anytime soon. In fact, as more businesses solve for the digital customer, we see the bar set higher when it comes to delivering an intuitive, personal experience.

So, how do you think about digital growth? And what’s your roadmap for putting a great digital experience into action.

Put the customer at the center. 

Here’s how we’re thinking about putting the customer at the center of digital strategy, technology, and story — now and in the future.

1. Strategy: Fuel the flywheel.

Think beyond your traditional funnel to fuel the flywheel. 

A true flywheel strategy requires a comprehensive look at the customer experience—across marketing, sales, service, and even business model components, like operations and the front office.

The flywheel connects marketing, sales, and service so each feeds the other, enabling brands to actually build momentum and deliver on an aligned, remarkable customer experience.

Image source: HubSpot

You can read more in our recap of HubSpot’s move from funnel to flywheel here. And you can read more on the HubSpot flywheel and methodology here.

Review strategic priorities across the organization’s 3-5 year plan. From there, review how specific department goals align. Is the customer experience at the heart of each? 

When the customer is at the center of go-to-market strategy, decision makers are aligned, key growth initiatives are identified, and priority metrics are tracked across the organization.

2. Technology: Optimize your tech stack. 

If customer experience is the heart of your strategy, then make it the heart of your operations too. 

Our first component, strategy, naturally leads into the second: operationalizing it — via the tech stack. Systems excellence is how you turn your customer-centered vision a reality. 

There’s a plethora of technologies available. And companies that rush to digital without a tech stack plan risk disparate systems, data silos, and most importantly, a clunky customer experience.

First ask: What’s the source of truth for your customer data? For many, it’s the CRM or CDP. 

From there, ask: How are all our other marketing, sales, service, ERP and front-office systems connected to this source of truth? 

One of my favorite slides from this year’s INBOUND conference came from HubSpot’s Chief Customer Officer, Yamini Rangan.

Aligned Strategy + Systems = Systems Excellence

In her session on resilient growth, Rangan spoke about HubSpot’s 3-year IT strategy. It was one that supports its 3-year go-to-market strategy. For most companies, this is a multi-year journey. It is/was for HubSpot to truly align around the customer on its own platform. 

>> Note, PR 20/20 has experience when it comes to platform consult. Ask us about a starter template to audit current tech, budget, and data flow — and look for ways to optimize your stack now and in the future. 

3. Story: Your customers are your heroes.

Use your marketing content, social, digital products, and engagements to help customers along this journey.  

As Ann Handley reminds us time and time again, your customer is the hero of your story (and theirs!).

As you head into the new year, audit your content from your customer’s perspective. What’s most popular, most helpful, most timely for today’s specific challenges? 

Then create your content calendar with your customer at the heart of it. 

  • What’s your customer’s story? What are they going through, what are they hoping to achieve, and what stories are you telling to relate? 
  • What challenges, opportunities, and trends matter most to your customers at this moment? 
  • What tools do you have to help them solve for challenges, opportunities, and trends? 
  • How do your products and services solve for your customers, and does your storytelling effort connect the dots?

Consider video, social, and articles, but also consider your digital products and communities in your storytelling scheme. 

  • What calculators, guides, templates, and tools truly help your customers? 
  • Can you turn any content into a course or certification so they can leverage it in their careers? 
  • How are your communities supporting customers with collaboration, advice, user-generated content that brings the voice of your customer heroes to life? 
  • How are you making your hero’s stories the center of your storytelling initiatives?  

When faced with hardships and uncertainty, our businesses have met the challenge with creative innovation, empathy, and resilience. 

As digital takes center stage, we’re energized by the opportunities for brands to design a helpful, intelligent, and personal experience.

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