Traditionally, marketing and care have lived in their own corners. However, as technology offers increasing opportunity for customers and businesses to connect, these functions that live in separate corners must merge for brands to be successful.
The time has come to get serious about breaking down the silos between marketing and care.
How can you do this?
We sat down with Lithium’s resident expert in social, VP of Social Strategy Dave Evans (@DaveEv , Twitter: @evansdave) to find out.
Q: Hi Dave, we have seen the worlds of marketing and care increasingly crossing over. Why are companies beginning to merge these two functions now?
A: First, it’s important to note that we don’t mean that marketing and care are the same thing. Instead it’s that the number of touchpoints that exist in customer care, the number of experiences that mean something to a customer and that they’re likely to talk about, these are increasingly impacting marketing efforts.
When you look at the marketing purchase funnel, and especially when you get to the consideration phase, you’ll find a whole lot of customer interactions, comments, ratings, and reviews: these absolutely impact the purchase funnel. Given the impact of social media. customer care has a disproportionate impact on the purchasing funnel. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in merging these two operations?
A: The biggest challenge – and I see this across organizations – is simply two different teams working with each other. It’s the problem of working across silos and finding a common language. So many mid-level leaders are speaking in terms of their local KPIs that it can be hard to communicate across departments and work toward mutual goals. When leadership talks about sales, customer satisfaction, expense reduction, and margin improvement, along with the things that drive brand awareness and share price if they’re publicly traded – when leadership focuses on these company-wide goals, there is a much better opportunity for cross-departmental dialogue.
Q: What makes a brand successful in breaking down this barrier and why?
A: I’ve seen some brands do really well in pilot studies then struggle when they actually roll their programs out more generally. And the reason they struggle when they roll it out is that they’re suddenly reaching out to subject experts across a lot of different areas: when customer care reaches out to subject experts in engineering or product, for example, the management in those organizations can have some pushback about using their resources for care. It’s important to adjust these organizational dynamics to adopt collaborative and social behavior. It’s not technology that’s the issue, it’s not the tools – it’s the question of how an organization adapts to this more collaborative mindset.
Q: Human interactions can be difficult to quantify, but good marketing is driven by data. What kind of data should brands collect in order to understand the impact of merging marketing and care?
A: Sales, customer satisfaction, and expense load are some of the top priorities. Look at top line sales, expenses, customer satisfaction, cost per resolution – and put the conservation about data and investment in technology in terms of business ROI.
Q: As marketing and customer support team up, what steps should leadership take to make this a smooth transition?
A: Savvy CMOs are paying more attention to customer care. And customer care is realizing more and more that its conduct affects top line sales. C-level executives are responsible for encouraging a culture of collaboration to meet company-wide goals. While most C-Suite teams work together effectively, as you drop deeper into the organization you may encounter more and more specialization where leaders are concerned about their own goals, not necessarily those across departments. So the real focus in bringing together marketing and care actually needs to be with these mid-level leaders: they have to buy in to collaboration with managers outside of their own department.
Q: Considering engagement and publishing platforms, how important it is for operations and marketing to align their tools?
A: Alignment, and more importantly integration, is critical. What really matters is that the tools used are tightly integrated. If you have the opportunity to use a publishing suite that is tightly linked to a customer care suite, you’re at a big advantage.
For example, it’s beneficial to have your publishing tools directly tap peer-generated solutions. This helps spot highly engaging content that you can turn into highly engaging campaigns. Looked at this way, the value of technology alignment is a clear factor in building a strong linkage between marketing and care.
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Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, so we’d like to take a moment and say that we are thankful for this community and for all of you who continue to make it thrive. As we look back at our discussions and solutions in October, let’s give special thanks to our top contributors!
Congratulations to our top contributors in October: @Fellsteruk, @Claudius, and @JasonHill. Stephen started a lively conversation in the Community Strategy board. Meanwhile, Claudius gave us a helpful update in the Customer Connection board. And finally, thanks to Jason for providing this solution in the Support Forum.
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