Customer experience  management has emerged as one of the biggest trends for 2018, as businesses realize their path to profitability must include a savvy customer experience strategy. One book that neatly summarizes this realization is Connect: How to Use Data and Experience Marketing to Create Lifestyle Customers by Lars Birkholm Peterson, Ron Person and Christopher Nash. All three authors are Sitecore executives. Sitecore is a customer experience management company that offers web content management and marketing automation software.
I discovered the book a few years ago while presenting at the DXSummit, a Chicago marketing event hosted by CMSWire. While I did not get a chance to talk to the authors directly, I did read the book to gain vital insights into what the authors feel is important for creating great customer experiences.
What Is Connect About?
The chapters in Connect explore how customer experience can be best managed, with each chapter mapped to the customer experience maturity model, a process of managing people processes and technology to better serve the customer and better strengthen the business plan.
The customer experience maturity model offers an actionable means for managers to plan their content against the growing behavioral trend of micro-moments — the concept of customers viewing content tailored to the instances when a consumer has a need or questions.
The book’s focus on the model helps businesses that have been around the block a while learn to transition their material to more strategic activity that leverages product lifecycle and customer usage of product. The authors offer this view:
“As your organization evolves to higher levels in the maturity model, the strategic value of marketing increases … If you want anything to last a lifetime, you have to care for it!”
What I Liked About Connect
Two ideas stood out to me about Connect. First, I liked that the ideas of the book dovetail into the micro-moment trend. A mobile-centric consumer behavioral trend first advocated by Google has brands connect with customers at opportunities when a consumer seeks answers to a question or has a need. Using the consumer experience model will essentially encourage the reader to look at the micro-moments of their customers to provide better marketing.
Second, I liked that the authors highlighted the most reoccurring bottlenecks to advanced marketing. Business owners repeated encounter messages stating the importance of marketing all the time, but reading about how to implement a concept is something else. Through business examples from several industries, Peterson, Person, and Nash explain what has to happen to implement.
For example, chapter 4 offers a checklist on what barriers exist for marketing maturity. The framework in the chapter is a good complement for organizing analytics and marketing campaigns to complement customer micro-moment tasks.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
Much of the book is geared for enterprise structure, in part because the authors are from Sitecore, an enterprise level company, and partly because the aforementioned business cases explore enterprise-level complexity. Thus many of the suggestions can seem too elaborate for small businesses in some cases.
Why Read Connect?
Business owners seeking enterprise-level expansion might want to consider Connect anyway as an explanation of what lies ahead in terms of the maturity of a customer experience strategy and the tools used in that strategy.
Good business owners recognize not every customer segment stays exactly the same forever. Connect offers the right roadmap to connect organizations to the right scale in offerings and operations.