While we may not have adequate measurement, one of the lasting repercussions of shutdowns, closings, quarantines, and widespread work-from-homes due to the pandemic will be to propel a shift toward a B2C-type experience within B2B impacting how customers expect to be understood and communicated with. It will also compel chief marketing officers (CMO) and marketing operations leaders to re-examine the value proposition offered to their customers and demonstrate how agile they can be in responding to deep, widespread changes in their selling environments.
CMOs: success requires reinvention
A recent Forrester report examining the concerns of European business and technology leaders underscores the need for CMOs to increase their focus on customers—ensuring that the customer experience is always at the core of leadership, strategy, and operations. Reinvention of marketing leaders’ roles, their teams, and marketing functions will be the theme for successful CMOs in 2021.
The pandemic conditions that disrupted normal marketing and sales created disjointed customer experiences that translated into lost customers and decreased revenue. The challenge ahead is to utilize and optimize new ways to discover, nurture, and gain long-term loyalty from customers.
Forrester states that CMOs will re-emphasize customer loyalty and the programs that strengthen it. The study also predicts that the spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30 percent in 2021.
30 percent increase in loyalty and retention marketing spending in 2021—Forrester Predictions 2021
Move confidently in an unsettled environment
The competitive advantage will go to marketing organizations that can quickly address the new realities and implement solutions that succeed both now and throughout the settling process that will occur in this unsettled environment. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, in concert with other Microsoft Dynamics 365 products and Microsoft Teams, offers powerful but easy-to-use technology to achieve:
- Greater personalization
- Optimized virtual events
Both capabilities are improving the ability of the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) agency to help New Zealand businesses compete around the globe.
An island nation extends its business reach
NZTE is a government agency with a mission to spur trade and help grow the island nation’s economy. The agency works across 50 countries and currently works with more than 6,000 businesses across all industries, ranging from food producers, tech startups, service providers, and manufacturers.
“By using the Dynamics 365 Marketing event management feature, we created a better customer experience and personalized the interactions, resulting in a 400 percent increase in engagement.”—Jonathan Southee, Director Digital Delivery, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Deeper understanding for greater personalization
Data is the key to a deeper understanding. NZTE is using Dynamics 365 Marketing for email communications, campaigns, and a host of other marketing activities. The agency takes advantage of the Dynamics 365 common platform to make sure its data is fully utilized across Dynamics 365 Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service applications. This data is the foundation for the design of orchestrated customer journeys in Dynamics 365 Marketing that help guide the customer and continually strengthen business relationships.
Dynamics 365 Marketing also extends the usefulness of customer data through integrated analytics. An organization such as NTZE can set the business goals for journeys and measure the progress toward those goals. Built-in analytics dashboards provide cross-journey insights and companies provide the ability to monitor customer journeys and channel KPIs in real time. To help organizations respond to changing circumstances during a campaign, Dynamics 365 Marketing provides customizable out- of-the-box templates to target segments and content to get the word out quickly.
In a period when many analysts, including Deloitte, raise concerns about uncertainties in CMO budgets, Dynamics 365 has also helped NZTE reduce operational costs. By consolidating its marketing, sales, event management, and other tools, NZTE has fewer systems to license and maintain. In fact, it allowed the agency to reduce the number of systems it supports to only one, reducing its overall licensing bill by NZD50,000.
Greater results from events
NTZE, including its regional teams, holds more than 300 events a year. In order to optimize how it runs events and utilize the data involved, it began using the Dynamics 365 Marketing event management capabilities. They created a customer-facing, web-based portal that synchs with its Dynamics 365 apps. Through myNZTE, customers can learn about and choose events they want to attend, register online, and access a wide variety of content. Jonathan Southlee, Director Digital Delivery for NTZE, observes that, “Our customers highly value our events, and it’s critical that we provide them with the best experience possible because events can lead directly to trade deals.”
CMOs: focus on customer loyalty
Building and strengthening customer relationships is imperative to a marketing organization’s success, especially in an environment where the customer base is dispersed and often distracted. Gartner reports that loyalty will be a key factor: 79 percent of CMOs surveyed will look to existing customers to fuel growth in a post-Covid-19 environment. Deeper customer understanding, customer journeys that reflect that understanding, and bringing people together without person-to-person interactions are essential to achieving that goal.