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Akhil Mittal Author's Perspective
3 Minute read

How superior CX can help marketers of mid-market brands to race ahead

Mid-market marketers’ lives are full of limitations, including tight budgets, thin teams, and a perennial shortage of time. Customer experience (CX) is one of the few areas in which they can win the battle against much larger enterprises. A 2018 Deloitte study states that almost 24% of mid-market companies expect their IT budget to increase by 5-10%. Furthermore, digital transformation figured among mid-market companies’ top five IT priorities in 2018.

Building a robust foundation for CX initiatives is a high-stakes option for a mid-market marketer: a bad decision in setting up the customer experience platform (CXP) could sink the entire business.

Choosing the right CXP can be overwhelming, given the hundreds available to choose from.

Here are some key guiding principles to help you choose wisely:

1. Say NO to temporary fixes:

For mid-market organizations, rapid growth can become the biggest source of problems, as it can lead to hasty decisions and temporary fixes. In selecting a CXP, don’t compromise on scalability, security, and ease of integration: compromising on these will likely lead to costly, even irreparable damage later on.

2. All-in-one vs. some-from-all:

Most CXPs fall into one of two categories. A suite of integrated products- These CXPs consist of multiple products or modules for the content management system (CMS), analytics, marketing automation, testing, etc. The advantage of these CXPs is the seamless integration of these products/modules, and thus the ease of achieving a single view of the customer.

A potential disadvantage is that the performance of the products/modules within the suite can be uneven. For example, consider a situation in which the CMS functionality is great, but the marketing automation capabilities are lackluster.

Standalone products- These are products that you purchase one by one to serve a specific purpose. Such implementations need strong architectural supervision, or they are bound to fail. One of the most common issues in implementing standalone products is the creation of siloed customer information.

For example, if the information from the CMS regarding an e-book download or an article read is not shared with the marketing automation platform, the marketer can end up sending totally irrelevant mailings to the client. Such mistakes can lead to unsubscribes and brand degradation.

Ebook
Decision Points on the Path to Unified Customer Engagement

3. Feature list comparisons should be used for elimination, NOT selection:

This is probably the most common step executed by every marketer in selecting a CXP. For the mid-market marketer, comparison of feature lists can help in eliminating irrelevant choices, but it should never be used for making a selection. Most of the time, such feature list comparisons are incomplete and skewed by a specific bias.

Moreover, preparing customized feature comparison charts can be a time-consuming, tedious exercise. At best, such charts can provide a direction, but they should never be used to finalize the decision.

4. Budget in the middle, rather than at the top of your matrix:

: Being hounded by budget limitations, mid-market marketers tend to put budget considerations as the top priority for making any selection. This can be a mistake in choosing a CXP. The total cost of ownership (TCO) calculation over the required period-say, 2-3 years is tough at the outset, and thus often times only the upfront cost is considered. This can lead to the elimination of many good options in the first phase of evaluation.

Budget is undoubtedly an important consideration, but should not be the number one parameter. The marketer needs to evaluate critical business requirements first, and then do a TCO check. A common tendency is to start with open-source technologies due to cost pressures and familiarity advantages.

The philosophy behind such decisions is to experiment for a period of time, and then switch over after things stabilize. But the opportunities lost and the time wasted amount to much more than the short-term cost benefits achieved. The good news is that, with the help of cloud subscription models, a few enterprise-class CXPs like Sitecore are now providing aggressively-priced packages especially suited for the mid-market.

This could provide mid-market marketers the cutting-edge platform they need to compete with larger businesses. The mid-market marketer’s job is getting a lot more complex. By focusing on CX and investing in the right marketing technology, these marketers can be just as effective-if not more so, than marketers in the enterprise world.

For more information, view the previously recorded webinar - Competing with giants: Marketing nuke for mid-market companies presented jointly by Sitecore and Altudo. During the webinar, you’ll learn how a small regional bank increased sales by 60%, enticed 138,000 visitors to complete a vital business intelligence survey, and attracted more social likes than their largest national and international competitors.

All this was achieved in just two weeks - with just one savvy digital marketer and the right customer experience platform.

Akhil Mittal VP, Digital Solutions - Altudo


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