Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Author: Mary Laplante (Page 1 of 21)

Avoiding the Dangers of the Unmanaged Customer Experience

Put your consumer hat on for a moment. Think about the last time you booked travel, bought a holiday gift, ordered flowers, or applied for a new credit card. Online or offline – doesn’t matter. What’s notable about that experience? What do you remember about it? Something? Nothing?

In the midst of the market cacophony about customer experience, three facts define the fundamentals, once stripped of  hype:

  1. Every brand delivers an experience to customers and prospects, consciously or unconsciously. At Digital Clarity Group (DCG), we define experience as “the totality of interactions through all channels and touch points over the entire life of the relationship.” Experience happens by default. As consumers, we always remember the bad. We might remember the good. We mostly forget the vast majority of experience that’s just mediocre. Which is not great if you’re a brand spending lots of money to leave a good impression.
  2. Consciously managing the experience is the only way that a brand can bias the experience for the right business outcome. Consistently good experiences are not accidental. Only when experience is deliberately managed does it become repeatable, predictable, measurable, and capable of being improved and optimized.
  3. The business practice of holistically managing the customer experience across channels is new, and therefore hard and mysterious. One of the many reasons it’s hard is that you cannot just throw technology at it and get results. Today there is no such thing as an out-of-the-box solution for experience management. It’s mysterious because successful paths (by way of repeatable best practices) are still being cut by the pioneers.

If customer experience management (CEM) is hard, it is also not an option. As my DCG colleague Tim Walters notes, “…the mobile and social empowerment of consumers makes CEM an inescapable, compulsory, and essential initiative for virtually every company’s survival.”

Who’s caught between the proverbial rock and hard place? Chief marketing officers, digital marketers, customer experience champions, LOB owners, newly-minted data scientists, marketing technologies, IT – yep, everyone who feels the pressure that customers are putting on them for higher-quality, more meaningful engagement. They want to move forward, know they need to move forward. But they are frequently overwhelmed by identifying the right starting point for CEM.

In DCG’s work with our enterprise clients, we see another obstacle that presents an even bigger risk. It’s not just that getting started can be overwhelming – it’s also that too many companies are responding to contemporary CEM challenges with legacy practices, processes, and technologies that are misaligned with the new world order imposed by empowered consumers. Doing more of the same, just bigger, faster, better, is a sure path to obsolescence. It’s time for fundamental change.

When we engage in a selection or roadmap development project with an enterprise client, we are typically supporting the manager or team who needs to enable that change in collective thinking about experience management. We often start by helping them write the script for the conversations with stakeholders. A number of the issues addressed in those scripts are distilled in our paper entitled The CEM Imperative: Customer Experience in the Age of the Empowered Consumer. What’s at risk if you don’t take action now? What’s the business case for investing in capabilities and competencies for experience management? If no single CEM solution exists today, how will you build and deploy a platform and toolset for experience management? The CEM Imperative provides insights that can help you start to formulate answers to these and related questions. You can also use it as a call-to-action for senior managers and executives who are hesitating. As DCG author Tim Walters writes:

“CEM is not vendor hype, because it is a response to the desires and expectations of today’s extremely demanding and fickle consumers. CEM is not a back-burner consideration because, as … innumerable studies prove, engaging consumers with superior experiences is a matter of life or death for any firm that cares about having customers.”

Presumably your organization cares about having customers. If that’s the case, then addressing the risk of unmanaged – or mismanaged – experience must be a top strategic goal moving forward.

Download your copy
The CEM Imperative: Customer Experience in the Age of the Empowered Consumer

 

Up-to-Speed Reading for Gilbane Boston: Recent Publications

Looking to make the most of your experience at Gilbane Boston 2011? Want to be current on the latest content trends and technologies? Download our recent papers, some of which you may have missed.

Smart Approaches to Managing Mobile Learning Content. Just published! Why a content strategy rather than a project mentality is the only way to take full advantage of the business performance benefits and productivity gains that are possible with mobile learning. Listen to the webinar.

Magazines at a Digital Crossroads: eCommerce and New Models for the Future. Makes the case for a growing need for contemporary eCommerce platforms to support publishers as they experiment, win, iterate, and drive their businesses into the future. Listen to the webinar.

Content, Audience, and Targeted Messaging: The Virtuous Circle of Customer Engagement. Presenting marketing messages and advertisements that are relevant at the right moment to create the tipping point from engagement to conversion.

A Fresh Look at Web Content Management: Mastering the Core Capabilities of Contemporary Platforms. The core aspects of today’s WCM systems for anyone evaluating, or reevaluating, the WCM needs of their organizations. Listen to the webinar.

Addressing Digital Product Development Risks: Best Practics for Creating Strategic Outsourcing Relationships. Digital products fail for all kinds of reasons. Poor development does not have to be one of them.

Understanding Best Practices for Profiling, Personalizing, and Targeting Next-Generation Engagment. Develop a new appreciation for the power and value of contemporary personalization, and gain an understanding of how to realize its benefits within your organization.

Global Digital Engagement: Leveragng Opportunities to Increase Impact and Reduce Complexity. How to remove the mystery and anxiety of delivering high-value interactions that lead to engagement by improving the dynamics of each.

Road Trip: Localization World Barcelona

Just back from the latest Localization World in beautiful Barcelona. Here are some quick highlights from the conference before they recede in the crush of day-to-day work.

The event continues to grow beyond its core audience of localization and translation professionals, attracting business and marketing managers from companies like Expedia, Fedex, and SAP. Of the practitioners attending our panel on global marketing communications, about half self-identified as marketing, the other half as localization managers supporting marketing. Hats off to conference organizers Ulrich Hennes and Donna Parrish for nurturing a program and venue that enables critical cross-functional interaction.

Speaking of our panel, we moderated a session entitled Global Marketing Communications: Bringing Order to Chaos. The core premise of the panel drew on the results of our 2011 study on multilingual marketing content, which revealed that the global content value chain for marketing content is very much in the formative phase. How are leading global companies making progress towards bringing stability and maturity to their globalization practices for marketing content? Speakers included Meritxell Guitart from Hogarth Worldwide, Sophie Hurst from SDL (speaking in her role as director of global corporate communications, not as SDL), and Amanda Lordan from Philips, who used a video to demonstrate Philips’ practice instead of just talking about it. Thanks to Meritxell, Sophie, and Amanda for sharing their experiences.

There was — finally! — a broader recognition of the position we have long taken regarding localization as a key element of an integrated content value chain, not as a standalone function that happens in a back office or black box. We were happy to see a session on CMS/TMS integration presented by Intel, for example, and references to eliminating language afterthought syndrome throughout the conference. The notion that a localization strategy is essential to mainstream business success was a consistent and prominent theme throughout the conference. Music to our ears, of course.

We left the conference with insights into what’s emerging as the new primary driver for investments in content globalization strategies, practices, and infrastructure. In 2011, it’s all about velocity — enabling the organization to operate effectively in an age of rapid change. While there is still much talk about audience engagement and customer experience, the tremendous pressure to deal with velocity was clearly top-of-mind for all attendees. This topic will be featured prominently in our analyst coverage in the weeks to come.

All in all, a great opportunity to spend a few thought-provoking days looking at the current state of content globalization and gleaning insights into what’s next, with the backdrop of a drop-dead gorgeous city as an added bonus.

Read more: https://gilbane.com/category/globalization-localization/

Just Published: Outsell Gilbane Study on Multilingual Marketing Content

Our 2011 report describing the current state of practice for globalizing multilingual marketing content is available now through March 31 exclusively through study sponsors  Across Systems, ADAM Software, Lionbridge, and SDL.

Multilingual Marketing Content: Growing International Business With Global Content Value Chains features a major update of the global content value chain, Gilbane’s framework for helping companies plan and manage their globalization practices. The new value chain adds core competencies to the existing functional view of multilingual content processes, and it clearly ties the value chain to business outcomes.

Study data includes top business goals and objectives and the investments that marketing and localization managers are making in programs and initiatives that support those goals. The analysis covers what marketing organizations can learn from product content groups, who are generally further along the content globalization maturity curve.

The report will be available directly from the Gilbane website starting April 1. In the meantime, please visit a sponsor site to access the study, and check this blog for research highlights and insights.

Insight from the Real World: Buying a WCM Solution for Multilingual Web Presence

Our readers are familiar with language afterthought syndrome, a term we coined in our report on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value Chains.

Language afterhought syndrome refers to that pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within content strategies and solutions. Global companes leak money and opportunity by failing to address language issues as integral to end-to-end solutions rather than ancillary post-processes. Examples abound. Source and translated content that should be reusable, but isn’t. Retrofitting content to meet regulatory requirments in different regions. Lost revenue because product and marketing content isn’t ready at launch time. Desktop publishing costs that are incurred soley due to reformatting in multiple languages. The list goes on and on.

One of the most effective defenses against language afterthought syndrome is baking language requirements into the technology acquisition process, thereby embedding support into the infrastructure as it’s designed, developed, and built out. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) recognized this opportunity when it embarked on an ambitious transformation of its web content globalization practices. Debra Lewis, web content manager at OCLC, and our friend Andrew Lawless, principal at Dig-IT Consulting, shared their experiences in a terrific session at Gilbane Boson 2010 entitled “Next Thing You Know — You’re Global!”

The presentation delivered by Deb and Andrew is available on the Gilbane conference website (follow the link and click on slides for session E3) . Highlights include Deb’s characterization of the signs of stress. On the production side:

  • Spend more time finding “creative solutions” than creating new content or managing site strategy
  • Use features of your CMS in ways not originally intended
  • Can’t upgrade to new releases without corrupting your pages

On the business side:

  • Localization addressed at the point of publication
  • Turnaround for day-to-day edits increases—affects relationships with internal clients
  • Distributed authors “give up” and relinquish editing rights
  • Team stress increases

These stress points led OCLC to commit resources to evolving its global web content strategy.  Deb and Andrew then walked our audience through OCLC’s three-phased transformation:

  1. Get a translation service provider
  2. Get a new CMS that would scale
  3. Get a translation management system

The portion of the presentation on selecting a web CMS with well-defined multilingual requirements will be especially valuable to any organization wanting to eliminate the negative impacts of language afterthought syndrome. Deb and Andrew described OCLC’s selection process and timeline, CMS selection criteria, prioritized globalization features, key standards that would need to be supported, text and language requirements, and requirements for integration with translation workflows.

Many global companies are now rearchitecting their web strategies for global presence and audience engagement. We see this as a major technology and investment trend for 2011. The insight offered by OCLC couldn’t be more timely.The organization’s experience offers a treasure trove of guidance for companies who are evaluating new web content management systems with language requirements among their priorities.

Thanks to Deb and Andrew for a great contribution to Gilbane Boston.

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