Customer experience should be the driving force behind every marketing technology decision, according to Jessica Kuipers, Marketing Manager at My Wealth Solutions, an Australian financial advisory firm where providing a personalized experience is paramount.
“For us, everything comes back to the customer experience,” says Jessica, reflecting on the company’s marketing strategy. She applies the same principle when it comes to adding or subtracting new tools from her marketing technology stack. She shares her approach to reviewing her current stack, and how to choose martech tools that will enhance the customer experience.
Reviewing your martech stack
When it comes to auditing your martech stack, Jessica suggests mapping out every stage of the customer journey and considering what tools you’re using at each stage of that journey. For example, what platform are you using for data capture? What are you using for your email marketing? The goal is to assess whether each tool is indispensable, how well it integrates with existing systems, and whether it contributes positively to the customer experience, both directly and indirectly.
“I feel really strongly that you shouldn’t add anything to your tech stack that doesn’t need to be there,” says Jessica. “Every tool you use needs to be absolutely essential. Think about how it will integrate with your existing systems, while still providing the best customer experience.”
“Each tool has the possibility of adding to a really powerful and effective tech ecosystem, or not. Many tools cross over between business operations and customer-facing, which affect each other more than we sometimes realise. Tools that aren’t directly customer-facing might impact how the team understands the customer’s needs or the speed they can respond to an enquiry – even indirectly, it’s still affecting the customer.”
It’s very easy to go down a “rabbit hole” when investigating new technology, Jessica admits, which is why she’s “very careful at tracking every tool we're testing”, to make sure any tools under consideration meet those fundamental criteria. “If you start with your core tool, like your CRM, it’s easier to make choices around what fits into that and what doesn’t,” Jessica says.
Maximize the tools you already have
Maximizing the tools you already have should also be considered as part of a martech review, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to invest in top-tier solutions for every stage of the customer journey.
Jessica recommends exploring the potential of the tools you’re already paying for, including reaching out to the software companies behind them to find out what new features and functionality are on their roadmap. “My advice would be to use the tools you have as thoroughly as you can, because sometimes we can only work with what fits into the budget or what’s available to us,” says Jessica. “With the number of free tools out there, you can often fill in the gaps until you’re ready for a better solution.”
“One of the key things we're looking at is how can we use the tools we already have to fulfill our needs?” says Jessica. “Sometimes that means going to the company and saying, ‘this tool that you have is great, but is there any development in the pipeline to make this better? or to give us the ability to do something else?’ Often what we need will already be in the pipeline, and then you can use your existing tool rather than paying for another one.”
Mastering digital tools for omnichannel experiences
When you are looking at adding a new tool into your stack, you must make sure it integrates seamlessly with your existing technology, or risk compromising your customer experience.
“Making the whole customer experience seamless is huge for your clients to enjoy working with you or engaging with your team, which is why having streamlined systems is so important,” says Jessica. “Designing those journeys takes a lot of skill, and you have to step into the customer’s shoes from time to time so you notice when you come across friction points that jolt you out of the experience!”
As customers' demands evolve, marketers must prioritize mastering digital tools and designing their booking or shopping experience to be customer-focused to stay competitive in the market, says Jessica.
“Customers often expect more from all businesses because they’ve had good experiences with some quite advanced organisations. Marketers shouldn’t be dismayed by this – you can still create that personalised or smooth experience without a huge budget. But I think we're going to see more and more of a divide between businesses that are mastering their tech stack and customer experience, and businesses that don't quite know how to achieve that.”
Ultimately, “customer service is the most important thing” when it comes to finding the right technology solutions to support your business activities, says Jessica. “Only plug in what you really need, but make sure it makes your customers feel considered and looked after. That's what makes technology worth having.”