One thing we quickly learned from the pandemic was that if you didn’t already have a robust digital presence, you needed to fast-track plans to do so. Even as the economy reopens in fits and starts, renewing the desire for in-person interactions, customers continue to expect and in some cases, demand the convenience afforded by digital commerce. Many would argue that the key to success in this new age is integrating the physical and digital aspects of the customer experience into a seamless journey throughout the marketing funnel.
Digital is not a project. Digital is not an initiative. It’s a way of being. It’s a way of rewiring the company’s operating mechanism and culture to think about digital as just one of a handful of tools to engage the customers where they want to be seen. Thomson Reuters, for example, a $6 billion dollar company with 26,000 employees and 500,000 customers had to completely reorganize their go-to-market model to suit changing customer expectations. Laura Wilbanks, CMO of Thomson Reuters, John Dioso, editor of Ad Age Studio 30, and Chris Gianutsos, Managing Director, Technology Consulting for EY Americas, recently sat down to talk about the blurring of lines between digital and physical interactions and how to create the infrastructure and capabilities to meet your customers wherever they want. Here are the four main takeaways from the conversation:
1. Digital first, not digital only
One of the things the pandemic has done for many companies, but primarily for B2B companies, has challenged historical norms and has proven that you don’t always need to have that face-to-face or personal experience with a customer to really deliver what they’re looking for. On the flip side, you have to ensure the fluidity of digital and physical models so that a customer has the flexibility to get the information in a seamless and personalized way.
Some organizations attempted to create a fully digital experience; planned around the stereotypical coastal millennial who grew up with technology. They were going to be able to push every transaction into that type of digital interaction. What they quickly learned is that the right answer is more of a digital first than a digital only. Most journeys do start online in this day and age in terms of people doing some of their research, but they will traverse back and forth. There may be people who are uncomfortable going that final mile digitally. The answer is somewhere in the middle with parts of the journey happening online, parts of the journey happening in person. It’s a little bit different depending on the buyer pool or the segment or the persona of the individual.