7 Strategies to Drive Business Growth Through Digital Experience Innovation

Pieces of advice gleaned from leading CMOs

Woman holding a coffee mug; Man in suit behind the woman; Seven intertwined colorful hands; Blue background
Creating an interconnected web across the industry.
Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Sources: Getty Images

Disruptive technologies are accelerating and reshaping the evolution of markets while also influencing customer behaviors and expectations. New technologies are empowering customers to research and shop differently. These same technologies are also presenting marketers with the ability to transform the role of marketing to become a growth engine for the business.

Over the last year, I interviewed leading CMOs at top brands such as Nestlé Waters, Home Away, Domino’s and Marriott International to learn how they were approaching innovation and how that might affect the role of brand and marketing. I learned that, across the board, in addition to adopting new technologies and hiring for new expertise, digital customer experience (DCX) is the leading catalyst for driving marketing innovation and business growth. As a result, DCX is not only improving customer experiences, but it’s also contributing to mutually beneficial outcomes. This connects the dots between customer satisfaction and loyalty and also with important business KPIs such as revenue, customer lifetime value (CLV) and profitability.

Here are seven ways that these progressive CMOs are linking marketing innovation, digital customer experiences and business growth.

Modernize the role of marketing around total CX

In an era of abundant data, AI and machine learning platforms, the role of marketing can finally deliver customer experiences that meet or exceed modern customer expectations while also contributing to the bottom line. Create a cross-functional group led by marketing that maps the customer journey, assembles data across touchpoints, studies industry best practices and organizes around journey renovation and innovation.

Invest and organize around data

[Brands] must work closely with the many disparate parts of the organization that engage with customers at various touchpoints.

Innovative brands invest in collecting and interpreting real-time data to better understand their customers, and they also deploy new technologies like AI and machine learning to quickly analyze and respond to it instantly and automatically.

Data and analytics become key functions as they provide real-time—and eventually predictive—service to an integrated, cross-functional marketing organization that can test, learn and grow.

Make data storytelling part of the process 

Real-time data and insights can help sell purposeful digital transformation to the entire organization. The C-suite and other critical business functions, however, need to hear customer data and insights in personalized, compelling and hyper-relevant ways to create a sense of urgency. Engaging experts who can translate that data becomes increasingly paramount. The story behind the data humanizes or makes sense of evolving customer behaviors and offers guidance where investments in products, services and customer engagement can be advantageous.

Become the standout “mentally available” brand 

To stay top of mind, smart brands are investing heavily in innovating at the earliest stages of the customer journey: search and discoverability. Digital—and increasingly mobile—search creates an abundance of new engagement opportunities online and offline. Brands that study customer data to understand what those opportunities are and for which customers increase the likelihood that customers will be aware of relevant offerings at the right moments in the journey, especially on mobile.

Engage the entire organization around fostering loyalty

To drive customer loyalty, you must deliver a relevant and seamless experience that becomes the new standard for engagement. Smart brands know that to go from successfully converting customers to making them loyal ones, they must work closely with the many disparate parts of the organization that engage with customers at various touchpoints. And their marketing departments are increasingly taking the lead to bring together these various parts to create a cohesive, seamless customer experience from discovery to loyalty.

Become a tech company

The only way to thwart disruption is to become a disruptor. To disrupt, you must make technological investments that create new value for customers through relevant products and services that align with their decision-making and desired experiences. Smart brands are becoming technological companies to keep up with these shifting customer expectations. These brands embrace innovative technologies including advanced analytics, AI, machine learning, mobile platforms and agile teams to deliver faster, intuitive and best-in-class customer experiences to drive business growth and loyalty.

Integrate customer-centric metrics when measuring performance

Many companies focus on financial metrics, units sold or revenue growth. But putting the customer at the center of your business operations and measuring CX at the highest level is critically important to changing the way your company operates. Measuring business performance along with customer-centric KPIs, such as customer lifetime value, also moves the purview of marketing beyond the top of the funnel and positions it as an enabler for total CX.

In a market where many brands are investing in digital to compete for attention at scale, CX can become a significant competitive advantage. By focusing on experience as a driver for customer value and business growth, marketers earn the ability to gain more influence beyond traditional marketing. As a result, CMOs are now in a unique position to lead a cross-functional marketing imperative that prioritizes customer innovation while directly contributing to bottom line.

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