IT, Marketing and Customer Experience Strategy


Conventional wisdom holds that all companies are now technology companies.

If that’s so, it’s safe to assume that the IT function plays an increasingly prominent and visible role in directly interacting with customers. And if that’s the case, perhaps “all companies” should be paying more attention to how technology is impacting the customer experience.

In a recent blog, business observer and marketing guru Seth Godin cites two examples to illustrate the potential negative implications of IT-driven customer interactions. In the first, a bank’s IT team decided to (minimally) enhance security by adding two digits to existing six-digit customer authentication codes. The result: what had been a relatively easy code to remember suddenly became a memorably annoying inconvenience for thousands of customers. In the second, a website notice informed customers that they needed to visit the website for information on app updates. No proactive outreach was made, nor was any direction given regarding when or how often to check the site for new information. Here again, the takeaway for the customer was a negative impression.

Godin’s point: if IT is driving a business’ customer experience, then marketing – as the function responsible for understanding what the customer wants – needs to be involved in how that experience is delivered. This observation underscores the growing importance of CIO/CMO collaboration – a theme Softtek has addressed from a number of perspectives. Recently, for example, we published a report on the findings of a CMO survey that examines how technology is disrupting the marketing function. In the report, CMOs describe how they work with their IT counterparts and identify perceived risks of investing in IT projects.

We’ve also spoken with CMOs of F1000 organizations to get their insights on how they’re using marketing and technology to enhance the customer experience, and how they’re measuring marketing ROI when investing in IT.

As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous to business strategy, the role of technology in defining and delivering the customer experience similarly expands. At the same time, the lines between marketing, IT and the business become increasingly blurred. As Godin puts it. “Marketing used to be advertising. Now, marketing is everything you do. And what you do either adds to the experience or takes away from it.”