Roundarch Isobar Team Attends ‘Gartner Customer 360 Summit’

Recently a few Roundarch Isobar team members were able to attend the annual ?Customer 360 Summit? that is hosted by Gartner.? In attendance this year were Jaison Manian (VP, Big Data Practice), Navneet Virk (VP, Optimization), Saurab Bhargava (VP, CMS Practice), and Scott Simmons (Director, CMS Delivery).? Gartner Conferences always provide us at Roundarch Isobar with a great opportunity to validate our own thinking in this space and to hear how this messaging is being delivered to our clients, and we were happy to be able to once again send a strong team there.

To set the stage, it is important first to understand a bit more about Gartner.? They have long been acknowledged as leaders in market analysis when it comes to the technology space, each year publishing various ?Magic Quadrant? reports on a variety of product areas as well as publishing thought leadership on trends and market insights.? Typically their primary audience has been CIOs and IT team members.? However, as we?ve seen the overlap between IT and Marketing functions increase with the growth in reach of the digital solution space, Gartner too has reacted and it comes as no surprise that a prevailing theme of this particular Summit was that of the expanse of the CIO?s role in Marketing and the Customer Experience (CX) more specifically.? This became clear in the first few words of the opening Keynote on day 1, as Gartner analysts began to hammer home the message of ?Customer Experience? rapidly becoming the paramount business goal as measured from CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs (of course, CMOs were always on board with that message!).

Throughout the three days, we engaged in sessions on various topics related to this theme, from justifying the investment into CX all the way through to measuring the return on these investments.?? The underlying structure of all topics revolved around three core ideas:

?- ?Understand?: listening to and understanding the needs of customers.? This theme naturally included gaining insights from the Social Media space, but it also extended to really?? focus on understanding the data through emerging areas such as Big Data and deeper web analytics tracking

?- ?Engage?: discovering new ways to engage with customers and realizing that every touch-point with a customer is an opportunity to engage.? We talked considerably about multichannel applications and how social and mobile continues to expand in their abilities to connect customers to brands, and vice-versa

– ?Deliver?: how organizations are rallying workforces around these topics, pushing solutions out to customers, and measuring the returns in order to continue to improve engagement strategies.? We talked about measurement strategies such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES) methods and the pros and cons of each (both have strengths but it seems like while NPS is more widely used, CES addresses some of the limitations such as better understanding root causes behind the scoring as well as higher predictive power)

As we came out of the sessions and our one-on-one meetings with Gartner analysts including Ray Valdes and Andrew Frank, we reflected on not only the core themes but what may have surprised us and what resonated most to each of us.? A few of these ideas include:

?- ?Understand?: While many companies still struggle to wrap their arms around ?little data?, Big Data will be an area that most will start making more investments into.? It focuses on the idea that marketing is ?inappropriate and ineffective? without proper understanding of customers, and that understanding resides in strong Big Data solutions.? Big Data allows brands to collect dimensions such as customer demographics (beyond the basics), relationships, attitudes, social behaviors, needs, and satisfaction AND allows smart marketers to leverage this data in real-time.? Furthermore, at the rate we are going, we can potentially double the amount of data being generated and stored every few months?today?s ?Big Data? will be nothing more than tomorrow?s ?Little Data?!

?- ?Engage?: Social experiences are game changers in our ability to improve CRM overall.? Social experiences allow organizations to gain higher quality in research, higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, and increased brand advocacy over more traditional web and digital properties.? We will continue to see more investments being made in this space.

?- ?Engage?: The numbers around mobility continue to astound in their growth and it is unacceptable for large organizations to downplay the importance of the space.? It is our job at Roundarch Isobar to advise our clients on these trends, but, equally to help them design effective solutions that meet key needs, are contextually aware, easy to use, and, in some cases, entertaining and rewarding.? And with 14 versions of Android (and 11 API levels), multiple iOS versions, various form factors, and performance and network variances, the task is not getting any easier.? We?ve seen this trend, and these challenges, first hand at clients like HBO and Healthways, and we expect to see more clients become more serious about delivering enterprise-scale mobile solutions in the near future.

?- ?Deliver?: We will continue to see our clients make a stronger investment in CX-driven strategies, including seeing more organizations invest heavily in highly-focused CX talent and resources (including a VP of CX role).? We will also see CIOs and CEOs become more involved in more traditional digital marketing and customer-facing initiatives as organizations move towards CX-driven business as a top priority.

With all of this, our team certainly validated quite a bit of what we?d been hearing and experiencing on our own CX-driven client engagements at places like Avis, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and Adidas, and we learned a lot as well about how others are approaching these same challenges.? We continue to value the Gartner conferences and look forward to engaging in more in the near future.