A massive shift is happening, and in 2011 we will witness how the Digital–Focused CMO (dCMO) will replace the specialist digital executive fraternity.
The dCMOs are leading the charge to draft and own a company’s strategic initiatives in the digital landscape. These digerati have lived with ‘always on’ connectivity everyday and developed their careers within the digital arena.

The dCMO set realises that the focus of a company’s digital strategy is to inject core business processes and a set of optimal customer behavioural attributes into a ‘proprietary’ digital platform (N.B. proprietary does not mean to build the platform from scratch).

Building the right digital platform means delivering consistent customer experiences in any channel or on any device to ensure that customers are engaged with brands anywhere and at anytime.

This is the Pervasive Customer Experience.

Start thinking like a dCMO

The ubiquitous nature of digital means people consume information on their platform of choice. For brands this means start creating a 2015 Digital Roadmap with a vision on how a digital platform will engage with customers in a multi-platform world.

A dCMO’s thinking is powered by a deep understanding that customers live in a connected world, and that they expect a consistent product experience to be delivered across mobile, desktop and other digital touchpoints.

The act of defining the customer behaviours that are critical to the success of delivering a product experience means determining the optimal intersection of customer behaviour with the company’s customer experience offer.

Fundamentally to be considered pervasive the behavioural attributes need to be transferrable between the various channels and devices that customers are using. The optimal attributes are captured in the Behavioural Rules (Engine) of the digital platform.

Rethink the next digital project

As an alternative to simply writing a brief to transform a website into a mobile website, strip the mobile offer down to the core customer behaviours to see how it works from a customer’s perspective. Commence by creating customer experience models to aid in defining the pervasive behaviours that will have an impact on the mobile offer.

The goal is to identify customer behaviours that need to be satisfied in order to deliver a compelling product experience. The next step is to link the best behavioural attributes with specific product features to maximise the customer experience offer. This sets up the foundation for redefining the mobile product as a pervasive solution.

Uniting client and vendor strategy

Consider a cinema chain selling movie tickets; a dCMO would take a few steps back and recognise that the most basic step in getting people into the cinema is the ticket purchase process.

That means the strategy is not to brief a vendor about building a ‘mobile website that will facilitate ticket sales for customers on the run’, in its place is the need for a digital platform that can manage and deliver the core Pervasive Customer Experience attributes related to a ticket purchase.

On the flipside the vendor’s project is two-fold: firstly to design a technical layer (API) to deliver the pervasive ticket purchase experience so that it can be consumed in any platform.

Secondly to build a compelling mobile ticket buying experience that can be seamlessly delivered to any device, not just a ‘mobi’ site, native iPhone app or other solution left to drift in its own experience vacuum.

Bonus points for figuring out the next step

Using the Pervasive Customer Experience approach the dCMO isolates specific customer behaviours to architect an innovative movie–viewing experience, uncovers new audience segments, and builds a plan to launch a new digital service to satisfy at least one of the segments.

Archetype the future competitive differentiator

The Pervasive Customer Experience approach is essential where competitors have exactly the same process.

Investing in the development of unique brand and user experiences is impossible when the digital foundations are formed from a standard set of business rules built on top of the same industry-compliant, technical flavour of the month. The results are entire industries with feature–bloated copycat websites that achieve zilch for customer engagement.

The dCMO needs to run an agenda to determine which customer behaviours are pervasive and then embed these attributes in the digital platform. Unique brand experiences will be easier to produce because the digital products are intrinsically based on customer behaviours and inherently speak directly to the audience.

Persuasive points to think pervasive

Discovering the fundamental behavioural patterns of an audience segment is at the heart of defining optimal Pervasive Customer Experiences. To help guide the formation of digital strategies relevant to the Pervasive Customer Experience, use these points as kick-starters:

  • Create a 2015 Digital Roadmap with a vision to create a digital platform that aligns customer behaviour and customer experience.
  • Review the company’s current digital landscape to uncover digital assets that can be transformed into ‘digitized’ products and services.
  • Customer experience is the only factor that is inimitable. Therefore build digital products and services around Pervasive Customer Experience attributes.
  • Determine which customer behaviours and processes are pervasive and embed the attributes in the digital platform.
  • Create a technical layer (API) that will help to deliver consistency and familiarity across every digital touchpoint.
  • Reduce the ongoing focus on trying to achieve personalization and customization of user experiences.
  • Shift the focus to creating unique brand experiences and compelling product experiences that allow customers to connect with brands.

New audiences and new opportunities

Customers demand that brands interact with them on a myriad of platforms and devices, and they look for digital tools that aspire to be a proactive part of their everyday life.

Whether a massive consumer brand or a start up offering one product, Digital-Focused CMOs need to drive the development of digital platforms. Launching pervasive products and services that are accessible anywhere, at anytime and on any channel, will uncover new audiences and create new opportunities.