Creating a Synchronized Customer Experience
A Sureshot and Inverta Series
Part One: Synchronized Project Management
Best-selling author and marketing guru, Roy Hollister Williams, once famously quipped, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” What do B2B customers expect these days? According to AdWeek’s Digital Customer expert, Abe Awasthi, “Business customers are heavily influenced by their experiences as consumers. B2C has led the way with mobile, omnichannel, data access, peer reviews and on-demand support. These consumers…now seek the same experiences in their business interactions.” Delivering on the modern B2B customers’ expectations requires you to provide a well-timed, highly personal and friction-free customer experience (CX) across all channels and touchpoints; and to achieve that goal, you will need to create a fully synchronized CX.
What is Marketing Synchrony?
According to B2B Marketing firm Inverta, marketing synchrony, “creates an experience with a brand that surrounds an audience. It transcends tactics, and maximizes the impact of messaging and the value of an offer by reaching the audience through multiple, coordinated channels at the same time.”
Synchronized marketing is more than an integrated approach to marketing. What’s the difference? In a word, timing. Whereas integrated marketing simply connects your systems so that your CX is relatively consistent; synchronized marketing goes one step further by adding the aspect of precision timing. Our modern word synchronous originally came from the Greek words “sun” meaning together and “khronos” meaning in time. In other words, synchronized marketing is an approach to marketing in which the customer has a perfectly timed and consistent experience of your brand’s voice and image across all channels, campaigns and departments (sales, customer service, etc.).
Ashley Shailer, the vice president of marketing at Inverta, a B2B marketing firm says, “Synchrony needs to be threaded throughout a company’s entire campaign and program process — from planning to activation. When a customer has a synchronized experience of your brand, the cumulative impact of your marketing program should be greater than the sum of its parts.”
Prioritizing Project Management
Synchronicity is a process that requires both thought and planning. As Shailer mentioned, if you are looking to create a synchronous CX, you will need to start at the beginning with your approach to project management. However, before we talk about synchronicity in project management, we need to first outline the five basic stages involved in managing a marketing project, and they are:
1. Development: In this stage you align a specific marketing goal(s) with the project you are considering. In addition, you need to define the scope of the project, channels, length of promotion, etc.
2. Planning: This stage dives deep into all details related to a project, such as: what content is needed; budgets for content creation and design; campaign dates; media costs; etc.
3. Activation: This is the actual launch of the project.
4. Performance: From the moment your project launches, you should monitor the performance of its various pieces and make adjustments in real-time based on what your data reveals.
5. Review: This is your post-mortem stage. Here, you want to ask yourself, did this project move us closer to the goal(s) defined in the development stage? What worked? What needs work before attempting a project like this again?
Creating Synchrony in Project Management
Now that we’ve outlined the five stages of a traditional marketing project, we’re ready to look at how we can incorporate synchronicity into each stage. Below, we’ve listed the five stages of project management again and paired them with the critical measures that must be taken in order for a marketing project to achieve synchronicity.
1. Development – Collaboration
In order for a marketing project to be in sync with a big picture company goal it will need the support, understanding and input of others who will be impacted by the project, from sales and IT, to customer service, accounting, etc. Once your project has been well-defined, you need to actively seek the input of people whose support will have a big impact on your project’s outcome.
2. Planning – Visibility
Everyone who has a role to play in the execution of your project needs to be in sync. Moreover, they need access to a centralized view of current deadlines and the progress of their teammates. There are a ton of great project management programs out there that provide this kind of visibility and accountability, from Asana and Trello, to Monday, Teamwork, etc. While getting used to using one of these apps may be an adjustment, it’s one that’s well worth it. According to CIO, “Organizations that use proven PM practices waste 28 times less money than their counterparts who do not have PM practices in place.”
3. Activation – Regular Stand-Ups
While we love project management software, there’s nothing quite as helpful as meeting with everyone on the team face-to-face (even if you have to use Zoom). A regular weekly or bi-weekly stand-up meeting helps build unity across your team and allows everyone to see how everyone else’s part impacts the whole.
4. Performance – Monitoring Data and Sharing Reports
Reviewing the ongoing performance of your project, including milestones, to-dos and making adjustments based on data is something that should not only happen in your stand-ups, but via email or in-app messages of your project management app. Sharing progress as it happens helps to build both morale and momentum for everyone on the team.
5. Review – No Fault Transparency
In the immortal words of 19th century author, Samuel Smiles, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” It is vital to the success of your future marketing projects that when you review the highs and lows of each project, you give everyone on the team permission to fail without being punished or made to feel ashamed in any way. When you promote this kind of “no fault” transparency, you remove the anxiety from performance and empower people to grow and learn. This in turn fosters a culture where people feel safe in taking risks, trying new things and going above and beyond what is expected of them.