Next Generation Customer Experience: A Guide for Developers and Marketers
- User-centric focus. Prioritize user experiences through shared insights for next-gen customer experiences.
- Strategic planning. Define common goals and KPIs for digital projects.
- cultural cooperation. Embrace conflict to find innovative solutions.
Historically, the relationship between developers and marketers has rarely been close. Both roles have very specific requirements for technology solutions or processes needed to get their jobs done, and they don’t always align.
Put simply, developers are more focused on back-end technology to keep things running smoothly, while marketers take care of forward-facing content and experiences.
It’s easy to see where these important parts of the organization can operate in their own distinct worlds. But in this increasingly modern age of digital experiences, developers and marketers must work together. On websites, mobile experiences, and IoT platforms, brands need both groups to work in harmony if they want to effectively deliver immersive, interactive, and dynamic experiences to consumers.
Innovations like VR, AR, and AI—all letters—enable brands to deliver the next generation of content. Because of this, it is imperative for marketers and developers to work better together. A new level of communication is required, and this begins with the sharing of information at the outset, a critical requirement for long-term success.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help marketers and developers improve communication and align with next-gen digital experiences.
To prioritize the next-gen customer experience: Put the user first
An immediate way for marketers and developers to meet in the middle is to focus on the user. From their different perspectives, how will these modern, next-generation technologies affect the user?
Marketers collect comprehensive market trends and targeted customer insights that shed light on who the consumer is and how they are using a brand’s assets. What messages and tactics might work best? Developers rely on their technical expertise to evaluate and identify the best tools and ways to engage with users.
These analyzes and assessments are largely carried out in parallel, but it is imperative that each group discuss their findings and proposed solutions with one another. The goal is to identify overlaps—or find out why their preferred future paths diverge. Finding what ultimately provides the best consumer experience must remain the primary goal, and fueled by that North Star, developers and marketers can begin to work together more effectively.
Related article: To provide or not to provide, that is the question of software development
Collaborate for a next-generation customer experience
After developers and marketers decide what the optimal user experience looks like, they create a plan for delivery. Both parties should define and prioritize goals together and then agree on them Measurement details for measuring success. This is already a challenge when navigating standard processes and “business as usual”, but becomes crucial as soon as completely new and experimental concepts are implemented.
For example, if a brand has never deployed 3D video, marketers and developers may not yet know exactly how to best measure the success or performance of that deployment. For this reason, it is important to identify an agreed set of goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Define tactical steps ahead for the future and commit to regular evaluations to see how goals can be tweaked.
Developing a plan prepares the team for success when embarking on a piece of the unknown.
Related article: Cross-departmental collaboration is key to the customer experience
Developers and Marketers: See how users are actually responding
To facilitate better communication about speculative projects, developers and marketers should start small. Start rolling out projects that are most likely to meet the user’s needs right away. Think of them as quick wins that define intuitive flows that fit the user’s journey.
Seeing minor changes in practice first, and then communicating the learnings from both sides will help improve collaboration as projects grow. In this process, marketers and developers need to know they are Design around user experience. With this in mind, both groups can understand and discuss their departmental tradeoffs and what they lose in order to provide the user with a better experience.
More often than not, this exercise results in prioritizing simplicity and repeatability rather than adding complexity to achieve an overly ambitious result. Next-gen experiences hold promise, but only when integrated into an already seamless user journey.
Build agile methods for rapid iteration
In line with the idea of focusing on quick wins, developers and marketers should leverage early results to design a process that allows for instant feedback and rapid iteration.
For example, marketers need technical tools that give them some control over content updates, rather than piling up “tickets” for developers to complete the work. Developers and marketers must agree on technology solutions that enable quick results.
They also need to integrate the necessary analytics to understand where they’re successfully reaching consumers, whether they’re using tools traditionally built for marketers or developers.
Break down cultural barriers for a next-generation experience
When developers and marketers meet in between to come up with a plan that best fits the user experience, remember that a little conflict never hurts. On the road to making a brand a next-gen experience, having some food fights along the way can be beneficial.
Of course, each department can traditionally handle its own internal differences differently. Marketers may run more group sessions, while developers may run more one-on-one sessions. Both sides should communicate how they deal with cultural differences and include them in the process, knowing that conflicts are inevitable.
Come together to take CX to the next level
For decades, brands relied on a fairly simple principle digital experience with their customers and users. However, the status quo is no longer acceptable. The user experience is changing fast and consumers are expecting more and faster.
It’s an exciting time for both marketers and developers who have a tremendous opportunity to take web, mobile and IoT experiences to new heights. Consumers are ready and becoming more comfortable with the technology every day.
Marketers and developers need to come together on behalf of consumers and users, communicate clearly, work better together, set aside differences and find common ground. With the user in mind, marketers and developers can align their diverse interests, bridge the gaps, and begin unveiling remarkable and innovative digital experiences.