No matter your position in today’s online businesses, you cannot argue the fact that it’s all about customer experience. Customer experience and satisfaction is what brings customers in, makes them stay and brings them back again. In today’s extremely connected market, where opinions are shared with hundreds if not thousands of people with just a click of a button, the customer experience impact goes well beyond the individual user.
With the dramatic shift to business being conducted online today, digital marketers need to provide the best possible customer experience on their company websites or Web applications, a brand’s first and main point of interaction with its customers. Today’s savvy marketers are aware that analytics are crucial for this, yet are faced with a challenge: tackling the divide between the marketing department and back-end IT operations. While front-end marketing analytics can provide some level of insight, they often aren’t comprehensive or accurate enough to provide a complete picture of what the customer is experiencing.
Enter the new field of MarkOps.
What is MarkOps? A new junction where Marketing and Operations meet. These two groups have direct impact and responsibility over customers’ experience, but have historically worked in silos. They seem to speak different languages (is it a funnel or is it a business transaction?) in the hopes of somehow coming out with the right outcome.
While today’s marketers are often siloed from back-end IT operations staff, collaboration between the two is key in delivering the optimal end-user experience. Just as the emergence of the term “DevOps” has promoted communication between developers and IT operations for delivering the best possible product, “MarkOps” represents the need for businesses to ensure productive and transparent relationships between marketers and back-end operations.
MarkOps teams find that their ultimate goals are the same: to optimize customer experience, and when things go wrong, they need the same answers. MarkOps teams will look at things like how often website failures occur, and if so, how much do they impact a customer’s decision to abandon an item in their online cart. Do the front-end marketing analytics match up with back-end network analytics? Can one set explain a trend in the other?
MarkOps collaboration allows these traditionally siloed departments to gain granular insight into these questions and, ultimately, their customers.
What the most successful companies have learned is that in order to thrive in the world of online business, Marketing and Operations must break the silos. They must work together, taking advantage of all data and tools available to truly understand customer experience and behavior, with the goal of striking out any blind spots and providing complete visibility into all relevant information.
Without complete visibility into all aspects of your customers’ experience, wrong decisions might be made. For example, imagine you are a marketing manager. You have posted new content with new brand positioning to your website, and you’ve noticed a dramatic decline in conversions. Wouldn’t it be important to know that an application error appeared on one of the critical pages or that a specific page took a long time to complete? Without having visibility into all that information, both parties might come to the wrong conclusion that it was the new positioning to blame.
The same also goes for providing IT with better visibility into marketing related information. By communicating more, developers can understand better why marketing has specific requests (such as improving performance for specific geographies where the majority of the highest-paying customers come from, or planning for an increase in the number of visitors following an online campaign).
At the end of the day, without providing comprehensive visibility for those in charge of your online customers’ experience, without fostering open communication between these two critical groups, and without having both teams take ownership of customers’ experience and online business success, the chances of meeting or exceeding your goals for your online business are reduced dramatically.
So where to begin? Today’s MarkOps leaders offer the following tips for building a successful MarkOps collaboration and implementing MarkOps in your organization:
– Identify the relevant people within marketing and IT responsible for customers’ experience and Web results
– Hold regular meetings (weekly) targeted at this newly formed MarkOps group
– Make sure discussions foster open communication and not finger-pointing
– Provide both teams with visibility to ALL relevant information (i.e. information that up until today was “locked” by products targeted at one of these groups instead of both)
– The best route is to have the two groups use the same application (no more “siloed by application” syndrome)
– Allow both teams to look at the same information, but at the same time allow each team the ability to drill down into the data to find insights relevant to their daily responsibilities
It all boils down to effectively capturing every piece of information related to your end users’ experience and behavior, and allowing these two critical teams to seamlessly share information and start speaking the same language—the language of your customer’s experience.
Today’s most successful online businesses are striving to deliver the best possible customer experience. By implementing MarkOps, companies can ensure a clear focus on customer experience that starts from the top.
Mike Dickey is founder and CEO of Cloudmeter, which helps companies transform real-time network data into actionable information for IT and business users.