Measuring and Managing CX for Marketing

Now that we’ve defined the connection between customer experience and marketing and can see the obstacles toward understanding customers, how might we set about managing CX for marketing?

Let’s consider what metrics and tools marketing teams have at their disposal to measure and execute on customer experience improvements.

Social Listening

How do you measure success when it comes to customer experience? CX is innately subjective. Metrics that articulate the customer perception of your brand and marketing efforts will necessarily be subjective, too. Get comfortable with the murkiness of CX metrics.

At MailChimp, Mark DiCristina shares that his team turns to social listening as “a great way to gather data about the marketing experience.” Social listening is the process of tracking online conversations, mentions, and brand-related shares and using that data to gauge the customer sentiment. Social listening can be as simple as aggregating social media metrics (likes, shares, etc.), and many social media platforms have built-in metrics that can be turned to in a pinch to assess CX. Social listening tools like Mention or Hootsuite are also worth consideration.

Mark shares that, “We track what people are saying about MailChimp on social channels, and keep an eye out for trends and changes.” Additionally, MailChimp “Uses a comprehensive Brand Equity Survey to learn about how people who are not our customers experience our marketing.”

Social listening relies heavily on engagement metrics, which can include everything from bounce rates, time on page, open rates, clicks, visits, likes relative to impressions (e.g. Facebook, Instagram), likes/dislikes ratio (YouTube), comments, retweets/likes or hashtag adoption (Twitter) and more.

Ty Magnin at Appcues sees engagement metrics as critical for evaluating CX for marketing even while lamenting that engagement is hard to measure:

When it comes to measuring engagement, there are no easy answers.

CX Metrics Today

Our Guides know that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” which is why they turn to data that’s available to help them get as close as possible to understanding where marketing efforts are driving a positive customer experience.

Andrew Capland shares how they try to keep it simple at Wistia, “We usually try to define one key metric for each project, and then gather a bunch of surrounding information for context.” This approach is useful because it doesn’t fall into the trap of using the same metrics to measure everything.

The right metric for marketing efforts around awareness—metrics like reach, impressions, etc.—might be the wrong metrics for marketing efforts that drive consideration, which could be clicks, lead generation, or something else entirely.

Joseph Todaro at InVision has found value in Twitter. Joseph shares, “The design community is very lively on Twitter. That just gives us another opportunity to back up the general consensus, to see if something is just what a couple people are talking about, or if it's part of the broader dialogue.” Frequenting your industry’s watering holes can be a useful way to gauge brand perception, test out an idea, or find unmet needs where a focused, need-based marketing effort is likely to drive a great customer experience.

Not surprisingly, Danny Greer at InVision takes a similar approach. Danny researches audience needs asking, “Are people online talking about this topic [that we want to create content around]? What are the terms they're using to discuss it? I like to look at trends like that. We use things like Google Trends or Moz.” This strategy builds marketing efforts around the expressed needs of existing or potential customers. Solving for those needs with marketing has a high probability of driving engagement and, in turn, improving customer experience.

Getting customers to click into content may be the most immediate challenge for online marketers, but keeping them engaged once they’ve reached your content is yet another challenge. Joseph Todaro at InVision shares how they get insight into engagement against their video content using Wistia. Here’s Joseph:

Tools like Wistia take user behavior (e.g. when they stop watching a video) to help marketers understand when users are falling off and disengaging, which is a strong signal of a waning customer experience.

Amy Ellis at FullStory sees a huge opportunity to better understand CX through smarter metrics—such as those being used in video—around engagement across other types of content. Amy shares, “Imagine if we could understand when users were engaged in content by looking for certain types of user interactions around content. How users consume a piece of content online could tell us a lot about engagement.”

Amy shares further, “When we look at individual session replays on our marketing site for users who end up signing-up to try FullStory, we sense intention in how users engage with our content. Engaged users scroll at a measured pace—you can almost see how they’re intently trying to understand our product and decide if they want to give it a try. Then at a particular moment, the light bulb goes off and they convert.

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On the other hand, for sessions that don’t lead to conversions, there are times when their session replay begins with apparent engagement. They’ve got measured scrolling behaviors, clicks, and mouse movements etc. And then they stumble and fall into sporadic, haphazard cursor movement and quick scrolling. The session soon ends with a bounce.

Amy concludes, “It’s interesting to think how we might bubble up good and bad customer experiences based on behavior patterns—consistent scrolling vs erratic scrolling, etc. In the meantime we're looking at FullStory's metrics for active time on site for new visitors coming from specific marketing campaigns to see how well our content or landing page resonates, and subsequently, how that person might have felt about the ad that drove them to click.”

We recommend that the first step to get started with CX for marketing metrics is to pick a handful of metrics that you can track—be it bounce rates, clicks, time on page, likes/dislikes, whatever. Pick a marketing effort, get your metrics lined up, and measure.

Once the effort is complete, close the loop. Complete a post-mortem, looking at results not only for success or failure but also do the meta-analysis and see how well the metrics performed at reflecting CX. Evaluate if the metrics give you actionable insights—that is, does the data actually tell you something useful about how customers perceive and experience your company? And is it clear how to improve? If the metrics don’t tell you something useful, it’s time to reconsider what metrics you’re tracking.

Iterate on the process of measurement, itself. What’s most important is to build a dynamic system that can be improved over time.