Customer experience was the focus of the recent Forrester Research’s Marketing 2016 Forum for Marketing Leaders in New York City. The event included innovators from brands like MGM Resorts, Kimberly-Clark and Flex. From the start the stage was set. Carl Doty, Forrester’s VP Group Director, shared how marketing is entering a post-digital age. According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) 84 percent of brands received scores of “OK” or worse from customers. This is why marketers now need to go beyond 1:1 marketing to the new imperative of 1:moment marketing.

This puts the marketing organisation in a unique position to help their businesses win the moments that all add up to a customer’s collective brand experience.

But what’s holding marketing leaders back from leading the charge in this age of the customer? Two primary issues were the focus of discussion among the marketing leaders on stage and in the audience: understanding their customers and offering contextual engagement (1:moment marketing).

Knowing Your Customer

Despite the ability to more easily collect customer data in the digital age, the variety and complexity of channels and devices presents a challenge to understanding the unique needs of people in their cross-channel journeys with a brand. This may be why only 32 percent of marketers are satisfied with their analytics, according to a Forrester Business Technographics® Data & Analytics Survey.

Today’s customer is always on. They are using a multitude of devices including phones, tablets, computers and TVs/set-top boxes, and there are more each day, such as wearables, home automation and cars.

This explosion of devices and data means organisations needs to capture these exponentially growing data streams and be able to make sense of it quickly. That includes bringing all your data together to gain a holistic view of the customer. By choosing open technologies that play well with the rest of the marketing ecosystem, marketers can achieve that view.

Meaningful Engagement with Context

Once you’ve collected the data it still needs to be put into action. This requires streaming it into marketing action systems and business systems. Brands need to better understand the discreet needs of individuals along their cross-channel journeys and to use that intelligence to deliver the most personalised experiences possible. Customer behaviour needs to be collected and used in real time. This means seamlessly moving from insight to action. Take an example from an online retailer. If a particular visitor has looked at three different shirts and then exhibits behaviours that indicate they are about to leave the website, an action can be taken to immediately pop up a special offer on the most recent shirt they viewed.