AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — ARKE Chief Marketing Technology Officer Chris Spears urged attendees at the TMSA Logistics Marketing & Sales Conference here today to work more strategically and make customer-centricity a priority.

During a presentation on the role of technology in the buyer’s journey, Spears emphasized businesses that focus on desired results outperform those that embrace technology as a silver bullet.

Start With Strategy

He explained how a strategic approach enables companies to more effectively leverage their technology investments and create more compelling and frictionless customer experiences.

“At ARKE, we call this Marketing Technology Alignment or MTA. It’s a framework for measuring experiences, people, process, technology, and data maturity. The goal is to help businesses navigate to better brand experiences,” Spears said.

Sponsored by the Waconia, Minnesota-based Transportation Marketing & Sales Association, #TMSA2017 brings together professionals in the transportation and logistics industry.

This year’s conference at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation started Sunday. The three-day event includes dozens of educational sessions, roundtable discussions, and peer-to-peer networking events. Focused on the buyer’s journey, it aims to create a blueprint to attract, convert, close, and retain prospects and customers.

Atlanta-based ARKE is a brand experience consultancy specializing in strategic implementations of marketing technology solutions. “We help our clients create successful digital transformation,” Spears said.

Need help mapping technology to your buyer’s journey?

Contact Chris.Spears@arke.com for more information, including a copy of ARKE’s Journey Mapping Workbook.

4-Point Growth Plan

Spears said business executives can use their understanding of people, processes, technology, and data to win and retain relationships that can help their companies grow.

Architect experiences.

Architect experiences.

  1. Engage all of your employees, your first customers). Reach across the organization. Bring in Marketing, Sales, Support, IT, and representatives of your other constituents. Don’t try to transform in a vacuum. Many of your employees are already thinking the way you are.
  2. Leverage a tool like ARKE’s Journey Mapping Framework to design at least one persona journey. Think small, articulate the shortcomings of your journey.
  3. Build a technology map to accurately assess tools you own and how you use them. Look for value in the systems you have already purchased through enhanced integration opportunities.
  4. Make use of minimum viable data such as demographic and location data, frequency of purchase and average purchase size. This helps you know your customer.
You may also like:  5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Build Better Brands

5 Key Technology Systems

Spears, speaking at the TMSA conference for the first time, said he wanted to offer marketing and customer experience practitioners practical ideas for maximizing their tech investments.

“The strategies I discussed are applicable regardless of technology maturity in the organization,” he said.

During his presentation, he highlighted ways for companies to bring together five key technology systems.

These include operational platforms, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and inventory systems; content management systems, including enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM); marketing automation platforms (MAP), which enable enhanced email delivery; and analytics platforms, which offer seamless integration and interpretation of data.

All four of these feed into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or customer data platforms, he explained.

Companies should integrate five key technology systems.

Companies should integrate five key technology systems.

Maximizing Technology Investments

Spears explained how ARKE designs a customer journey. “We start with the basic customer journey points and customize for the business as needed,” he said.

“We ask the right questions, understand the client’s unique business needs, and understand the client technology and data. Then we can engage when, where and how the customer wants.”

Spears said this framework has clear applicability to the transportation and logistics area. “Problems across the transportation industry are broad,” he said. They include:

  • End-to-End Customer/Freight Visibility
  • Commoditization of Services
  • Consolidation
  • Driver/Asset Shortages

Without thoughtful technology integrations, businesses lose data insights and cannot address customer issues proactively. “Today, customer service in transportation and logistics remains very reactive,” he added.

By knowing the data, initiating process improvement, and integrating systems, companies will create actionable alignment across people, process, technology, and data, he said.

Need help mapping technology to your buyer’s journey? Contact Chris.Spears@arke.com for more information, including a copy of ARKE’s Journey Mapping Workbook.

Noreen Seebacher is the content evangelist at Arke, where she researches, writes and continues her long career in news reporting as a brand journalist. Noreen lives in Beaufort, South Carolina with her husband, her dog and four formerly homeless cats.