How 4 Local Marketing Teams are Making Customer Satisfaction Tech’s Hottest Trend

Listening to client needs directly is helping these Windy City teams deliver on the most important trend: personalization.
Written by Tyler Holmes
October 25, 2021Updated: October 25, 2021

Trends get a bad rap.

Low-rise jeans, the McRib, Tiger King and Myspace. At one point or another, these were all hot products on the tip of society’s tongue that the public was relentlessly encouraged to embrace. And while some trends are more forgiving than others (looking at you, low-rise jeans), the memorable takeaway was that these were commodities pushed by marketing teams simply for the sake of commercialism rather than assisting each customer for the better.

But what about when truly making a difference in customer experience becomes the trend? Not just delivering a product with mass approval ratings or embracing the flavor-of-the-week tech, but responding to personal needs and opportunities in real time?

In the case of four Chicago tech companies, that’s exactly the goal.

“Reaching people is about knowing, recognizing and understanding them in their online and offline lives,” said Jon Beebe, senior vice president of marketing and customer experience at Epsilon. “If you can sit down with your customers and have real conversations about what they’re trying to accomplish, it’s much more effective.”

Whether it’s helping users find the healthcare plan that’s right for their needs or simply connecting customers with their favorite brands, marketing teams throughout the Windy City are embracing the trend of striking success through careful listening and personalized assistance. That’s why Built In Chicago caught up with four marketing leaders relying on direct feedback from their clients and industry communities alike — rather than commercial buzzwords and sales metrics — to embrace tech’s latest offerings and achieve positive results.

After all, shouldn’t customer satisfaction always be trending?


 

Melissa Balsan
Chief Marketing Officer

What are some of the innovative methods or technologies you’re currently using to reach potential customers?

We’ve built proprietary machine learning algorithms that help us match a customer’s specific needs to the right plan fit for them. Our Encompass platform provides unique value-added services beyond Medicare enrollment, enabling consumers to maximize the benefits of their plans and improve their health outcomes.

In the digital age, taking the time to connect with our customers has been one of our greatest strengths. Our telecare team provides proactive outreach and support to our members every day to help them better understand what’s covered under their plan and in network. GoHealth is a platform, and we are also a community. We care deeply about the well-being of our members, and that’s why they choose to stay with GoHealth.

 

How do you stay abreast of the latest trends in marketing tech and evaluate whether a new technique or technology might work for your team?

Where one person may see a problem, our team sees innovative solutions. Our marketing team is composed of elite people who are creatively inclined, think outside of the box and are analytically driven.

It’s our job to determine: What meaningful differences exist between customer personas? What are our member’s wants and needs, and how can we solve them with our products? What hesitations are members exhibiting, and how can we overcome these? And what is the most efficient way to gather and extract this information?

In the digital age, taking the time to connect with our customers has been one of our greatest strengths.”


What technology trends are you currently following in the marketing space?

As one of the leading private medicare marketplaces in the country, GoHealth’s marketing department is vital to our mission of improving access to healthcare in America. Changes in our product mix, the political landscape and new waves of digital innovation have all influenced the ways in which our marketing team operates.

We recognize that the ways in which older demographics consume and digest information is rapidly changing. Every day 10,000 people turn 65, and this demographic is seeking education and shopping in a variety of ways — whether by themselves online, with help on the phone or through live chat.

 

Jon Beebe
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Customer Experience

What are some of the innovative methods or technologies you’re currently using to reach potential customers?

The great thing about working for a marketing tech company is that we can use our own technology when it comes to reaching clients and prospects. Now, our solutions are primarily optimized for B2C companies — large-scale Fortune 500 brands being our sweet spot — but whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, you’re still reaching people and that needs to be the foundation of any technology, strategy or innovation you pursue.

In my former life as an auto marketer, Epsilon was one of our go-to partners because their ability to identify real people in real time is second to none. A lot of partners can theoretically reach the audiences you want to talk to, but if their solutions are built on data from last month, last week or even yesterday, then your marketing execution is going to miss the mark.

Reaching people is about knowing, recognizing and understanding them in their online and offline lives. Epsilon recognizes people in milliseconds; not months, weeks or days. So instead of stale, pre-baked segments, our identity lives and breathes just like the customers it represents, with online and offline signals working together in the moments that matter most.

 

How do you stay abreast of the latest trends in marketing tech and evaluate whether a new technique or technology might work for your team?

This may sound overly simplified, but when it comes to staying on top of the latest tech trends, I just talk to clients. Listening to your customers versus listening to the tech providers is the best way to determine the right trends to follow. If you can sit down with your customers and have real conversations about what they’re trying to accomplish — and make meaningful recommendations on how to do it — it’s much more effective than following the latest trends or updates from the big marketing technology players of the world. 

I also rely on data velocity, which is how quickly the data on that platform is refreshed. If they’re using a stale cookie, ID, segment or model, then they’re not keeping up with customers in real time, which means you’re not keeping up with customers in real time.

Finally, what can plug and play? If recognizing and reaching customers is the foundation of marketing strategy, then you need to be able to consistently identify individuals across all marketing activations and partners. You may be looking at new partners or technologies, but if they can’t seamlessly integrate and take action with your own first-party data, then they’re not worth your time — no matter how big they might be.

Listening to your customers versus listening to the tech providers is the best way to determine the right trends to follow.”

 

What technology trends are you currently following in the marketing space?

Culturally, it’s interesting to watch social media fragmentation. For years, only a few dominant platforms held people’s engagement and attention, which forced advertisers to fork over huge budgets to reach “relevant” audiences. But the landscape has evolved significantly. There are more options, each specializing in different types of engagement and attracting different types of users. And the new platforms aren’t just fads — they actually have staying power because they’re creating niche communities based on what their platform enables. Everyone can self-select.

For example, some people gravitate towards platforms for “creators” while others gravitate towards platforms where they feel they have a political voice. Some platforms demand interaction, while others are focusing on passive viewership. The impact is that brands have to create content that resonates in those different spaces and for those audiences. Brands can’t just put something out on one platform and in one format, expecting everyone to see it — that’s just not happening anymore. It comes back to connecting with people as the primary goal.

People don’t live in a one-channel world, nor should your brand.

 

Angela Faler Boersma
Account Director, Digital Customer Engagement

What are some of the innovative methods or technologies you’re currently using to reach potential customers?

We are passionate about delivering the right message at the right time to our customers and utilizing the right technologies help us achieve that. At the core of it all, this is about people and their behaviors — what they think, feel and do — and how we can make sure their experience is empowered, connected and frictionless.

We also see more and more that customers expect highly personalized interactions in every stage of their journey, whether in-person or online, so understanding their preferences and patterns can help us make predictions to bring to life meaningful personalization. To do that, we need connected data that is both implicit and explicit to create insights, uncover opportunities and improve our marketing effectiveness in real-time.

Digital twins are not a new technology but certainly an important one. We pair that data-informed strategy with atomic design systems and facilitative technology to empower dynamic creativity that not only manages thousands of pieces of content and messaging, but also brings them to life in strategically and creatively excellent ways. That marriage of science and art not only helps us reach our customers, but keeps them coming back.

 

How do you stay abreast of the latest trends in marketing tech and evaluate whether a new technique or technology might work for your team?

I’m a huge proponent of connecting dots between teams and projects, which is something we think is crucial for any organization. Good ideas come from multi-level, cross-functional teams and are fostered when people have access to good information.

We have a pretty robust approach to tracking and reporting on the latest marketing tech trends and how they may be actionable for our teams. Every output we create is crafted with a purpose to inspire those who receive it, distilled to key themes and business insights to ultimately influence new ideas.

We are also thoughtful about how each output connects to the rest. This includes how we build foundational knowledge, understand how it fits in the overall landscape and plan how it connects with our top priorities. We are purposeful in making sure teams have access to this information, but also continuously evaluate our approach to make sure we are staying adaptable — ensuring we learn, evolve and optimize to stay relevant and effective.

Every output we create is crafted with a purpose to inspire those who receive it.”

 

What technology trends are you currently following in the marketing space?

As a customer engagement-focused agency, there are a couple areas we continue to keep our eye on, especially as our customers continue to enjoy experiences that are in-person, virtual and often now a mix of both. Digital objects, gamification, augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D experiences continue to evolve, so we track how we can amplify our existing customer interactions and also bridge the physical and digital experience. Augmented and connected tech also helps us develop more inclusive experiences for our whole community of customers.

Finally, emotion AI is another space to watch — whether that is helping us better understand our customer’s emotions for heightened personal experiences or more holistically enhance our customer journey mapping and planning.

 

Cami Bartel
Content Marketing Manager

What are some of the innovative methods or technologies you’re currently using to reach potential customers?

The typical B2B model of marketing is outdated and not reflective of how people purchase software and technology today. Our team has shifted our strategy to be more reflective of the buying process, which includes an emphasis on strong content branding.

We launched The Vibe, a content brand for the modern marketer, including a weekly newsletter, revamped online resource center, video series and podcast. We’re continuing to evolve our content and marketing efforts to be reflective of how modern marketers consume information to make purchase decisions.

 

How do you stay abreast of the latest trends in marketing tech and evaluate whether a new technique or technology might work for your team?

Today, technology is purchased based on recommendations from trusted resources or business networks. We leverage our communities and networks for recommendations on new marketing technology platforms.

Staying on top of trends is important, as well. We’re subscribed to many industry and business newsletters to stay abreast of the latest goings on in marketing. When it comes to evaluation, we look at a multitude of factors including value, platform availability, data capabilities, analytic capabilities and more.

With the end of the third-party cookie era in sight, many are shifting how they view data collection and usage for personalization.”

 

What technology trends are you currently following in the marketing space?

A trend I’m happy to see is a rise in ethical data intelligence. With the end of the third-party cookie era in sight, many are shifting how they view data collection and usage for personalization. Brands are noticing just because they have the data doesn’t mean they have to use all of it.

I’m sure people have heard many brands are undergoing a digital transformation, which has led to trends in mobile messaging and buy online, pick up in-store or at curbside (BOPIS/BOPAC) gaining popularity. I’m very excited to see more brands and marketers embrace technology as a way to deepen relationships with consumers.

 

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