Engagement Strategies

Voices of the Engagement Economy: Justin Schuster, Head of Corporate Marketing & Communications, Acxiom

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Justin-Schuster-AcxiomAcxiom does not have a CMO, so Justin reports directly to the CEO. He is responsible for public relations, internal communications, analyst relations, corporate events, marketing operations, brand, digital, website, creative, and thought leadership content.

In this discussion, Justin talks about raised customer expectations, the importance of connected teams, and the challenges and benefits of the Engagement Economy.

Q. How does the shift to an Engagement Economy resonate in your market?

Because Acxiom is a very customer-centric company, the concept of Engagement Economy resonates strongly with me. In my opinion, a successful customer experience essentially means delivering value over time that is a joy to consume. It is difficult enough to meet customer expectations, and we should always be looking for ways to exceed their expectations too. If we can deliver more than the customers expect, then we can get into the realm of delighting them.

Q. How does that affect your approach to marketing?

I think about marketing as facilitating the buying process. We think we’re doing marketing, but the buyer thinks they are doing research. I try to think about my audience as a group of individuals that are trying to solve problems; the content that they best respond to is educational in nature.

Q. What practical challenges are you seeing?

As the number of channels grows, a lot of silos can form within a marketing team. It’s easier to optimize within channels than it is to think from the outside-in about the audiences you are connecting with. As Acxiom has grown, we have worked to get increasingly specific about our message to different audiences and build content that is tailored to them.

At Acxiom, we use identity resolution to connect all the different marketer tools. The tools that engage consumers via email, mobile, desktop browsers, and other connected devices all speak a different language and store data in a different way. Companies can’t deliver a consistent customer experience if they can’t make these tools work together. If you think you’re dealing with a new customer when you’re actually engaging a loyal VIP customer, you’re probably not providing the best experience.

Q. Do you see a positive impact as well?

Great marketing is about having great listening skills and being smart about adapting the message so everyone can benefit. Optimizing data use and making data portable is critical to our clients. With more real-time access to information, companies do not have to wait until a campaign ends before they can learn from it. They can learn as they go, and fine tune campaigns while they’re running.

Q. Any final thoughts for your CMO Nation peers?

There’s been an explosion of channels and devices. Marketers need to get smarter about engaging customers across all these different touchpoints.

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