First, here are some of their assumptions:
- By 2007, marketers who spend 50% of their time on advanced, customer-centric marketing processes will achieve roi’s that are at least 30% better than those that don’t (this prediction has an 0.8 probability)
- By 2007, fewer that 20% of marketing organizations among Global 1000 enterprises will have evolved enough to leverage customer centric processes (also with an 0.8 probability)
They recommend that “the marketing functions evolve from focusing on products and transactions into placing more emphasis on customers and relationships that are aligned with enterprise goals and strategies.” They also recommend that marketing should take the lead in breaking down corporate silos to “create a more-strategic and customer-centric enterprise approach.”
The top ten processes are:
- Marketing operations management
- Marketing visibility, accountability and value measurement
- Customer and market insight generation
- Customer-value-based segmentation
- Portfolio and capacity-based resource allocation
- Product development and introduction
- Customer-needs-based trigger identification
- Orchestrated customization
- Orchestrated cross-channel dialogues
- Customer-value-based network management
This whole article triggered a few thoughts in my mind. The first is that I am surprised that not more companies are using customer-centric processes. We always were customer-centric and implemented a formal sales and marketing training program along those lines in 2000. I would have thought that by now, more that 20% of companies would be on that bandwagon – not 20% by 2007.
The second is that we can always thank analysts for their ability to turn everything into confusing “mumbo jumbo” (a.k.a., voodoo and fufu juice). Take the details they provide to the fifth item on the list for example – where they are basically saying that you should ensure that all “touch points” with customers (marketing, sales, service, shipping, etc.) should re-enforce the message that you are sending out in the marketplace: “This requires a systematic approach to understanding, developing and managing capabilities and resources, relative to a portfolio of value-based customer segments. The ultimate goal is optimal resource allocation, relative to the potential value that will be provided to each customer segment as well as the expected risks and returns that will be associated with doing so.”
You could say, oh well, that’s how they are…
The problem with this is that I can just picture boards and executive teams, who do not always come from a marketing background, rushing to conclusions and pushing their marketing departments to extremes in terms of becoming more customer-centric. For a lot of companies, there is such a thing as being too customer-centric. If you are way ahead of the customer adoption curve in terms of inventing a new product space for example, it makes no sense to be too customer-centric in gathering your product requirements. You will just gather a lot of garbage and lose your competitive edge. Or what happens if you are a startup with small market penetration – when 80% of your future revenue has to come from people who are not yet customers. In that case you cannot tailor your programs to the existing customers just yet – they may not be a good proxy for the market as a whole!
All that being said, there are some good pointers in the report – like when they point out that: “Customers fundamentally view their relationships as being with enterprises, not with individual business units or interaction channels.” Dead-on, I wish companies would listen to that!
So many web sites and support departments are product and division/productline centric – yet most customers could care less. Take the example when I recently bought a Canon camera for my dad’s birthday when he was visiting me here in the US. The camera came with software that allowed for French menus, but it did not come with a French manual. So I contacted Canon, pointing to the fact that I am a big fan – with 7 Canon cameras bought in the past – including a few very high end cameras and lenses – to get a French manual and they told me to download it from their French canon.fr site. Problem is, that camera is not available in France, and the closest model sold there is very different – especially for an older person who is not totally familiar with everything digital. So finally I found the French manual on the Canadian site and ran through a whole cartridge of ink to print everything out for my dad.
Silos need to come down…that is not how customers buy and use your products!