Gestalt: Customers — key to unlocking an exciting new time in marketing
by Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) It’s an exciting time to be in marketing, with various other disciplines enabling this area of the business, influencing its future direction and enhancing its impact.
The primary challenge in plotting a brave new course for marketing will be in dealing with the additional complexity and change of a much-wider playing field. That said, marketing has never been in a better position — and neither have marketers, as they have more scope than ever to shine.
The most forward-thinking marketers are moving beyond their traditional marcoms role and embracing data, technology, operations, people, change, strategy and customer experience. Of these, the customer is perhaps the most vital.
Saying the customer is key to business success sounds so obvious as to (almost) go without saying. But we should say it loud, clear and often; now, more than ever, CEOs are prioritising customer interactions above all else.
We are currently in a customer-driven growth revolution, where all consumers are mobile, social, and multichannel enabled.
Being entrusted with customer experience (CX) gives marketers an amazing opportunity to bring the customer to life for the organisation, thereby growing their own capability, remit and influence within the organisation. Simply put, the customer is the platform on which to expand marketing’s role to something much bigger than ever before.
Staffing up for success
It’s vital to ensure that you have the right resources for a winning marketing strategy, and part of that is not getting too stuck in the day-to-day cut-and-thrust of marketing’s operational activities.
It’s quite feasible for a capable, well-resourced team to look at the web analytics of the day before and say, “Okay, what are we going to do differently to optimise for the best offering in the market right now?” Your leadership is needed elsewhere.
For example, are you spending enough time listening to your customers and meeting their needs? Does the product work as expected? What’s happening across the industry? Do you have the right product strategy and brand-building capabilities for the year?
Breaking down silos
When we really want to know the customer, our concern is one of the right data.
Data can’t be trapped in silos; businesses have to be able to connect end-to-end in real time. CEOs in boardrooms want a single view of the customer.
In outlining the habits of successful CMOs, Forbes outlines how it all comes down to ‘focusing completely on the customer and CX’: “By keeping the customer front and centre, the CMO can bring focus to the new technologies coming their way and show greater discernment in choosing only those that truly suit their needs.”
Listen, listen, listen
In thinking about customers, we must finally also pay attention, not only to what they want but how they might behave differently in response to different experiences.
Mobile-first companies do well with this, as they have been built from the customer experience backwards. Organisations that have been built in the traditional way, from the inside out, are not finding it so easy to understand customers at every point of the journey.
But, once this is achieved, you will have customer-based insights of expectations on which to deliver. Be sure to listen at both a very granular and overarching way. Are you gathering insights in each of your daily interactions? And, in acting on those, are you driving a behavioural change?
Making the change
CMOs need to make sure they have the right strategies to address the above five priorities, that all of them come through strong enough, and that they know and consider the customer first in all things.
Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) is a designated chartered marketer, global marketing strategist, digital driver and a Women in Tech leader. She holds a BA degree in fine arts, a BA honours degree in brand marketing management, an MBA in business management and is completing her PhD in management sciences, focusing on the customer and business transformation. She is now director of customer first marketing at ORACLE UKI, responsible for driving customer success through customer advocacy, and building strategic partnerships focused on emerging technology and the changed customers’ buying behaviour. Leeya contributes the monthly column “Gestalt”, about putting customers first for sustainable business success, to MarkLives.
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