Gestalt: Coordination, connection of marketing insights to lead growth
by Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) Most companies tend to organise their skills and knowledge divisionally — by product, service and geography. This filters through in ‘ivory tower’ offerings and top-down marketing, informed not by free-flowing market data and customer insights but by domain knowledge. To deliver truly customer-centric solutions, companies need to eliminate organisational silos, thereby facilitating easier sharing of customer-related information and better decision-making across divisional lines.
One way of overcoming divisional silos is to replace them with customer silos but, more often, companies simply develop better divisional coordination and collaboration processes in response.
Besides better internal coordination, customer-centric solutions may also require external expertise that isn’t resident in the business. For this reason, companies need to redefine their external boundaries to connect more tightly with external partners. In doing so, they may leverage the necessary skills to remain competitive through higher-value solutions while cutting costs.
Marry data and customer insights
By breaking organisational barriers in these ways, marketers may gain a big-picture view of business objectives and trends in the corporate ecosystem that will help them manage the high pace of change and time campaigns correctly.
Seeing across enterprise lines lets them take a step back and ask: Does it fit in with the company’s vision and mission? Does it match the data?
To achieve this level of insight, marketing needs to master data acquisition across business silos and align it with customer insights. Both are necessary but they’re very different pursuits. I’ve seldom encountered customer insight in marketing data. Those tend to come from talking to customers. To add value, marketers must compare customer behaviour with data and build on it with data.
To have success in the future, marketers need to do both — understand data, know how to get it, and marry it with customer insight, instinct and creativity.
Lead business growth through data and instinct
By doing all this right, marketing can lead, drive and grow the business by being among the select few in the organisation to break internal and external divisions, study the data and map it to customer insights.
- To cope with the rapid pace of change, they must first be aware of what’s going on across the wider business. We can’t get stuck in our divisional areas of focus, be it product, service or geography.
- Secondly, marketers can exert a greater influence across the entire organisation if they take an interest in decisions, regardless of whether it “officially involves marketing”. They need to get involved in other functional areas too.
- Thirdly, they need to do it by and for themselves by focusing on product launches, service and design experiences, as well as user and customer experiences. These things can’t be communicated by other areas of business. Marketing need to be more proactive, less passive.
- Lastly, by becoming more data- and customer-centric and integrating with the rest of the business, marketing can take the lead on innovation. This is because innovation is led by customer needs, something traditional marketers may not even be aware of.
Coordinate, connect, extract and collaborate
In summary, to meet customers’ expectations in future, marketers need to coordinate and connect across organisational boundaries to achieve seamless knowledge sharing. Additionally, they need to become data experts and work directly with customers and the various lines of business to gather the insights necessary to achieve both customer outcomes and the business vision.
Think about it — marketing is there to lead business growth. Marketers are in prime position to take advantage.
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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