Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Customer Intelligence Journey

When I started my career I couldn’t understand why EVERYONE didn’t want to be in marketing! To my way of thinking, it was the central activity for any company. Despite a long career in or close to the marketing function I still feel the same way.

Without marketing, no one knows about your product or service. Without marketing, no one knows how your product or service might help them. Without marketing you have no business.

Yet marketing has become more complex over time. The emergence of the internet and social media mean that would-be customers have many more options to familiarise with your product and service, as well as your competitors’ products and services. And alternatives to both. Today’s purchaser has the opportunity to be better informed on a wider variety of subjects than ever before.

Marketing people are slowly waking up to the fact that whilst the consumer is getting more clued up, so, perhaps, should they. They are starting to think about how much they know about their customers and prospects; and beginning to realise that it’s less than they thought.

It’s not that the information isn’t there. No. It’s just that the information is all over the place: in different systems, in different departments, in different formats. It hasn’t been entered correctly, or checked. It hasn’t been cared for in the way that someone might care for something that is REALLY VALUABLE!

The Customer Intelligence journey is that of starting to understand your customers and prospects by looking at the information you have, as well as the gaps: and starting to make some sense of it all.

It’s a journey because getting to know people is an on-going process. A process that requires smart use of today’s sophisticated technologies, and a process that requires a different way of thinking about what’s important in business. A process that starts to put customers at the centre of things.

A place I’ve always felt they belonged.

What’s your experience of understanding your customers and prospects from data within your company? Have you started on the Customer Intelligence journey? Are you considering it? Leave a comment and join the conversation!

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