Q1 is gone. 25% time gone. All those goals you ratified in the opening weeks of the year – how are you fairing out of the starting blocks? I remember there were several thought provoking predictions at the beginning of the year. They could be summarised as follows:
- Mobile – this will become the device of choice for daily comms behaviour. We need to make our business propositions look attractive on smartphone/tablet screens.
- Video – if you’re not using this dynamic visual stimulation to grasp attention in any medium, you’re lagging behind on building response.
- The human touch – even though automation abounds, don’t de-cost or de-prioritise this massive point of influence. Make it easy for people to ring your flipping company. The telemarketing industry has ridiculed this part of the service delivery in the customer journey. We all get the stupid cold calls. This is a brainless de-costing strategy adopted by so many large corporates over the last decade and the chickens are truly coming home to roost.
- Personalisation – this is where technology and automation meets expectation. Customers expect quality service as a prerequisite of their attention. It has become a norm. Find out what people want and give it to them.
Is there one common theme that can help you ring-fence these predictions? Probably. It may come as no surprise that I say it’s all about sorting out your data across the organisation. People buy people, people they know or like and trust. Truth, honesty and transparency are key commercial values.
Here are 4 tips to put the customer at the heart of your business:
- Pull all your customer data together. ‘Employee experience’ and ‘customer experience’, they are the brand, so integrate them. Whatever business you are in, b2b or b2c, every purchase is made by an individual. So you need the best processes and plans to get you the critical data on each individual. You can then manage relationships and relevance with customers to encourage spend and maximise their value.
- Commit to a ‘reality sense check’ on the data landscape across your organisation. What are your customer data assets? What is the customer data content? Where is it all? Get a data audit done to provide a visual data map overview on one page – only then can you can see all the different data pots, the links, the flows, the gaps, the IT pinch points.
- Define your current financial situation, GP and balance sheet asset value in relation to where you want it to be in the medium term, say 2-3 years’ time? Commercial, Financial, Ops Marketing and IT stakeholders need to be understood – allowing all data source holders / users to tell an independent specialist how their area of business could work better (and get more profit for your organisation) is a fast, easy and smart way to move from sometimes entrenched positions to a dynamic way forward for better marketing and better ROIs.
- Don’t scrimp and save on this one. Internal working cross parties won’t work, because there are entrenched positions that frustrate the progress the Board seek. You need to invest and bring in external expertise. And they need 3 critical skills – data literacy, holistic marketing vision, business acumen – and they need to be able to interlink them.
Get this rolling in Q2 and 2016 will become a more rewarding year. Look out for Part 2 over the next few days. All the best.