This is the first paragraph of a marketing must-read article, titled “Be Smart About Customer Intelligence.” Written by Josh Bernoff, a vice president at Forrester Research, it was published in the 11-30-09 print edition of the American Marketing Association’s magazine, MarketingNews.
Josh’s colleague, Dave Frankland, explains in his latest report, “The Intelligent Approach to Customer Intelligence,” the problem is not the data. The problem is how marketers set themselves up to use the data. There are many marketers using the data piecemeal. The true potential comes from organizing your business to use data across the organization, across products and channels. Most marketers aren’t there yet.
Forrester surveyed more than 300 customer intelligence professionals and a few of the marketing issues and questions pointed out in this eye-opening article are:
- Product-centric companies collect data but don’t share it across product groups.
- Every new initiative generates more data – data that is usually hard to integrate. Are your direct mail and e-mail data in separate databases? Is the same customer in both? Do you know?
- Whether a customer Twitters about poor service or another blogs about great products, do you know if these customers have been contacted before?
Dave Frankland’s report provides an integration solution that most companies have not obtained yet. This solution combines three elements that make it work. Those are culture, technology, and people.
- Culture: In mature marketing organizations, marketing is the key customer advocate. Customer value becomes central to business decisions across marketing functions and product groups. Good data and analysis will show which customers will have the highest lifetime value. Marketing goes after these customers. (Visit InfoGrow for more information on Customer Lifetime Value Analysis.)
- Technology: Marketers are struggling to adapt old customer databases built for direct mail to support sophisticated cross-channel media campaigns. The analysis technology must now support cross-selling, upselling, loyalty and lead generation planning. An automated plan that works across channels has to be based on a clean database and technology foundation that can do this now and is ready for future integration.
- People: You need the right team, which includes data, marketing, and sales. After that, marketers can find and combine the actionable nuggets of customer intelligence and use them in ways to move the company forward and beyond. (Also, find more information about this report at destinationCRM.com)
As Josh Bernoff states in the last paragraph of this article…”the efficient marketers aren’t going to be the ones with the most data. They will be those who can turn that data into intelligence that is actionable for market plans, channel plans and product decisions. For the marketer who wants to gain power within the organization, mastering customer intelligence is about to become mandatory.”
How are you managing your customer data? Have you come up for air yet?