Data Is Not the Customer

With so much data at our fingertips, have we lost sight of who our customers really are?

While having the right data can be a great help to marketers, it can also be too much of a good thing. Considering the CMO measurement for success is defined by the number of net new customers rather than solving the business issues that drive real revenue, we can easily fall into the data trap, paying more attention to the data than our customers.

More data does not necessary mean more insight.

According to , most CMOs recognize that continually improving the customer experience keeps brands competitive and “by 2018, more than 50% of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.” That doesn’t mean that the need for data goes away, but it does mean that it has to be the correct data. Without solid business strategies in place marketers can make one off assumptions but miss the mark to drive real business change.

Big data gets bigger.

Every day brings the opportunity for more data acquired through literally thousands of marketing technology tools.  Resist the temptation to use to many tools producing too much data that provides little to no value. Rather, select the core solutions that will add the most valuable data to your decision-making process. Take the time to really dissect and understand the data provided and most importantly how to take action to provide more personalized experiences.

This helps to solve an important question: what is the main problem facing the customer and what connects the brand to them?

Create a strategy that is fueled by your people.

Create a process that helps to understand your buyers. Identify who to target, how to reach them, and what to stand for. Take a real hard look at the motivation that drives them. These insights help to play a valuable role when determining strategic actions to take. A great tool is B2P’s Prospect Persona™.

Connect with your people through experiences

An effective strategy for CMO’s to consider is to move beyond the consuming task-driven role to a more strategic lens on who the customer is, what drives them and how can marketing work across the organization to ensure the customer experience is linking back to revenue.

The Forrester report, Use Customer Journey Mapping To Make Your Culture Customer-Obsessedoutlines real benefits of being customer-centric, namely these three:

  • Walking and talking like your people. Experiencing business through the eyes of a customer builds empathy and identifies bumps in the process that can be smoothed out as to improve future experiences.
  • Put your customer’s vision into practice: By having a visual representation of the customer’s journey, businesses better learn and understand the customer’s needs.
  • Align with your people. Once a business knows a customer’s existing behavior, it can make changes to turn existing into desirable and then predict future behavior. This allows a company to better serve its customers.

From a prospect’s first touch, to customer retention, and expansion—marketing should play a role at every stage. If the focus is data, the human side of the buying decision may be overlooked—instead focus on creating a great experience that creates a loyal customer for life. Personalization can be a solution to this marketing challenge. According to McKinsey “Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lift revenues by 5 to 15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30%.”

CMOs should aim to balance data-driven goals with the business challenge to execute against a long-term strategy that builds brand and customer loyalty. They need to ensure they are not only creating the story but that the story has the right messages to sustain the business for the long term. “Without the context of the overall business strategy, a CMO out on his or her own using the shiny new technologies can end up with a lot of one-off, disconnected marketing tactics, as opposed to an end-to-end experience,” said Scott Mager – Principal Deloitte Consulting.

Uncommon checklist items for developing a people, data-driven strategy

People + Data + Strategy = Success

  • Choose data that adds real insight and value and can drive solid business decisions
  • Integrate data to provide an accurate picture of a buying persona
  • Target your customers by looking at geos, verticals and specific decisions makers within each vertical
  • Develop a game plan by defining targeted accounts upfront to drive results better and faster  
  • Drive a great customer experience across marketing efforts

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