Elevating The CI Role Within The Organization

I've had two reports go live in the past week or so which, although we worked on them separately, are in some ways related. First, we argue that Customer Intelligence needs to get out of the weeds to demonstrate value. CI professionals seek to fill a strategic function at their organizations, but many are stuck grappling with the basics -- integrating data, struggling to evolve beyond direct marketing channels, and neglecting inbound marketing.

Today, Tamara Barber and I launched two reports on which we collaborated to understand the intersection and interplay between market insights and CI. We found that, for Customer Intelligence professionals, collaborating with market insights will help to elevate the CI role and that, collectively, they can bring the organization closer to becoming an intelligent enterprise.

This isn't something for every company, and it is something that will require work, but we show that firms can create competitive advantage if they invest the time and resources to build a shared CI and MI culture, align processes, integrate the relevant data, rationalize technology decisions, liaise collectively and directly with business functions, and adopt shared metrics.

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Epsilon's Data Breach: A Wake Up Call For The Entire CI Industry

On April 1, 2011, Epsilon announced that it had detected an unauthorized entry into its email system, and that, as a result, a subset of its email clients’ customer data was exposed to an external party. The company indicates that the information was limited to email addresses and/or customer names only. The company is also limited in the information that it can share due to an ongoing investigation.

Epsilon plays in the “permission email” game — it is a legitimate player and certainly not a spammer. It has big and significant email customers — this weekend, I received emails from Disney, Best Buy, and Brookstone, and I’ve read about other notifications from Chase, Citigroup, Barclays, and Kroger. On the one hand, some of the press headlines would lead to a big shoulder shrug — the fact that a spammer might now have my name as well as my email address really doesn’t raise that much concern for me.

But I like to think I’m relatively tech savvy. What about others that might receive an email — addressed correctly apparently from a marketer that they trust that asks for more information or asks for them to take specific action? The emails that I’ve seen from the companies above have been well written and designed to offset some of that concern.

My bigger question is the long-term impact for marketers and service providers. Specifically:

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