Turning Customer Information Into Actionable Insight: B2B's Date With Big Data?

Here at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, one announcement that’s creating buzz among the 6000-plus attendees is a new customer profiling feature. Called Master Marketing Profile (MMP), Adobe says this new capability gives marketers a view of customer data that spans a broad range of third-party systems, real-time analytics, and behavioral sources. (First of its kind in the industry? Not sure; Demandbase may care to differ, but I’ll let them settle that score separately.)

Dynamic customer profiling is something all marketers should get excited about.

It’s the type of technology evolution, when coupled with the right marketing practices, that is closing the gap between the amount of data available to us as marketers and our ability to get value from it. From my perspective, B2B marketers need to make a date with their big data destiny, and the time to schedule this appointment is now.

Empowered business buyers — sporting digital devices giving them information about and access to the products they want as consumers — now bring these always-on, always addressable expectations into the office. This presents big problems to B2B marketers, content to lead with products and features, who now find they need to fulfill these expanding digital expectations by getting closer to customers and knowing much more about them — a tough problem if access to, quality of, and practices around using customer data are underdeveloped.

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Can Regulated Industries Thrive In The Age Of The Customer?

In 2010, we entered a new 20-year business cycle where successful companies will be those that better understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. But what happens when government authorities with very specific rules about how companies communicate with customers regulate these interactions?  

House Financial Services CommitteeWealth management, insurance, and pharmaceuticals come to mind as example industries where marketers and relationship managers feel this oversight most acutely. How do you thrive in the age of the customer when how you interact — and the data you maintain — is controlled by law? 

These are questions that I plan to explore next week with marketing and client experience executives from the financial services industry at "The Forward Thinker" sponsored by EarthIntegrate. Thinking through the issues around how to be more customer-obsessed in an industry where every communication could be monitored or audited, I believe that the main challenge is not to stray outside the regulatory guidelines while meeting growing client expectations for responsive, online, anytime, anywhere engagement — all while maintaining the intimacy that high-net-worth investors, for example, expect of their advisor relationships or that insurance members expect of brokers. 

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Marketing-Obsessed Marketers Need To Become Customer-Obsessed

View this post as it originally appeared on Forbes.

This winter has kept many of us, especially those east of the Mississippi, out of malls and instead hunkered down in our homes. The weather is not the brutal part, though. I have been exposed to a lot more commercials in my hibernation (in part because Hulu doesn’t let you skip them), and I can honestly say that, as a marketing analyst, the link between the agency pitch, the production, and the delivery leaves a lot missing along the way.

There are, of course, those ads that put a lump in your throat and use those heartstrings to cause you to act (or at least put it on your wish list). These ads that relay a strong emotional bond, leading you to act, are typically more aware of you than you realize. But then there are the ads that you shake your head at. “What were they thinking?” you may ask as you scratch your head after a Geico “Portraits Gallery: George Washington” commercial or GoDaddy “Bodybuilder” ad. Sure they may be clever, but are they useful? Do they really get the register to ring?

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