Gary Skidmore, Corporate Officer and Executive Vice President at Harte-Hanks shared some tangible examples of companies that embody customer centricity. Skidmore emphasized that companies should make their customers "fanatical" about their brands. Whose customers are fanatical? Starbucks: customers, who are treated as individuals with the ability to customize their drink orders, were in a tizzy over the company's Make It Your Drink promotion where they could get their drink order printed on a custome T-shirt. Apple: iTunes users also thrive on customization. Like custom-designed snowflakes, no two playlists are the same, and Skidmore treasures the playlist his daughters created for him. But customization isn't the only way to put customers in the driver's seat. How else then? Skidmore showed that focusing on employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction. Companies like Goog
Peter Kim addressed the Marketing Forum about how to make customer-centric marketing real. To introduce the idea he connected Miami to Spring Break to Girls Gone Wild to Miami again to Senior Citizens to Hanging Chads to Al Gore to his film, An Inconvenient Truth, to the idea that his house consumes 10x more electricity than any other house in the city: wanting to save the environment is easier than actually doing it. Just like wanting to practice customer-centric marketing is difficult, too. But it is super important: customers have high expectations and social computing has shifted power to consumers. Pete said that customer centricity is in the details. His examples? Wal-Mart's failures in blogging and social computing illustrate that customer centricity is easy to say and hard to do. Three examples of marketers who practice customer centricity through metrics, culture, and technology:
It's the day before our Marketing Forum. I came down to Miami early to sit in on Forrester's Direct Marketing Council meeting, and I was surprised by the different methods marketers use to find the analytics staff they need. Their overall challenges? Building a consistent definition of the customer, measuring campaigns and media mix (among other things), and justifying their actions to senior management. Companies look for a combination of skills in modern database marketers: heavy data abilities and strong interpersonal skills. That combination -- folks who know data and can translate the numbers and analysis into business language -- is rare. So where do companies find these yellow diamonds? A few recruit from MBA programs with personal recommendations from academic connections. Others take antithetical approaches: some find folks with analytical prowess and develop their business acumen so they can use data strategically; others train skilled business people from outside of database marketing on modeling. Talent is hard to find, but no official word on which recruitment approach works best.
Winter is still blowing strong here in Boston, which is one reason we're all looking forward to Forrester's Marketing Forum in Miami, April 11-12. The theme? Reinventing Marketing for Customer Centricity -- it's been a key part of our research. Five event tracks focus on 1) Organization and Culture, 2) Tactics and Best Practices, 3) Partners and Technology, 4) Measurement, Metrics, and ROI, and 5) Customer Data and Insight. Why should you join us? Your customers' behavior looks different daily and continues to morph; new channels attract your attention; you need help keeping up, changing, and justifying marketing's role in defining a new strategy. Not to mention we have some fantastic speakers: analysts from our own Marketing research team and other research teams and outside speakers like Lester Wunderman, the "father" of direct marketing, and Eric Kintz, CMO at HP. As we get closer to the Forum, we'd like to hear from you: How is your marketing organization starting to become more customer-centric? And, what would you most like to gain from our Marketing Foru