About a year ago, I wrote a gentle but firm breakup letter from CMOs to the marketing funnel. They have a more attractive love interest who is in the relationship for the long haul; the perfect partner for the age of the customer. For many, calling it quits with the marketing funnel has been messy and difficult, leaving a lot of marketers desperate to move on, but pulled back to the familiar, comfortable arms of linear, campaign-driven, transaction-oriented marketing.
Like your best friend who was willing to be patient and forgiving as you repeatedly returned to your ex, it’s time I throw down the gauntlet: Commit to the customer life cycle or be left behind by your peers who get that the terms of engagement have changed. Loyalty, context, and relevance are the new black as customers outrun campaigns, have heightened expectations for brand interactions, and use mobile technology at remarkable scale. This is not the customer Elias St. Elmo Lewis was dealing with. Fundamentally different customer behavior demands new tools.
In the age of the customer, companies must be customer-obsessed, putting knowledge of and engagement with customers ahead of all other strategic and budget priorities. The customer life cycle is the framework that puts the customer at the heart of all activities, allowing the customers’ unique context and set of interactions define what their brand experience is.
About a year ago, I wrote a gentle but firm breakup letter from CMOs to the marketing funnel. They have a more attractive love interest who is in the relationship for the long haul; the perfect partner for the age of the customer. For many, calling it quits with the marketing funnel has been messy and difficult, leaving a lot of marketers desperate to move on, but pulled back to the familiar comfortable arms of linear, campaign-driven, transaction-oriented marketing.
I was lucky enough to spend some time in Kerala working with Indian classical musicians many years ago. I first arrived during the monsoon season, and along with the world-class thunderstorms that I watched from a thin rubber bath mat on the roof, I could see the jungles getting greener and the people happier. For thousands of years, monsoons have had significant economic, emotional, and cultural importance in India. Rain determines whether there will be food to eat, and monsoon season typically used to signal the long-awaited return home of soldiers to their wives. Classical music in India, unlike its Western counterpart, is always very attuned to time, place, and mood. Rāgas, the name given to Indian classical forms, have rules to help guide improvisations in the moment and the monsoon season has inspired the Malhar group of ragas, a formulation specifically attuned to the emotions, environment, and context of the monsoon season.
Marketing and advertising, like Indian music, has always been contextual. As far back as 1867, billboards were being rented by marketers in dense urban areas outside train stations, and even earlier, direct mail took demographics into account to determine which regions and people to deliver flyers to. The truth is, though, that targeting brush strokes were broad, with flesh and bone staff doing a much better job of understanding a moment, a customer’s intent, and what the best thing to say would be.
Engaging with perpetually connected customers is something you can't fake, and when you engage, you create expectations that need to be met. This is one of the key messages Yannick Grecourt, Head of Strategy and Marketing at Deutsche Bank Belgium, shared with me when I talked to him recently in preparation for his speech at our Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders EMEA.
Q: How does Deutsche Bank Belgium prioritize the most important channels for reaching customers?
A: Confronted with remarks on why other banks were developing new initiatives and we were not, we were forced to share our direction with all the internal divisions explaining the prioritization process. We decided to divide all channels into two categories: the managed and integrated channels, and the ‘non-integrated’ channels, and we used the customer journey to define all possible touch points. For the integrated category, the most important elements are alignment and relevancy, whereas for the non-integrated the judgment call is made based on the impact to the integrated channels.
Q: How do digital channels improve the advisor/client relationship?
A: A key impact of the financial crisis was the increasing involvement of clients in the management of their portfolio. As a consequence, clients were in search of more frequent contact but in a more and more digitalized environment. The development of a new advisory approach included a new online platform that has allowed us to align the tools we provide to our clients with the tools we use internally. As a matter of fact, our clients are sharing the same tools and information as our advisors do. Over time, clients are also getting used to how important/urgent a message is depending on the channel.
Last week, Forrester got about 700 of our friends together (ok, conference attendees) to figure out what is cool and what is critical in marketing today as well as what is likely to cross from the former to the latter. We had amazing presentations from major consumer goods, retail, insurance, and technology brands tackling these different issues.
Below, I have included the graphic illustrations of these presentations (courtesy of Kate Dwyer at Collective Next), highlighting the key takeaways from each. In them, you can see the stories and concepts that our speakers revealed to help the audience progress in this complex marketing world we now live in.
Branding is cool again, according to Chris Stutzman. He studied the relationship expressed by consumers between things like brand pride and brand uniqueness and how they influence premium prices and willingness to recommend. His insight: 21st century brands will be built on different foundations than 20th century brands, especially as they relate to what leads the marketing effort. Product-led brands will suffer as experience-led brands thrive (Note: His report will be coming out soon, but here is preview from Advertising Age).
At our Marketing Leadership Forum in April, Forrester Researcher Mike Glantz will be talking up TV in its future state with a panel made up of Comcast, ABC, and others. Here is a post written by Mike about his upcoming panel and a report he is working on. Enjoy!
Marketers have struggled with accurately measuring their reach across TV and digital media platforms. Today’s TV watchers multitask with digital devices, fluidly moving between platforms and expecting a seamless experience. In this complex world, marketers need standardized data sets to measure:
Cross-platform reach. In an increasingly fragmented ecosystem, marketers need to know their total reach across TV and digital video platforms.
Social engagement with their TV brand. The connection between social media and TV can no longer be denied after this year’s Super Bowl. With viewers embracing social media to chat about what they are watching in real time, brand marketers need to be able to measure their brands’ reach across the social graph.