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Posted by David Cooperstein on October 10, 2013
Recently I have invested a fair amount of time with CMOs and agency executives, working through the challenges that marketing faces, especially as shiny new objects like social and mobile develop some patina and digital gets categorized as a mature channel. In a past post on Forbes I called the era we now live in a “post-digital” world for marketers, because the strategies that matter most are those that don’t start with the channel (i.e. mobile-first or digital-first). Marketers need to put themselves in their customers’ seat and define the marketing activities they take on from a customer-first perspective.
Two years ago, Josh Bernoff and I answered the question of where competitive success would come from in the future. In that research, we defined the era we now live in, the age of the customer (see report, client access required). We just updated that report. Since we expect that era to continue for the next 20 years, you need to know what has changed. The age of the customer is defined by a number of undeniable trends:
These trends force enterprises to be more flexible, more nimble, more global, and more connected than ever before. The only way to survive this era is to create a customer-obsessed enterprise, which we define in a report that George authored. This presents a vast opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to work together to deliver capabilities that were not possible in previous eras. They need to partner to develop the capability to:
Who will win in this era? Early contenders like GE Oil & Gas have tied technology to their products using sensors to both enhance the offer and inform the marketing team at the same time. And Amazon, the master of using data to find connections between products and present customer-obsessed offers, continues to add services that consumers (and businesses) never would have expected from a retailer, like discounted replenishment services and free shipping combined with annual video streaming.
The age of the customer and the effort needed to become obsessed with your customers are here. The mandate to change your approach to your customer is your only option — unless you want to watch your competition walk away with your prize.