Making Customer Centric Marketing Real

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: 

  1. Yahoo! had a product-centric culture, and in Cammie Dunaway's first 90 days, she met with stakeholders to drive profitable growh through customer insight.  How?  She met with the CFO to educate her on marketing.  She allowed others to define metrics for success like customer satisfaction.  Shared metrics and shared accountability allow for a focus on the customer.
  2. USAA, the nation's fourth largest auto and home insurer is strong in customer advocacy:  doing what's best for customers, not just the bottom line.  The details of their customer-centric culture?  New hires are led to understand the military life their customers lead; the company offers free financial advice to members; they've changed their billing cycle to sync up with military pay periods.  More customer contact means more insight through empathy and understanding.
  3. Del Monte derives 40% of its revenue from pet food and needs to sustain a competitive advantage through technology.  They connect with pet owners by mining the blogosphere for insight and learned that they're concerned about travel, entertainment, and hygiene.  Then, DelMonte created a private virtual community and created new products that draw on insight from that community. 

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