Is the Customer Your Corporate Marketer?

Marketing must extend beyond marketing in the new customer empowered marketplace.

I've spent a lot of time on the marketing roller coaster. I'm here to tell you that the thrill of the ride is fantastic. Finding new sources of data to feed our customer profile databases is yet another step in draping the customer with a web of knowledge that says, we know who you are. We know what you want. We will push offers and messages to you across all channels as we see fit (and hope we don't make you mad).

This three-dimensional sphere of anonymous and authenticated data from first, second, and third-party sources seems to be marketers' crowning achievement. Why? Because that sphere of knowledge and the data contained therein is the gateway to acquiring and retaining more customers. That's what marketers do. At least that's what we think we do.

We create our "360-degree" marketing environment which we leverage to sell our brand, products, and services. Yet, the customer blocks our ads and develops sophisticated email rules in their email client to send our marketing messages directly to the trash bin. We counter with new marketing technology and the customer counters with new anti-marketing technology.

The real issue at hand here is that marketing must extend beyond marketing in the new customer empowered marketplace. The customer knows what you sell. They also know there are 10 other brands that sell what you sell. You have become the new eight-letter word that customers loathe to speakmarketer. Hey, at least you aren't the new four-letter word that society has deemed "inappropriate." But, there is a moral to this story. Marketing beyond marketing has meaning. Let's figure out what that is.

Construction of a customer 360-degree view is only the beginning. How you use it is what's important. It takes data, content, and delivery to make an impact at the point of customer interaction. The bottom line is that if you're going to overwhelm that customer with an incredible experience, it's about having the right data for that customer at the time of interaction and, doing it without being "creepy."

Customer interaction must be intuitive for both the customer and the company during the engagement. The perception of a unified database as an endpoint is misleading. It's important, but it is the means to the end, not the end itself. The real value is in being able to pull together the pieces of information that are relevant to a particular customer and specific interaction with the intent of creating a customer experience that is personal and rewarding for the customer beyond your and their imagination. The delivery of that customer experience has become the corporate brand. If you capture that customer's respect and trust through that experience, then you can market the products and services that customer is interested in which you should already know.

From the corporate point of view, marketing beyond marketing is the ability to use the mounds of data and turn it into actionable insights that apply to the customer of the moment. The combination of talent for the customer interaction team extends beyond the marketer to the data analyst, the creative professional, search experts, IT specialists, and sales to close the deal. The pot of gold at the end of the conversion rainbow is the acquisition of new customers that you retain and mature into repeat customers that are loyal in delivering a lifetime value to your company far beyond the revenue earned today.

The new corporate brand is not a just a physical reality but rather an emotional and perceptive one in which when the customer sees your corporate logo, he can picture his face right next to it as an advocate for the products your produce and services you offer. Your objective is to tap the tremendous power of being part of the customer's inner circle of family and friends. That is, after all, the most important source for any customer in getting advice and recommendations on what product to buy.