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"What's in the black box?" Nick Primola asked during his presentation at Forrester's 2011 Customer Experience Forum. "The customer relationship. It's not the next shiny object or product models to sell. It's a relationship founded in mutual trust and mutual value."

"What's in the black box?" Nick Primola asked during his presentation at Forrester's 2011 Customer Experience Forum. "The customer relationship. It's not the next shiny object or product models to sell. It's a relationship founded in
mutual trust and mutual value."Primola, senior vice president, director of direct marketing, for Citizens Financial Group, went on to say that database marketers tend to take a transaction-focused, product-centric view. At Citizen's, however, the company's value proposition is customer centricity, "and direct marketing must deliver on that promise," he said. One way that happens is through collaboration. "Stakeholder alignment is key."

Customers, he added, want you to "know me." So, Citizen's uses attitudinal segmentation, customer transaction data, and predictive analytics, among other tools, to make its communications more meaningful, Primola said. And as response models improve over time, the view of the customer becomes increasingly clear. "We want to continue to evolve our ability to predict customer behavior," he said.

Ultimately, Primola said, the goal is to listen for a customer need and respond with a solution. Marketing can do that -- demonstrate the business' understanding of that customer need -- through relevant interactions. Doing so helps to deliver the value and build the trust integral to fostering long-term customer relationships.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION