Social media, user-generated content, personalization, predictive analytics. The list of tools and tactics available
to marketers is growing exponentially. It's an exciting time to be a customer relationship professional. There are so
many new technologies and strategies emerging that it can be hard to keep up. In this podcast excerpt, Don Peppers
and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., share their views with Managing Editor Elizabeth Glagowski about what they expect to see in 2008.
What was the most influential thing you saw in 2007 in terms of customer trends?
Martha Rogers: We are seeing a continued rise in the amount of influence customers have over each other. What a total stranger posts on a Web site -- reviewing a book, evaluating a product, or rating a hotel room -- actually has more influence than all the advertising that a company could ever create. In addition to that, we also see a huge rise in the influence of employees over customers and vice versa, not through official channels, but on Web sites and blogs.
More and more we're going to see how important it is for companies to build strong and trusting relationships with
their employees, to know that those employees are building strong and trusting relationships with customers, who have
such huge influence over each other.
Don Peppers: I think the trend toward consumer self-help is also very important. Consumers are taking charge of their own service, facilitated not just by the manufacturer but by Web 2.0 technologies and by other customers. I
think that it's a very big trend that marketing and customer service professionals can't ignore.
Would you consider the fact that many businesses are now more socially conscious an example of customer focus and trustworthiness?
Martha Rogers: I think that the social consciousness is certainly one part of that. A company that is really looking out for the community that it lives in, whether that's a local community or Mother Earth, is taking a responsibility toward its customers and its customer base.
In the coming year, what do you think will be top-of-mind for marketers and other customer relationship executives
in terms of strategy?
Don Peppers: I think there's a reasonable chance of an economic downturn, at least in the U.S. I hope I'm wrong. If there is a downturn, it will dominate businesspeople's thoughts. We think that even in a downturn -- especially in a downturn -- having strong customer relationships can be a real asset. Even investing in those customer relationships can be very important. It is the time to rethink your model, to rethink your strategy, to improve and upgrade what you're going to do when the economy begins to surge again.
Martha Rogers: I think what we're seeing more and more is a real emphasis on metrics. For years, customer satisfaction was at the top of the charts of things you might find in a marketing metrics toolkit. Now customer satisfaction is thought of as a more fundamental, base-level measure, and we see things like Net Promoter Score trying to serve a better purpose and give a deeper understanding of customers.
More important -- we're seeing tools that give marketers more financial accountability. I think that's exactly the right way to go. It's impossible to ask the rest of the organization to take marketing seriously if we're not engaged in financial measures.
It's a good start to take responsibility for how much value you create for the money you use, so campaign measures, Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) and Return on Marketing Resources (RMR) make sense. But we also have to understand how much our customers are worth today, and how much our actions today affect their value not only today but also tomorrow. I think that ability to tie customer value to shareholder value is going to become more important, using Return on Customer or other customer value management, even as we continue to understand better the returns on capital investment that we get from all our efforts. I think that we will move into an era of in which we understand more and more how much our efforts, innovations, and initiatives are going to influence the value that our customers bring to our shareholders, both today and in the future.
Hear more of what Don and Martha have to say in the 1to1 on the Run podcast, "
Peppers and Rogers Predict the Future."