The Most Successful Businesses Will Be Customer Obsessed Says Forrester’s Sheryl Pattek
“The world is changing and it’s time to get customer obsessed,” Sheryl Pattek, VP & Principal Analyst, CMO and Marketing Leadership Practice Forrester Research told the audience of marketing technologists at the MarTech conference in Boston Wednesday.
In her talk entitled “Making Marketing Thrive in the Age of the Customer,, Pattek shared the work she and her team at Forrester have done to understand the tectonic shift occurring with customer experiences today and ways in which companies must adapt.
We’ve entered the age of the customer. We believe we are at the beginning of a 20 year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically serve their customers.
As such, marketing should no longer about optimizing the channel, but about optimizing the entire customer engagement and telling consistent stories across all customer touch points.
Pattek pointed to Delta as an example of a company that has adapted to merge the brand experience with the customer experience. The airline has developed cheeky in-flight safety videos, rolled out a new mobile app and designed terminal areas that feature desks where people can work, order food from iPads and get status updates on their flights.
Technology is what is driving these shifts in customer expectations. Pattek challenges companies to be “digital disruptors.”
Zipcar is a company that has used technology to upset an entire industry, says Pattek. Digital businesses open doors to new business models and partnerships and the on-the-fly car rental agency is impacting the supply chain as Millennials view car ownership not as a privileged but as a burden. Why own when you can just rent a car from your phone when you need one?
Speaking of phones, its’ no secret businesses need to “embrace a mobile mind shift”. Pattek’s simple slide says it all: customers want immediacy, simplicity and context for convenient mobile experiences.
Companies that can mine big data and look at new data sets for new insights that impact overall business strategies. That may take the form of in-market research, as in the example of Starbucks finally figuring out that breakfast food sales were lagging because people were going to fast food outfits for hot food. As a result, Starbucks is now starting to incorporate warm food options as a result of that study.
So how what should companies do now to ensure they are truly leading with customer obsession? First, align the organization to the customer and move away from a product line or channel-based focus. Pattek says organization structures must change and pointed to Dell, Dow, HSN and Erie Insurance as businesses that are shifting how they go to market based on new customer focused organization structures.
Then IT and marketing need to align to support the full customer life cycle. Together, the CIO and CMO should engage to find solutions that will enable the organization to engage customers across each stage of the life cycle and have a single view of the customer.
Pattek’s closing call, “Get customer obsessed. The customer has changed forever and you need to rethink how you win, serve and retain empowered customers.”
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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