Focus on the user experience and operating model
In my interactions with clients, many of them are like deer in headlights when they look at how complicated true customer relationship marketing (CRM) is. They say, “We’re just not ready.” “It’s too much change.” “I can only make progress in the small area of the business that I control.”
This realization leads to CMOs having to make some tough decisions about how their teams are organized; then chief operations officers COOs must make decisions about their teams; which leads to the need for technology to reach across multiple areas of the business; which means CIO involvement; which causes the need for the CFO to establish new finance metrics, budgets, KPIs, incentive systems, and all of the things that are involved from an operational perspective. All of this leads to discussions around the creation of new roles, like chief customer officer (CCO), in which case the CEO has to get involved. You get the point. The adoption of a customer-centric business strategy involves the whole executive suite in some capacity or another. It’s hard. And the impact is far-reaching. But, done right, it will lead to competitive advantage.
We see the market placing so much emphasis on the “Lumascapes” that illustrate the hundreds of companies involved in executing on the digital audience platforms. And while those technologies are crucial to implementing a customer-centric business strategy, we’ve reached the point where we have the tools to accomplish just about everything we need to do to capitalize on the opportunity of addressability at scale. But what good are the tools if we can’t deploy them to their fullest potential? You can put me in an operating room with state-of-the-art, laser-driven medical equipment, but I still cannot perform brain surgery. It’s no longer just about the capabilities themselves — it’s about building the operating models to utilize them.
The market is ready; if you’re not on board, you’re the problem.
For a marketer, all this is finally coming to a head — the promise of 1-to-1; the promise of digital as an effective media and channel; the promise of individually targeted media spend across all forums; the promise of measurability and accountability; the promise of business impact, the promise of competitive advantage – it’s all really here. You must get on your toes and figure out how it works in the organization or just shut it down, because it ends up being a distraction.
It’s fairly straightforward to build (or buy) capabilities, and you can do your best to champion them into the organization. But, in our experience, once you reach a level of sophistication where you can execute basic multi-channel programs, model integration, and campaign automation, it can be easy to stall. You have to rationalize the whole strategy; get the organizational buy in; and build the capability roadmap. Only then can you execute on the strategy. A “build it and they will come” mentality does not apply.
To illustrate, the figure below overlays capability maturity and operating model views onto the CRM maturity model that I addressed in a previous post. If you move too fast up the left side, you just waste resources and money on capabilities you can’t operationalize.
Too fast on the right can be equally disruptive, but it’s a management distraction, not a capability or economic disruption. You jump into changing your organizational design before you’re ready to execute on the new roadmap you’ve developed. We have a financial services client that recently named a chief customer officer (CCO). The role owned segmentation across the enterprise, but had no budget, no clear KPIs, and no designated team. The initiative didn’t last twelve months. Nobody knew what was going on, what constituted success, who was accountable for what. The key is finding the balance between developing the capabilities and then operationalizing them.
It’s really here — all those promises of customer relationship marketing that we’ve been chasing for 20 years — they’re all coming true. The key now is to stop buying capability assets that you’ll never fully monetize. Instead, build the roadmap that identifies the journeys you want your customers to experience across every facet of your business; the operating models that support those roadmaps; and the capabilities that support those operating models. In that order. You can’t do it the other way around anymore — it’s just too complicated, and it’s sure to fail.