Ending internal marketing conflict

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In recent years, corporate marketing organizations have divided and subdivided into specialized units, such as acquisition, retention and revenue. These units all want to own the customer, and this fragmentation of the marketing function represents a serious threat to customer-focused excellence.


The enterprise's most valuable assets — customers and its relationship with them — are at stake. Unfortunately, company leaders generally remain unaware of the risks they face as various marketing and business units struggle for power over customers. These groups are often managed out of separate departments, engage separate agencies and employ different data to make decisions. As a result of this conflict, customer value is eroding; marketing strategy is misaligned with operations; marketing messaging is disjointed and bifurcated, and marketing measurement is clouded by double counting.


What can be done? By introducing a unified — and unifying — framework that integrates marketing resources, processes and technologies across disparate functional groups within the marketing organization and across the business, companies will be able to reach their customers more effectively, and with a unified voice. This will result in a more cohesively planned and executed customer experience and, ultimately, a more valuable, satisfied and loyal customer base.


There are four steps to creating a unified framework. The first step is to solidify corporate and brand strategy. This is a good opportunity to review the customer base in the context of corporate and brand strategy, which should lead to the creation of cross-functional teams that will ultimately focus on delivering the optimal customer experience across every available touch point, with representation from each stakeholder group. There is no single right way to accomplish this; it may involve creating a steering committee (a unit that “owns” the enterprise's customer experience) or another strategy, depending on the organization.


The second step is to create a customer experience grid that identifies and introduces a specific process that allows shared custody of customers, instead of a chain of custody. By populating the grid, the company also identifies specific staff resources necessary to deliver an exceptional experience. Also, this grid identifies what data are needed and where those data reside. Rather than building disconnected data marts and performing analytical exercises that aren't related to the optimal customer experience, the grid framework enables an organization to quickly build out databases based on defined business problems and customer-facing imperatives.


The third step is to identify high-value points in the customer life cycle, defining which customer-facing groups are going to handle specific tasks and interactions, and how those people can be empowered with more data, as well as new processes and technology. The key disciplines in an effective customer value optimization program include customer intelligence management and customer strategy optimization. These disciplines ensure that profitability analysis, predictive modeling and customer segmentation result in timely and effective strategies that meet customer needs and target specific financial objectives.


Measure, refine and repeat the process.


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