The Marketing Decoder Ring

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In the 1950s, on the children's live-action adventure "Captain Midnight," the Secret Squadron was designed to combat evil. Squadron members used special decoder rings to decipher messages that no one else could understand. The secret deciphering and decoding power provided a competitive advantage that allowed the Secret Squadron to triumph over their evil opponents.


In the context of your marketing strategy, wouldn't it be great if you could slip on a special marketing decoder ring to decode your risk menace so prevalent with customer relationship management? Imagine interacting with your customers while the marketing decoder ring analyzes the probability of your most valuable customer defecting to your evil competition.


As a marketer, your days are filled with opportunity and risk. When you offer the right product, to the right customer, at the right time you build customer loyalty while maximizing customer lifetime value. If you don't know your customers, you can't fine-tune your marketing strategy. That means your marketing communications will not resonate with your intended audience, resulting in the risk of customer churn and product commoditization.


Building the "marketing-ready enterprise." The key to decoding marketing risk and creating a sustainable competitive advantage lies in the ability to successfully build a marketing-ready enterprise. How does the marketing-ready enterprise decode customer needs and values, and create a sustainable competitive advantage?


A marketing-ready enterprise creates a sustainable competitive advantage by profitably aligning the right customer with the right product, with the right message, at the right time. It does so, through key marketing technology enablers that allow marketers to analyze customer-buying trends, segment customers with precision, design targeted sales and marketing campaigns and measure ROI.


In short, marketing technology enablers make it possible to boost customer acquisition and retention, profitably cross-sell, and, in general, fine-tune your marketing mix.


Think of the marketing technology enablers in terms of the decoder ring. The core band of your marketing decoder ring is represented by comprehensive data management functionality. Advanced data management allows you to access and consolidate customer data regardless of system or origin. This allows you to leverage existing core back-office and front-office systems creating a complete view of the customer across the enterprise, leading to accurate calculations of profitability and risk.


Once the data management function has helped qualify, clean and organize the data so that you can see a consistent customer picture, your marketing decoder ring contains additional components to help you further decipher, decode and fine-tune your marketing strategy.


Sophisticated predictive analytical techniques help you analyze and explore the data. This helps you understand your customers' current and future behavior and personalize their experience. When you have thousands of customers with hundreds of attributes, predictive analytics enables your secret squadron to group customers into identifiable and marketable segments with an eye on the future. A definite advantage compared to core analytics that only look to a customer's current or past state.


The next component to your marketing decoder ring is campaign planning, execution and management capabilities. Campaign management functionality helps your secret squadron organize and execute end-to-end marketing programs. Support for marketing users, from brand managers, to power users who build lists and execute campaigns, ensures the creation of personalized marketing messages that insulate your customers from your evil competition.


Your marketing organization, like the Secret Squadron, faces resource constraints such as time, people and money. "Captain Midnight" episodes ran for 30 minutes, so you can guess how quickly the Secret Squadron cracked the code. However; most marketers still have no way to crack the optimal marketing mix code given organizational constraints. Advanced optimization techniques complete your marketing decoder ring to truly build a sustainable competitive advantage.


Marketing optimization creates effectiveness and efficiency by enabling marketers to plan and prioritize all outbound customer communications in order to maximize financial returns while balancing the enterprises ability to deliver and the likelihood each customer will respond.


Are you building a marketing-ready enterprise? How would you react to the following questions?


· Our marketing strategy clearly supports our customer relationship strategy?


· All data sources are identified and available to properly support marketing activities and initiatives?


· We can predict the customer lifetime value for each customer and customer segment?


· Customer-based campaigns are optimized to produce maximum efficiency, effectiveness and profitability?


· We are able to track marketing campaign response and campaign ROI?


· Our performance metrics provide accurate and useful information?


If those questions leave you with a feeling of doom, it's time to take action. If not, your 30-minute episode may conclude early.


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