Ending internal marketing conflict


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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