Is It Data Overload or Lack of Vision?

Marketing technology explodes. Virtually every customer interaction is captured in the Cloud. Customers expect companies to make relevant messages based on their buying habits with their favored brands. Yet many companies fail to grant customers what they want most -- recognition that they are a valuable customer to the company.

In a recent post at Customer Intelligence Blog, Tony Coretto writes the headline: "IBM Study Reveals CMOs Unprepared for "Data Explosion".

As businesses become more sophisticated in capturing data on every facet of the customer interaction, they’ve accumulated an enormous treasure-trove of information. However, as this study reveals, in most cases they don’t know what to do with it!

Heck. I'd be happy if retailers and other large businesses even bothered to maintain a customer database and used the tracking capabilities offered by their present POS vendors.

Why do so many companies lag behind the technology, tracking and data gathering process? And even if they do stay on top of the technology, they have failed to develop the talent and resources needed to turn analysis into action!

In my view, the future belongs to marketers who master the dashboard and know what to look for when analyzing the available data. These same marketers also know how to work closely with the CIO and CEO to break down the silos that make data gathering and its translation into action possible.

We must become ruthless in our zeal to help our clients and the companies we work for break away from making decisions based on what was done in the past. Great marketing decisions are founded on customer buying behavior.

But I think the real reason more companies have not grasped the power of customer intelligence to treat customers like, well... customers resides squarely in the hands of the CEO. Without a great CEO, a potentially great marketer stands little chance of making great contributions to the company.

The business vision should not revolve around operations, money management, acquisition, or European expansion. As important as all of these things are, they pale in comparison to the importance of creating many happy customers.

As the late Peter Drucker said:

...the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.

Posted on December 5, 2011 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, Database Marketing.