The McKinsey article “We’re all marketers now” explains how this new era of engaging customers are requireing commitment from the entire company and how that means the marketing organisation must be redefined and adapted.
Peter Drucker once made the profound observation:
“Because 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. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
I think he would be in agreement that the external challenges give marketing the rightful focus/importance it needs.
The article explains how the four dimensions Design, Build, Operate and Renew must change and how the C-suite has to make this a collaborative effort. Marketing is the customer engagement engine for the other departments. Besides this, marketing is opening up -due to social media and co-creation- and therefore is the engine for external stakeholders as well.
Two conclusions were key to me, interaction and responsibility plus the shift to a more data and science based marketing.
Interaction and responsibility
The starting point is a mind-set shift around customer interaction touch points. Companies typically think of them as being “owned” by a given function: for instance, marketing owns brand management; sales owns customer relationships; merchandising or retail operations own the in-store experience. In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience.
At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.
These hit the nail on its head. The total customer experience is key and is created by a concatenation of touch points with clients. This has implications for the internal organisation, namely that responsibility for these touch points interactions belongs to more than one department and supply chain.
This is in line with the Agile Commerce concept of Forrester Research:
organisations are forced to be customer-centric, to think along them instead of internal structures. Social Media is increasing the challenge, it’s almost used for every touch points, adding real-time and transparency to the equation. Second challenge is how to create a holistic customer experience with all these means and touch points.
Data focus of marketing
Marketing is going to become a much more science-driven activity.
Generating rich customer insights, always central to effective marketing efforts, is more challenging and important in today’s environment. Companies must listen constantly to consumers across all touch points, analyse and deduce patterns from their behaviour, and respond quickly to signs of changing needs.
The rich and real-time data provided by social media play an important role to this data focus. It’s an additional data stream that gives insight in the person behind the customer in order to create valuable and meaningful relationships. This enforces Kotler’s Marketing 3.0 vision as well and Social Media data creates mutual understanding between a brand and a customer.
The amount of data is becoming bigger and bigger. Add the “Internet of Things” to it and mining all this data, extracting actionable insights is becoming vital for the organisation.
Social media data provides intelligence on customers, market and competitors, uncovering unmet needs and informing departments and business strategy. This data enriches fact and evidence based strategies.
The two discussed points reinforce each other. By having continuous insights on how customers behave and look for, the customer experience can be adapted and enriched. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business and co-creation is amplifies the uniquenesses. By opening up the organisation to its external stakeholders, unique “value networks” are being created (in opposite of a value chain) than enhances the competitiveness of the organisation.
Open Business as redefinition of the Marketing organisation
Open Businesses open their activity directly and indirectly to external stakeholders through the use of social media, its data and technologies for the purpose of competitive advantages in marketing, service- and product innovation.
Customer engagement and value co-creation in an Open Business is both a means and an end. It’s creating unique perceived experiences by providing personal value and it informs marketing which can create better products and services for the intented customers.
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