As it often does, the New Year holiday and all the corresponding online retrospectives caused me to look back. I realized that my marketing career has coincided with several major waves of innovation. Marketers started the century discussing one-to-one marketing and lifetime value, then moved to a focus on total customer experience and loyalty. At the same time, an emphasis on direct marketing migrated into a more general focus on outbound marketing, enabled by the email platforms that were evolving. Those systems in turn matured into today’s marketing automation systems with capabilities for analytics and nurturing. The newsletters companies used to blast via email have today expanded into multi-channel, inbound content marketing programs. And that change list doesn’t even touch on the new channel choices like social media and blogs!
All that change means today’s marketers have to be well-informed, tech-savvy, and strategic. No more arts and crafts. We have to thinking about how all the tools, data and content can work together for optimal customer loyalty and corporate ROI. At the same time, corporations have to understand and appreciate how all this can come together…adoption and support of new best practices is critical for proof of concept and continued evolution.
Earlier this week I spoke to a leading business outsourcing services firm that is moving to a total customer experience focus. They see the Marketing function and all its new tools as a natural advocate and caretaker for the customer experience. I love the concept. In fact, I’ll take it a step further, and say that Marketing has the potential to become the intersection of customer experience and corporate identity. Instead of chest-thumping about market leadership, companies now have the opportunity to build relationships and reputations based on customer interactions. By focusing on the customer, defining itself as a trusted advisor/partner, and using marketing & sales automation tools as integrated CXP platforms, companies can transform.
Creating that customer/company intersection sounds simple, but it takes vision, commitment – and organizational maturity to dismantle silos and resolve disconnects. As the external/internal interface, Marketing is in the position to lead the way. As I look forward fifteen years, I believe we will see many companies strategically adopting Transformational Marketing. Are you ready?