Connected to vs. Connecting with Customers. Is There A Difference?

The word ‘connected” is synonymous with our digital age.

We are super-connected through technology to everything going on in our world and the world at large. And Big Data has allowed our businesses to bring together many small pieces of information to analyze and construct real or notional links, particularly when it comes to the relationship our customers have with our brands.

So, we are definitely connected. But are we connecting? 

Connecting, in my opinion, is still a hi-touch endeavor. It requires whole brain thinking, the skills the human brain is built to perform. Ned Hermann first developed the whole brain thinking model while head of Management Development at General Electric. He conducted scientific research that led to “the understanding of individual thinking preferences and thwhole-brain-model-2016e thinking preferences of others” and developed methodologies to show us how to act outside our preferred thinking preferences.

In other words, he developed a system by which we could use our brains to understand how others are thinking and build balanced teams that benefit from individual strengths to creatively problem-solve, innovate, and even transform the way we work. A practice now second nature in market research, marketing and management thinking.

When it comes to developing and growing strong customer relationships we need to engage our whole brain to make sure we are both connected (the analytical and practical) and connecting (the experimental and relational).

Yet, oftentimes, we find ourselves paying more attention to the analytical and practical (the data) and not the experimental or relational aspects that are more intuitively driven and qualitative in nature. Therefore, we miss out on half the thinking required to creatively solve the marketing business challenges we face.

According to a survey published in February of 2016 by IBM (Redefining Markets: The CMO Point of View), more than two-thirds of CMOs regard developing deeper, richer customer experiences as their top marketing priority. Yet, nearly 80% of consumers feel the average brand doesn’t understand them as individuals.

The problem for many marketers is that their departments, processes, technologies, and strategy aren’t integrated and this results in a fragmented and disparate approach to customers, their lifecycle and their relationship with the brand. Data is interpreted differently, priority customer groups are not organized with a cohesive relationship strategy, and a strategic roadmap is not visualized to capture omni-channel behaviors or deliver the right messaging on the right channel at the right time.

The outcome? We don’t develop an integrated process that engages the principles of whole brain thinking, create a closed loop solution that takes advantage of both the science (the data) and the art (the creative thinking and customer journey maps) to efficiently and effectively turn data into actionable customer insights, messages, and content that advances action and realizes a return on our marketing investment.

Success in the customer relationship business is hard to come by in today’s highly competitive environment, omni-channel landscape. An environment and landscape where the customer is, by and large, in control.  Let’s make sure we are being proactive with what we do control and strive to be both connected to and connecting with our customers to give all of us the best chance of success.


About the Author:
Connie is passionate about customer relationship strategy and truly understands consumer behavior. An executive level advisor for some of the world’s most prestigious brands, Connie has a track record of delivering game changing customer strategy alongside significant bottom line results. Through the years, companies such as GE Capital, Intuit software, and Costco Wholesale have sought Connie’s expertise. Connie is President and Founder of VeraCentra, a Customer Relationship Agency.

VeraCentra’s Closed Loop Solution is an integrated approachveracentra-closedloop-final2

 that brings together our relationship strategy and data scientist teams to overcome technology and data challenges to help yield actionable customer insights. And our Journey design services coupled with our digital platform integration team work in parallel to advance action, creating and automating customer messages. Our Closed Loop Solution is fully integrated, allowing you to realize a quick return on your customer relationship marketing investment.