The ever-increasing pressure of on-demand customers, complex purchase behaviors, and the need to drive loyalty and revenue, creates a real need for marketers and analysts to overcome their differences, work collaboratively and find a common language. Only then will these two seemingly different “animals” be able to increase customer loyalty, boost marketing relevancy, and increase revenue.
A Harvard Business Review Article: Don’t Let Big Data Bury Your Brand lays out the issue quite succinctly. “At the pizza chain, Domino’s, we heard from Russell Weiner, then the CMO (now the president), that the complexities of the new data environment can’t be mastered by the jack-of-all-trades marketer of the past. Just as the most creative marketers aren’t the best data people, analytic professionals usually lack the skills, the experience, and perhaps even the “internal wiring” to excel at brand, image, and creativity.”
Understanding Each Others Challenges.
As the emphasis on predicable customer behaviors expands to include multiple touch points and channels, so must the role of the analyst expand to create more value for marketing. Today’s consumer is highly dynamic, shops across multiple channels, and seeks immediate gratification. Marketing cannot rely on “what happened yesterday”, past campaign performance, or what the customer bought last year. While historic views are important and have their place, a more predictive, or in the moment, approach provides greater value for today’s marketing strategy. Predicative methods reduce risk, help manage investments for the greater returns, and support the creation of more relevant and timely customer interactions.
Likewise, marketing needs to understand and appreciate the limitations that exist for the analytic teams. Oftentimes analytic teams are under-tooled and under staffed. Marketers must also appreciate that data is never perfect; data quality is often an issue, or use of data for marketing purposes may be foreign to an analyst with a financial or operational background. Sometimes the best help marketing can provide to their internal analyst partners is to bring in external analysts who understand marketing. External analysts, with marketing expertise, not only alleviate the under-tooled and under staffed pressures, but can also offer a different perspective to your internal group.
In working with both marketers and analysts over the years, one thing is certain: collaborating on an over-arching customer strategy and agreeing on the business objectives is the key to finding a common a language rooted in common ground.
Finding a Common Strategy
To find common ground, we have found that the best approach is for marketers and analysts to leverage the Customer Lifecycle Model as a foundational strategy. As we all know, getting as complete a picture as possible of how the customer travels on their path to purchase is critical to our success, and it provides many opportunities for analysts and marketers to work together to identify how to extend a customer’s lifetime value, drive loyalty, and generate more revenues. (read my blog on The Great Data Digital / Non Digital Divide for more on that subject).
The lifecycle strategy combines the need for strategic customer insight and predictive models. In our recently published study, Fulfilling The Relevancy Promise, which we commissioned from Forrester Consulting, 59% of marketers reported they are challenged in generating customer insights. Additionally, only 44% embrace a customer lifecycle model (you can download the full study here). Working together and using the lifecycle model as a foundational framework, analysts and marketers can leverage the data needed to uncover the insights that help drive loyalty strategies.
While there are multiple analytics that support a lifecycle strategy, I’ll leave you with a few simple, yet powerful, examples:
- To optimize your investment in new customers, identify, through segmentation and propensity models, those customers likely to deliver the highest long term value.
- To expand share of wallet, use affinity techniques to match the appropriate offer based on previous customer purchases.
- Fight customer attrition using churn models which can identify the early signs of potential defection and preempt customer churn with corrective actions. This type of analysis also supports customer engagement strategies early in the lifecycle—as was the case for our client, PriceSmart (a membership retail model like Costco Wholesale). The key to member renewal, for PriceSmart, was not the communication at the tail end of the renewal cycle, but relevant and meaningful communication early in the relationship and an ongoing messaging plan through-out the year. You can download the full PriceSmart case study here.
Additional reading on this subject:
Harvard Business Review: Don’t Let Big Data Bury Your Brand
Fulfilling The Relevancy Promise: A Research Study commissioned by VeraCentra from Forrester Consulting
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 approach that brings together 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.