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Why Everyone Owns the Customer, Especially Marketing – 8 Insights

Customer Data

Most businesses today are failing to turn big data into valuable customer insights and new value. That’s because most businesses have no clear idea of who owns the customer, and who’s in charge.

In business, here’s the bottom line value of big data: to figure out why someone is willing to take their limited amount of money and purchase your products or services, and what will prompt them do it more in the future.

Here’s how to understand who owns the customer, and how to lead:

1. Business in Upheaval

Marketing today is undergoing unprecedented change. The most recent time that saw this much change was the dot.com era in the late 1990s. But what’s happening today is much more profound: big data, which is fueling explosive growth in the adoption of marketing technologies.

2. From Push to Centric

The value of big data is to know your customer. Whereas in the past, customer engagement was defined by push, today it’s much more customer-centric. Rather than generic mass messaging, businesses today craft tailored engagement with each and every individual.

3. Who Owns the Customer?

Customer data is the most valuable asset in business today. So who’s in charge of this data? Who owns the customer? Does marketing own the customer? The fact is, only 7% of all Fortune 500 officers are in marketing. That means that 93% are not.

4. Doubt and Confusion

When I meet with clients at C-suite level, I often do a straw poll: raise your hand if you think you’re in control of the customer. Invariably, there’s doubt and hesitation. Then slowly CEOs might raise their hands a little, finance follows, slowly a couple others. Ultimately, members of all departments eventually raise their hands.

5. Collective Process and therein lies the truth:

Regardless of where data came from, valuable insights are being collected by the entire organization. Because today all departments touch the customer and gather data, customer ownership is a collective process.

6. Marketers at Center

But while the customer today is owned by the organization collectively, it’s the job of marketers to consolidate this information and make sense of it. Marketers must distill big data to the key points, answering the key questions, revealing the next smartest, most profitable action.

7. Consolidate and Analyze

There are more than 1000 vendors of marketing technology today, so choices need to be made. Since it’s the job of marketers make sense of the data, marketers need to adopt technology and systems that consolidate and provide the big picture view to the rest of C suite.

8. All Data, Databases

Marketers need a technology that reports across all of the essential key performance indicators (KPIs), including customers, marketing, sales, finance, and more. And they need technology that works with any database, including customer relationship management, marketing automation, enterprise resource planning and more.

Conclusion: In the era of big data, every department owns the customer. But it’s up to marketers to bring the data together, and make financial sense of it. It’s up to marketers to adopt the right systems and technology, to create big value from big data.

By Jeff Winsper

Jeff is the President of Black Ink and offers more than 20 years of leadership experience in marketing, serving companies ranging from Fortune 500 to start ups.

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