Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To be customer centric or not - be both

Today's FT has an article that covers some of the arguments that have been bouncing around the subject of marketing for as long as I can remember. Sorry it is behind a paywall.

Should you focus on customer acquisition or retention?

Do customers/prospects know what they want until it is stuck in front of the noses?

Should we treat all customers the same?

The technology that we use to deal with these issues might have changed but the core dilemma is the same as it was back in the days of Methuselah.

Recently we have had Steve Jobs forcibly telling us that nobody every said they wanted an iPad until they had one in their hands. This seems to have bent the argument in favour of new product development coming from innovative geniuses rather than focus group feedback.

We can monitor terabytes of online babble to understand the health of a brand and to reach the super influencers who hold the keys to a brand's success.

We have to be careful that we don't get too carried away with these arguments and ignore the one thing that we know that works but we invariably fail to do - make the path from a consumer's first interest in our brand to the point that they unwrap and use our product and service as efficient, enjoyable, fun, short, stress-free etc as possible.

This omission applies to the way we deal with all generations but especially older consumers who may not have the physical robustness or patience to put up with the barriers that brands construct throughout the customer journey.

The trouble is your customer sees your organisation and your products  as a single entity. I bet you see the customer as somebody that passess through multiple processes in your organisation that are not coordinated or driven by the same priorities.  Dick Stroud

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