Marketers often talk about becoming more customer-centric, but to succeed, one needs to invest both time and money, Russel Parsons writes for marketingweek.com.
Real customer-centricity requires the right investment
We can probably all agree on that it is the customer who decides (often emotionally based), and the marketers only act as the courtiers when it comes down to making a purchase. Although this is somewhat stating the obvious for anyone who works with marketing, it is still important to get reminded of this natural synergy, says Parsons.
Emotions aside, Parsons believes that the technological development that is taking place can be used to rethink the idea of why some campaigns work, and others do not.
He believes that what is needed is a clear-headed analysis of the tools and technology used to create customer insight. Companies also need to secure the processes and structures that are necessary to ensure that it is the customer’s views, and not the company’s own, that is shown when collecting data.
No universal solution
Having done a deep dive into the steps that need to be taken for companies to achieve the “right” customer focus, Parsons sees that it is a necessity to use multiple methods – there is no universal solution. Behavioral science, experimentation, ethnography, focus groups, along with curiosity and a bit of insight, are some of the ways to measure customer needs.
Market research was down 2.9 percent in Q2, according to IPA’s Bellwether report on industry investment, and there are several explanations for it. The number of diagnostic tools that exist today gives marketers a ton of alternatives, which results in prices being set to lower – something that often affects the quality of the results.
One of the many accessible ways of attracting customer data today is to use the infamous feedback form. These are easy to track and extract results from, and great for companies to use as internal KPIs – but completely useless when it comes to an understanding and predicting customer behavior.’
Big data vs. the right data
As for companies that can attract data from their customers, we’re guessing it is probably tempting to collect large quantities, and often. But bigger is not always better, and cheap is not always best.
The strive of true customer-centricity is a goal that every marketer should aim for, writes Parsons. But this is not achieved by withdrawing resources or isolating customer insights through specific tools. This provides companies with an unlimited amount of information, without real attempts to achieve insightful results.
It may be expensive, it may be time-consuming, but investing in solid research will pay off in the long run.
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