Database: Customers Rule
Not long ago, I worked with a client who had pieces of customer data spread across 20 different technology platforms. We affectionately named this environment “the spaghetti bowl.” A few of the right “noodles” conveniently crossed, but for the most part, the high degree of disorganization made it impossible to execute truly integrated, customer-centric programs. Are most marketers in tune with the customer’s best interests and preferences to the extent that they guide their marketing actions? Probably not. Then what are these companies lacking? Three words: Integrated Customer Marketing.
Integrated Customer Marketing (ICM) is a measurement and optimization framework that maximizes customer portfolio value by managing the customer’s marketing, sales and service interactions throughout the customer life cycle.
Two principles guide ICM. First, the customer portfolio—the universe of prospects and engaged customers with the brand—is an organization’s most strategic asset. Second, an organization’s ability to optimally manage and grow the value of this customer portfolio is the key differentiator between market leaders and, well, everybody else.
ICM brings together:
- A robust customer portfolio, with behavioral and attitudinal data.
- Enterprise insight and measurement, which are rooted in a strong data and analytics foundation.
- Technology infrastructure that provides automation, scalability and flexibility to support changing business dynamics.
The direct marketing space has gone from direct mail to e-mail to dynamic Web interactions and direct communications via mobile devices. ICM can help marketers address emerging and growing channels, which are further complicating and diversifying the customer engagement landscape. ICM opens the door to optimized marketing programs and campaigns. It also can provide insight into several key areas:
- Making customer profiles accurate and actionable.
- Easily identifying and accessing your best customers and prospects.
- Quantifying the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- Making communications consumer-centric (e.g., based on preferences, inquiries, feedback and lifecycle profiling).
- Using customer behavior and insight to inform media purchases and placement.
Here are five critical components that can lead to a new level of marketing success through ICM.