In the last blog post, I covered the first two Cs of Customer-Centric Marketing for pharma, Commitment and Courage. We need to make a Commitment to building a data and insight culture. This begins to build the foundation of customer understanding. But as we soon discover, not everyone appreciates this level of transparency, even in your own company. We need Courage to counter the various hurdles and vested interests that stand in the way of an open and transparent marketing culture.
The next step in building customer-centric marketing is to build the technology platform to integrate every customer touch point and marketing tactic. The project involves integrating every sales and marketing tactics into a Relationship Marketing (RM) platform. We call it “RM-enabling” each tactic. This is hard work and requires an investment in new Capabilities.
The job of RM-enabling every tactic to bring customer data and insight back to a centralized database is a simple idea to articulate but it’s complex to execute.
Moving to outside-in, customer-centric marketing will need new RM capabilities. Capabilities is the third C.
Seldom are marketing organizations or traditional agencies equipped to RM-enable every tactic to capture that outside-in insight, and they will need to develop or hire new capabilities to do it.
The new RM capabilities include digital strategy (how we best deploy resources), content (how we treat different customers differently) and technical (designing and integrating automatic data feeds from each online and offline tactic). Look for a digital agency that can help you source and build these RM capabilities even as they help you build the structural foundation for outside-in marketing.
Once you have RM-enabled all your tactics, you have a framework for moving from traditional promotional marketing to relationship marketing. This will lead to a transformation in the way you’ll think about targeting, insight, messaging and measurement.
Targeting moves from historical deciles to predicted potential long-term value. Insight is no longer just based on aggregate behavior trends but on individual needs and preferences. Messaging moves from homogeneous, “all messages to all people,” to different messages based on where an individual is on their “customer journey.” And marketing measurement or metrics evolves from one-dimensional ROI to a multi-dimensional measurement of value.
Once you have the means to deliver customer-relevant messages, your role as a marketer begins to change. You become a Portfolio Manager. Your job is to determine when and how to invest marketing dollars towards your customer portfolio.
Many of us have longed to make smarter marketing decisions, but we’ve lacked confidence. Customer-centric insight gives us the confidence we’ve needed all along to make the right investment in the right customer. We’ve all talked for a long time about “right message, right customer, right channel, right time.” We’re well on our way to getting to that point. Now it’s time to begin investing.
Once we have built a customer investment portfolio, the questions change. How do we invest responsibly? Do we double-down on certain customers and channels, and divest from others?
Once we know who our customers are and what they care about we’ll have confidence in our ability to craft and deliver the right value proposition to deliver the best outcomes.
It’s all about culture
These structural changes have enormous business culture implications, and the process of changing a culture is never fast or easy. It begins with baby steps. Recognizing that we have different customers who act and respond differently and that we need to be treating them differently is the first meaningful baby step. Committing to create a data and insight culture is the second step.
Product launches provide a unique opportunity to put in place a customer-centric strategy, since you have to start from scratch with marketing anyway. But products later in their life cycle can benefit from this approach, too. If you have products that have been in market for a while and you feel like you’re reaching the point of diminishing returns on your marketing efforts, it’s time to make a change.
The Four Cs of Customer-centric Marketing:
- Commitment – to building a data and insight culture
- Courage – to challenge the vested interests that enjoy the status quo
- Capabilities – to capture and harness customer insight to affect marketing strategy
- Confidence – to know how and when to invest disproportionately
How far along are you in this journey of marketing transformation in your company?