CMOs: Check yourself before you wreck yourself

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Gangsta rappers may not be marketers’ first source of inspiration but you could do worse than to heed the lyrics of seminal hip hop artist Ice Cube.

Forrester analyst Corrine Munchbach explains that marketers should ‘Check yourself before you wreck yourself’ if they’re keen to succeed in the age of the customer – an era where your relationships with customers is your only source of competitive advantage.

Businesses must move to becoming a customer-obsessed marketing organisation: a well-oiled machine that is organised for and around customers' needs, she explains.

Whilst Forrester’s customer life cycle  illustrates how firms can use marketing to differentiate the brand or company in a highly complex landscape of products, media, data, and conversation, there is no one size-fits-all approach.

However, Munchbak says there are five key areas on which CMOs should focus to facilitate the transition to a customer life cycle-driven marketing effort: strategy, organisation, data and analytics, measurement, and CRM tools. 

Angela Hatton agreed that the challenge today is not around customer-centric marketing but about customer-centric business.

She said: "In markets where customers have a choice and are well informed of that choice through the internet, business success depends on delivering a better offer than the competition.

"Gaining competitive advantage is hard; often any tangible improvements in product or service will be quickly copied so the competitive advantage is not sustainable. Professional marketers are needed because they have to be the organisations experts in targeted customers. Decision-making needs to be informed by customer insights that can be leveraged to deliver a relevant and compelling offer to targeted segments of users.

"Only by knowing the customers better than the competition and then having processes and cultures that enable these insights to be used innovatively can an organisation expect to thrive."


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