Characteristics of a Customer-Obsessed Marketing Engine

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Due to the breadth and complexity of customer data, channels, content in today’s technology landscape, marketers are juggling more than ever before. IBM’s CMO Study, From Stretched to Strengthened, found that 79% of CMOs believe the level of complexity they face each day will be high or very high over the next five years. However, only 48% feel prepared to cope with it.

How do marketers keep pace with current marketing trends while also predicting how to iterate on their strategies to stay innovative?



It comes down to the structure and mindset of your marketing team as well as your entire organization; with the amount of marketing noise out there, don’t make things more complicated than necessary. Leading marketers are restructuring their initiatives and overall strategy with a customer-centric mentality.

Nobody owns the customer, but someone always owns the moment.

As a marketer, you no longer have the upper hand in showing and telling your customers exactly what you want them to see. Instead, customers have access to a variety of channels and communities that greatly influence their opinion of your organization before ever engaging in contact. Customers now expect a tailored and personalized experience every time they interface with your brand. They expect to be treated in a personalized, relevant, and timely manner — or else they will move on to a competitor. Indeed, 59% of customers will switch brands to get better service. Marketers — in fact all employees — must be armed with all customer data, through a single view of the customer’s profile, so that they are able to act on each customer’s unique needs. 

Tip: All employees must be armed with the right data to serve a customer as an individual, not a number in the database. Leading marketers are partnering with IT to focus on streamlining systems and increasing data quality. Marketing and IT should own a data governance strategy to track all data coming into the system. Whether it’s data entered manually by sales, a survey collected by customer service, or form-filled data from marketing, all data fields should be consistent and bidirectional, avoiding duplicate or inaccurate information. 

Know what your customers want before they do, and innovate accordingly.

With a single view of the customer through streamlined systems such as Salesforce with Marketo or Eloqua, marketers are armed with the ability to proactively track customer activity and interest. Jim Clifton’s book, The Coming Jobs War, states that only 20% of a company’s customers are fully engaged. If this is the case with your customer base, it is not, and will not be, sustainable. You must recast your focus through the lens of the customer to understand how you can act on their needs proactively rather than reactively. Utilize and act on all customer data that you are tracking, and continue to iterate on your marketing strategies as you gage their changing needs.

Tip: Leading marketers are customer obsessed, meaning they are not only focused on their customers, but also on their customers’ customers. These marketers walk in the shoes of their customers — and customers’ customers — to understand how they can best impact and help their customers needs. Marketing and sales should be building a business case bases on the research of a “day in the life” of the customer, to better understand customer needs to determine how this will actually affect their bottom line.

Customers are people, not transactions.

A mature marketing organization and sales department both understand that customers’ expectations have risen. Customers want to interface with your brand at the moment they want, on the channel they want. With disjointed or siloed departments within an organization, this is simply not possible. Companies must understand that whether they interact with Mike in sales, or Jill in customer service, customers expect the interaction to be personalized and consistent.



Tip: Leading marketers understand that customers are no longer a number in the crowd, and must be addressed uniquely and consistently. Marketers must encourage internal collaboration between departments to deliver a frictionless customer experience. Using tools such as Chatter or Bunchball to harness an environment of teamwork and collaboration can greatly impact your customer satisfaction and engagement.

For years, lip service has been paid to the idea of customer engagement, but with the emergence of the empowered customer and the proliferation of cloud, social, and mobile technologies, now is the time to act. When equipped with the right resources, expertise, and team mentality, a marketer can deliver better on each customer moment. This starts with customer-centric plan, the first step towards a customer obsessed marketing team.

Characteristics of a Customer-Obsessed Marketing Organization: 

  • Multi-channel 
  • Collaborative 
  • Evolving 
  • Measured 
  • Data-driven 
  • Supported 

The leading marketing teams are innovative and iterative in their strategies. They are data and metrics driven, and collaborative with other departments such as IT, Sales and Service to drive home a true single view of the customer through the evolving technologies and channels.



With this customer obsession agenda, Bluewolf is taking an industry leadership role to enable companies with practical strategies, services, and tools to improve customer engagement. Customer engagement is set to overtake productivity as the primary driver of profitable growth, so business processes and technologies must be recast through the lens of customer obsession. What are you doing to become customer obsessed?

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