AJ made an interesting comment in response to my post on Three Different Flavours of Customer Centricity. He laments the lack of customer-centricity of many marketers and of how this can lead to abusing the customer’s intelligence and trust.
AJ is right that marketers are having an increasingly difficult time promoting their wares. This stems from a number of factors including: a proliferation of me-too products that leads to commoditisation and falling margins, media fragmentation that makes it harder to reach customers and increases costs, product and information overload that make it harder to get the message across, all leading to the tragedy of the advertising commons and declining marketing effectiveness.
Paradoxically, research by Donald Lehmann clearly shows that marketers who really get into the hearts & minds of their customers are more successful than those who just continue pushing their products harder. By that I mean marketers who really understand the jobs and outcomes customers are seeking through using their products, who develop products, services and experiences that really deliver those outcomes over the entire ownership lifecycle and who pull all the integrated-marketing levers to bring prospective customers to the company and to build a mutual value exchange-based relationship.
These marketers wouldn’t abuse customers’ intelligence and trust anymore than they would their dog. They don’t need to.
Much of the abusing of customers that goes on comes from marketers who focus just on short-term goals at the expense of all else. Most of these fall into a category of marketers who do not think about customers at all, except as distant targets at the receiving end of their marketing howitzer. It is almost as though they had never heard of Ted Levitt’s famous book The Marketing Imagination, that sets out a framework for customer-centric marketing. The book isn’t new though, it was written in 1983!
What do you think? Are marketers doing a fine job in the face of difficult market conditions? Or is it time for a return to marketing’s roots?
Post a comment and get the conversation going.
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager