Customer-Centric Business Strategies for the SMB


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Remember playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors?” The basics of the game consist of each player shaking a fist a number of times (priming) and then extending the same hand in a fist (rock), out flat (paper), or with the index and middle fingers extended (scissors). Each of these is referred to as a throw, and which one wins is dependent upon the opponent’s throw.

• Paper wins against Rock (paper covers rock)
• Rock wins against Scissors (rock smashing scissors)
• Scissors wins against Paper (scissors cut paper)

Does your marketing organization use the old rock, paper, scissors strategy? You know – prime the CEO for funding, and then throw out a campaign hoping to rock your prospects with creative copy, cover your market with mass communications, or finally, cut the price to encourage greater response? Since marketing campaigns are generally not limited to one dimension you may be throwing all three at once!

Some RPS players use strategies hoping to get inside their opponent’s mind to guess their next throw. Many players unconsciously throw in distinct patterns, so an observational player might pick up on those patterns and occasionally defeat their opponent. For example, some patterns a strategic player might look for:

• What was my opponent’s last throw?
• How frequently does my opponent seem to repeat that throw?
• How many total times has that throw been favored?

The trouble with RPS strategy is that it cannot be used consistently. You may not have the benefit of enough historical data to logically guess your opponent’s next throw, or worse, data latency, which means you can’t predict your opponent’s throw until it is too late. The same can happen when marketers use the age-old practice of merging historical response lists to develop prospecting files, and then push their marketing activities toward all those consumers.

Your entertaining commercial copy might rock. In fact, your agency said it was “right on target.” And your list may cover consumers reported to have the attributes of a potential buyer; however, your prospects may still cut-off your message faster than your VP of Sales can scream “don’t run with scissors!”

The proliferation of media and distribution channels, combined with consumers increasing demand for communications relevance, has created the perfect marketing database storm. As a result, the need for more rigorous marketing discipline and data competency has never been greater. At my company (an SMB / B-to-B / software development organization) I’ve approached the marketing database storm by blending current and historical data from across the company, allowing for faster and more relevant marketing communications.

I will say that it’s not easy – even for a small company. Customer data collected and stored in front office and back office systems, as well as third-party data, doesn’t always come together as planned. And you have to do more than just bolt data together; you need to help users make sense of it by transforming it into relevant information; cleansing it, storing it, and then delivering it in a timely, usable format where accuracy is never in question.

We still have plenty of room for improvement. However; I will say that it’s much more fun to prime my CEO with measurable ROI through focused campaigns that rock our prospects and customers with relevant communications, and cut costs by optimizing our marketing spend.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


  1. I read the article after I know what exactly it is. Your SMB needs clarity one the definition of SMB. Here I read two

    1) CIFS currently redirects to Server Message Block, even though the two concepts do not exactly equate [ citation needed] to each other. .
    .. – 53k – Cached – Similar pages and

    2) The term small and medium-sized businesses or SMBs has become more standard in a few other countries. EU Member States traditionally had their own.
    .. – 22k – Cached – Similar pages

    When I want to buy a product or service, I want to know in the first instant where I am. In addition, I have to be sure, that I do not have to refer to anyone.

    Alan, no matter how hard you try to get any software or the business going, get the board done proper.

    Royal Photographic Society – RPS Site of one of the earliest photographic organizations, offering information on its history, exhibitions, and programs, a book store, and links to related … – 13k – Cached – Similar pages and Rock-paper-scissors

    Terminology. The exact name of the game can vary, with the three components appearing in a different order, or with “stone” in place of “rock”. Non-English-speakers often refer to the game by their words for “rock-paper-scissors” (though not necessarily in that order).

    Cheating. A common timing-based tactic on a throw of paper or scissors is to wait until the last possible moment to dupe an opponent into believing that one may actually be throwing a scissors or rock. This is usually regarded as a foul at competitive RPS matches. In competitive

    RPS, however, a foul can be called on any throw that is revealed after thrower’s arm swings past the perpendicular to his torso. In this case the referee may then assign a throw of rock, or a “forced rock”.

    What I am hinting is I have no clue of these before and reading this I have to refer back to what exactly the abbreviation stand for. Now here I have KFC. You know and I know that this is Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is because we can afford to visit the places and eat. Not all can do. Giving the abbreviations to some means he has to refer thereby losing the thread and interest. These days the PC gives us so plenty. IT to me is Information Technology. To others it would be Internationals Treaty, WWW is web page to the sports men it they would look at the Wide Wrestling World, where it is free wrestling to make other bleed in the rings. ICT is Information Technology Communications that I never get right.

    First, I love the simplicity. The doors I know are made of wood and I am prepared to accept the aluminium these days or glass but hardboard painted tells me I am at the wrong door. I need to open this to peep, get in, ask then act.

    The article is superb based on those who read that you are in the software corporation. Remove Seapine Software, I am totally lost as what exactly I am reading. I am on the door I am not sure I dare enter.

    Let us have the CRM in the manner CRM is, and not like bathroom doors that open both ways.

    I thank you

    Firozali A. Mulla MBA PhD
    P.O.Box 6044
    East Africa


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