I wasn’t able to make it to Forrester Research’s Marketing Leadership and Customer Intelligence Forums this year, so I’ve been following the events via twitter since they kicked off this morning. The theme of the conferences is “Creating Engagement in the Age of the Customer”…. and I think this is a perfect topic that most organizations need to explore!
I’m intrigued by what appears to be coming from the event – and how the world has shifted for all marketers in the last few years from “art” to “science”. I’m sure this is a trend I will come back to many times over in this blog.
Clearly there’s going to be some bias towards the customer intelligence function given the nature of the event, but I’m pleased to see that the majority of the speakers seem to be taking a realistic look at what “intelligence” really means when it comes to marketing. Here are a few of the more memorable “quotes” from the twittersphere (I will re-tweet these as well to ensure the appropriate attendees get their due credit):
- We don’t have a shortage of numbers, we have a shortage of context
- CI’s future is in understanding context and more importantly activating that context in every customer interaction.
- The context of every customer interaction is different — it’s CI’s job to make every interaction contextually relevant & valuable
- With more and more data, evolution and application of customer insights gets more difficult not less.
What I find most interesting from the comments I’ve seen so far is that there is this belief that if only we had a bit more intelligence, a bit more derived information calculated from the data, or a bit more “context” we’ll reach that nirvana we all seek which is a perfect (or at least near perfect) relationship with each of our customers. The situation we, as marketers, find ourselves in is best captured in that last statement “… application of customer insights gets more difficult…”
The reality that I have found, is that no matter how much data I might have about my customers, without to the ability to action that data I am no further ahead. And that’s the area of the puzzle where there’s been the least amount of discussion, exploration or solutioning by the marketing technology vendors. We can gather, analyze and refine data like never before. But actioning it well, its there that we’re still falling short.
“Knowing is half the battle” is a telling statement – even if it was uttered by no one more famous or important than GI Joe.