The Age of the Customer

Forrester Research recently issued a terrific report called the Age of the Customer. I love the way the last 100 years are broken down: from manufacturing to distribution to information to the customer.

And while I find minor comedy in the fact that the ‘ages’ basically decrease by 50% at each stage thereby inferring that this latest age could last a mere 7 years or so I don’t want to dwell there. Because even if that’s the case, the amount of stuff we’ll get done and advance to in that time will probably be fairly amazing.


In thinking about the “Age of the Customer” and brands, consider some research insights from Bain:

– In most categories, strong customer loyalty brands grow twice as fast as the market.

– A 5% increase in customer retention can generate a 75% increase in profitablility.

– It typically costs 6 times more effort to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.

The age of the customer plays out well. So it’s helpful that earlier this year IBM issued a report that talked about the rise of Social CRM and I think it’s a great way to look at the evolution of social today within organizations.

It’s also nice that the pressure is off of marketing to be the sole champion of the possibilities of social within organizations…

So we’re all marketers now. Or, at least that’s the theory put forth by McKinsey who recently stated that in the era of engagement, marketing is the company.

Theory is great. We’re certainly not shy on theory as an industry. What we’re shy on is how—the actual application. Which is why I really liked how McKinsey broke that down into three general tactics that I think most organizations could immediately put to use:

1. Design a great customer engagement strategy and experience based on how people interact with the organization throughout their decision journey.

2. Build an infrastructure that achieves this and consider spreading out marketing teams to other divisions of the company such as service, sales and eCommerce.

3. Assign someone to be in charge of all digital conflict resolution within and across all functions in an organization. PepsiCo did this with the title of Chief Digital Officer.

So we are in the age of the customer. This requires us all to think and act a la Social CRM. And we execute that through design, build and assign.

For as complicated as this is I thought these three documents are extremely guiding. Please click on the links and explore as you like.

And, of course

[ originally posted on Campaign Planning ]
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