5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture

Sam Stern

My latest report, 5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture, is now live on Forrester.com. The report answers the question I hear most often from clients: What are the steps in the process to actually transform organizational culture to be customer-centric? We interviewed companies that have successfully completed this transformation, and companies that are in the midst of that process right now. We learned that there are five steps companies must take to create and sustain customer-centric culture:

Step 1: Secure Executive Support (No, Really). We do not want to sugarcoat this step. Customer experience professionals who don't already have commitment from their executives need to either get it or give up their hopes of transforming their organization's culture. Every successful transformation we studied began with a customer experience epiphany by a CEO or COO. If that realization hasn’t happened yet, CX pros can help create the spark of inspiration with executives. For example, Brad Smith, the Chief Customer Officer at Sage North America, established a program where executives sign up to spend time in the call center or join sales teams on customer visits. And he created a new leadership routine of bringing customer stories to their monthly meetings.  His goal was to get senior leaders to see the importance of customer focus.

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Big Data Quality: Certify or Govern?

Michele Goetz

We've been having an intersting conversation with clients and internally about the baggage associated with Data Governance.  As much as we (the data people) try, the business thinks it is a necessary, but the commitment, participation, and application of it is considered a burden worth avoiding.  They wonder, "Is this really helping me?"  Even CIOs roll their eyes and have to be chased down when the data governance topic comes up.  They can't even sell it to the business.  

So, the question came up - Do we need to rebrand this? Or worse, do you abandon data governance?

Well, I don't know that I'm convinced that Data Governance needs a new name or brand.  And, with regulatory and security risks it can't be abandoned.  However, what organizaitons need is a framework that is business oriented, not data oriented.  Today, Data Governance is still stuck in the data, even with strong business participation.

Big data is the catalyst.  If you thought your data was challenging before, chaos and messiness takes on a whole other meaning with big data.  Scale now forces us to rethink what we govern, how we govern, and yes, if we govern.  This is to both better manage and govern process-wise, but it also drives us to ask the questions we didn't ask before. Questions about meeting expectations for data over meeting expectations to fit data into systems.

What this means...orient data governance toward data certification.

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B2B Marketing’s Big Data Myth: “It Only Applies to B2C”

Laura Ramos

If you think Big Data is something only B2C marketers need worry about, you’d be wrong.

As business buyers turn to the digital world to help them explore and solve pressing business problems, marketers will find that the data needed to propel their firms into the digital future isSource: Wikimedia Commons increasingly big.

The challenges we face in closing the gap between the amount of data available and our ability to get value from it are equally big.  Nevertheless, to become customer obsessed requires understanding your buyers much better and data is the key to that understanding.  During Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders last week (the link here is to the one coming up in London - where I'm presenting the topic again), I told B2B marketers that it’s time to make a date with their big data destiny.

My colleague Brian Hopkins believes that - to exploit the business opportunity hiding in big piles of data - marketers must understand that data is increasingly:

  1. Diverse, making integration costly and complex. Look at the data pouring out of smart devices, wearable computers, sensors, social media, video, etc. and it’s easy to believe that 90% of all data has been created during the past 2 years (according to the US Chamber of Commerce and Norway’s SINTEF ITC.)
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Technology Alone Won’t Take You Beyond The Campaign

James McCormick

As digital marketers, we know the importance of tracking, measuring, understanding, and meeting customers’ expectations at their preferred interaction points. We have convinced our budget masters of digital intelligence’s importance to the business as a whole and our spend on digital measurement and marketing technologies continues to increase—exciting vendors and enticing new ones to continually improve products. But despite this increased investment in technologies, the same stubborn problem remains: different teams are working with siloed data sets while failing to understand and delight the customer across a variety of digital touch points. Why? Because while technology has provided the pieces for digital marketing, these pieces have not come together to deliver completed suites. Achieving this suite goal requires more than just an investment in technology; it requires a considerable effort and a strategy supported by executives that:

  • Recognizes the multi-channel digital customer experiences firms wish to project using customer insights
  • Realigns teams and processes to for better cross functional cooperation
  • Builds skills set and focuses more investment in staff and partnership

Following my report, Decipher the Digital Intelligence Technology Code, I will talk through creating a strong digital marketing foundation for a world beyond campaigns. Catch me during the up- and- coming Forrester’ Forum For Marketing Leaders in May 2014 to learn more about a balanced approach to building out digital marketing suites.

Facebook Announces Nearby Friends Feature

Julie Ask

Facebook today announced a new optional feature– the ability to see which friends, or friends within a created group, are nearby. The social network is smartly looking to better serve its members who have made the mobile mind shift, expecting to get what they want in their immediate context and moment of need. In this case – knowing when a friend is nearby.

Prviacy will be a concern with this feature, but users are protected by opt-in’s and by only mentioning how close someone is, not their specific location. Connecting directly in person requires a number of steps including messaging and permission. A few thoughts:

1) This isn’t original, but Facebook has a better shot at success than the original services. 

About 10 years ago, Sam Altman started a company called Loopt that he sold about two years ago to Green Dot for $43.4M. It started out as friends connecting, but eventually needed to make money. Mobile advertising wasn’t a big market 10 years ago – in fact, it is still somewhat small today. But Facebook has two key advantages now: first, they have more than one billion users so they don’t have to recruit (and many of my friends will already have the app on their phone). Second, they don’t have pressure to make money near term. Facebook will win if even 5% or 10% of their members adopt. 

2) It’s a smart mobile app development strategy.

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Why Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future

JP Gownder

The Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) role is changing significantly: I&O pros are increasingly helping to drive business strategies with the technologies they choose and implement. Business leaders tell Forrester that technology is too important to leave to technology managers alone; they are pushing their I&O colleagues to explore the business value associated with the technologies they choose, implement, and manage. I&O pros, in turn, tell us that their jobs are changing. As one I&O pro put it, “I’ve been an infrastructure manager for 15 years, but only in the past 3 have I been asked to construct a business plan and be part of the business planning team.”

Figure: Burberry's Technology-Powered Flagship Store In London

For I&O pros in retail and related verticals like hospitality (or for anyone involved in creating in-person experiences), we’ve just released a report to help aid this transition. Along with my co-author Michele Pelino, we’ve just released the report “Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future.” The report asserts that I&O pros have an important role to play in helping their companies engage shoppers in experiences that will drive loyalty and spending.

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Facebook Shatters Into Apps — And It's The Only Way Forward

Josh Bernoff

Fixed diptych

Farhad Manjoo says "The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’" in the New York Times. Read the article, because it clearly points the direction for the future of Facebook (and of nearly everything else). From the article:

“What we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a recent interview at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
 
In the past, he said, Facebook was one big thing, a website or mobile app that let you indulge all of your online social needs. Now, on mobile phones especially, Facebook will begin to splinter into many smaller, more narrowly focused services, some of which won’t even carry Facebook’s branding, and may not require a Facebook account to use.

In retrospect, this was inevitable. Here are two reasons why.

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Q&A With Francesca Nieddu, Managing Director, CRM And Sales Planning, Intesa Sanpaolo Group

Luca Paderni

I have just returned from our Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, and am now looking forward to being the host at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London (May 13-14). Our analysts are excited to share with the European audience our latest Forrester thinking on brand-building in the post-campaign era and how to balance achieving business objectives whilst delivering highly contextual, real-time customer value. We will be joining forces with key industry keynote speakers such as Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer at William Hill, Amy Nelson-Bennett, President at Molton Brown Global, and Francesca Nieddu, Managing Director, CRM and Sales Planning, Intesa Sanpaulo.

As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Francesca Nieddu from Intesa Sanpaulo about the marketing opportunities and challenges specific to retail banking. Here's what she had to say:

Q: Retail banking marketers aren't typically known for being customer-centric as they tend to focus their marketing efforts around products. What was the biggest barrier you faced as you attempted to pivot?

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Digital Experience Delivery Creates Many Organizational Headaches

Anjali Yakkundi

Forrester recently surveyed 148 technology, marketing, and business professionals with decision-making roles in digital experience (DX) delivery technologies, and asked them about their strategies for the coming 12 months. In our recently published report, one of the more interesting trends we found was the “people” issues remain top of mind for most organizations. Our qualitative and inquiry data backs this up, as we often here that people, process, and cultural issues (not technology issues) have stifled progress towards delivering great digital customer experiences.

Our survey found that organizations were concerned about people issues such as:

  • Dividing up work between different groups. Digital experience has moved from a purely marketing centric function, to a decidedly cross business issue that touches everyone in the organization. This includes technology management, business, marketing, and sales groups. But this cross-business shift toward digital experience delivery presents significant challenges around coordinating work between various groups. Accordingly, this was the number one people-related pain point: 60% of respondents said dividing roles and responsibilities between marketing, technology management, and the business was their top challenge.
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Navigating the New Digital Landscape

Martin Gill

I’m writing this on the train. On my iPad. Connected to the internet (albeit intermittently, thanks to the occasional tunnel) while trundling through the British countryside. I booked my ticket online with Expedia. I used the Trainline app to check the most up to date timetable info just before I left the office. Digital is enhancing my journey. Making it easier.

Every single one of my fellow travelers, with the exception of the sleeping Hipster opposite me, has immersed themselves in their own digital worlds. They tap the screens of smartphones. They watch movies on their tablets. They type meeting notes on their laptops.

The world has gone digital.

But that’s not a surprise, right? Digital is a boardroom topic these days. C-level executives who barely had the faintest notion of what “digital” was a few years ago are waking up the threat that digital disruption poses to their business. Spurred on by apocryphal tales of iconic brands who flushed their futures down the digital toilet, they are facing the reality that their businesses need to take digital seriously.

But here’s the kicker. While senior executives in many firms may now understand the importance of digital for their firm’s survival, few know what to do about it.

At Forrester, we recently ran one of our largest ever global executive surveys in partnership with Russell Reynolds. We asked firms about their digital strategies. Here’s what we found:

  • Seventy three percent of firms that think they have a digital strategy. If this sounds high, that’s because many of these firms are mistaking the fact that they have a website, or a mobile app, as having a digital strategy.
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