A year in review – Or the six things I’ve learned that I’d most like to fix in 2011

It is almost the end of the year and people are looking back on the year past and ahead to 2011.

I have been noticing how many advertisers and their agencies are trying to come to terms with the new mass-customised marketplace. And how many end up falling back on tried and proven strategies that are no longer working as effectively as they once did.

Then I got this email from Wayne Kingston at Peppers & Rogers this week.

Wayne wrote:

“This year I’ve been involved at varying levels of some 50 Australian companies across verticals ranging from banking and finance, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceuticals, media, utilities, transport and logistics, travel and entertainment. And I’ve talked with executives ranging from CEO, COO, CMO, CFO and CIO right through to their receptionists and call centre operators”.

What I’ve learned is remarkably similar across most, if not all of them.

Here are the six (6) I’ve selected as the things I’d most like to fix in 2011:

1. Organisations are too busy ‘being organisations’ to truly address the needs of their customers.

2. Most companies are still structured around ‘product silos’ rather than ‘customer segments’.

3. Most executives are still confused by ‘the social media revolution’… Or, at the very least, they are confused about how to capitalise on it.

4. Most customers are disillusioned with most of the companies they deal with.

5. ‘Below the line’ is now well and truly the new ‘above the line’

6. …And, last but not least, no company will fix any of the above until their respective CEO’s assume the role of ‘chief customer officer’

He then expanded on each point.

1. Organisations are too busy ‘being organisations’ to truly address the needs of their customers.

Most organisation structures are exactly that…’structures’. Very few are fluid enough to put the needs and wants of their customers ahead of the needs and wants of the executives who run them.

2. Most companies are still structured around ‘product silos’ rather than ‘customer segments’.

Their financial reporting systems are traditionally built around measuring the ‘return on products’. Those financial systems find it very difficult to convert to measuring the ‘return on customers’. And next to none are capable of measuring ‘lifetime customer value’

3. Most executives are still confused by ‘the social media revolution’… Or, at the very least, they are confused about how to capitalise on it.

The more fragmented our media and channels to market become, the more confused our executives have become in deciding how to reach out to their customers.

4. Most customers are disillusioned with most of the companies they deal with.

Customers today want and demand complete transparency. The days are gone that you can fool most of the people most of the time. Today they just have to Google you, or ask on face book whether you are pulling the wool over their eyes. And when is it going to sink in that customers demand to talk to real, local people and not to machines!

5. ‘Below the line’ is now well and truly the new ‘above the line’

Most CEO’s are demanding more and more accountability for their marketing dollar…. while most customers can block out just about any message that is not directly relevant to them. The company’s customer database is now therefore a major corporate asset.

6. …And, last but not least, no company will fix any of the above until their respective CEO’s assume the role of ‘chief customer officer’

You can’t delegate ‘customer centricity’. Unless the CEO is driving CRM (or what we prefer to call ‘CEM’, or ‘customer experience management’), the executives below them will always find it too hard as well. If only we were all Richard Branson

About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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