Driving analytics against big-data is causing marketers to rethink what they do from the ground up.
As far as it goes, that's a familiar proposition here at Internet Evolution, with Rich Luciano, for example, drawing the connections between analytics and commerce in the Corner Office Executive Suite. But I've rarely heard the fundamental changes spelled out as lucidly -- especially in a B2B context -- as in a recent talk by John Kennedy, IBM's VP for Corporate Marketing, at an AdClub CMO breakfast series event, held at Manhattan's Bloomberg Center. (IBM sponsors Internet Evolution.)
Kennedy's talk, which was followed by a sit-down with David Rich, Senior VP of Planning and Strategy, Worldwide, at George P. Johnson, argued that marketers, from the CMO down, need to change in order to deal with a "highly instrumented, highly connected, highly intelligent world economy."
Marketing used to base itself on three principles:
- Know your customer.
- Know what to market, and how to market it.
- Protect the brand promise.
Essentially, these principles survive in a data-driven economy, but each is transformed by contact with analytics.
Firstly, customers are no longer a faceless mass, the behavior of which can be more or less predicted and understood using classic market segmentation techniques. Online activity, not least over mobile channels, has made behavior so transparent that consumers emerge as individuals, demanding a specifically tailored commerce experience.
Secondly, analytics allows us to systematize engagement across across multiple channels -- from call centers to apps -- so as to maximize the value for the consumer at every point of contact.
Thirdly, the benefits -- and risks -- of social media provide ample motivation for brand and culture to be authentically one. In other words, an organization's culture should be such that it's organically represented by all employees engaging with real and potential markets over social channels. Brand value can live or die in the global, social conversation.
Predictive analytics can point the way to the next offer, the next action, and the next customer need, in a way that feels more like providing a service than marketing a product.
Kennedy admitted that the B2C sector is way ahead of B2B in learning these lessons. For B2B marketers, the target is no longer "the account." It's the person, or group of people, behind the account, engaged with as individuals. From the need to automate such engagement, another important principle follows. IT is no longer a cost, but a strategic investment.
The discussion with David Rich indicated that this transformation is just the beginning. Marketers, armed with this view of customers as integrated individuals, are actually well armed to decide which customers they ultimately want. Beyond that, as Rich observed, they can begin to think about what they want their customers to become.
— Kim Davis , Community Editor, Internet Evolution