January 10, 2020
What's Getting In The Way Of Growth?
By Tom Kaneshige
At many companies, revenue growth tops the list of goals. It’s grow or die in today’s competitive market. A company’s fate lies in the hands of the newly empowered customer — a fickle buyer. Yet companies, again and again, misuse technologies and customer data to turn customers off.
Truth is, sales and marketing executives in the vanguard of growth are ruining the customer experience and losing the war for revenue. The problem can be traced to what Forrester calls “marketing dissonance,” whereby tools and ideas may be individually compelling but aren’t orchestrated in an effective way.
Just about everyone has seen Scott Brinker’s supergraphic displaying more than 7,000 logos of martech vendors. This supergraphic supposedly holds the hidden map to sales and marketing’s Holy Grail. That is, companies can analyze swaths of customer data to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time.
But this dream has faded into the droning of marketing dissonance. Without consulting the CIO, sales and marketing executives overbought on tech vendor promises only to learn too late that emerging technology rarely runs as advertised. Marketers unwittingly created a “Frankenstack” — a nightmarish technology architecture — that handcuffed their ability to innovate and adapt to customer whims.
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Line-of-business executives also acted hastily, due in part to a corporate climate that rewarded quarterly results and drive-by campaigns. Mistakes were made, especially with personalization. According to a Forrester study, in 2017, 85 percent of marketers said that improving personalization capabilities was a priority, while only 27 percent of U.S. adults said they were willing to let retailers use their personal information to personalize experiences.
The result of this disconnect: People’s email inboxes and social media feeds were flooded with repetitive messages. Thanks to severe cuts to the creative department, boring, indiscernible ads followed people around the Internet. Through automation, companies foolishly scaled these bad practices to the masses.
Worst of all, it’s so creepy.
Empowered buyers rebelled, even voicing their displeasure over social networks. Forrester says, “Over time, customers’ receptivity to marketing has eroded, their interest has waned, and they’re actively taking steps to block out the noise with tools like ad blockers and intelligent agents.”
Now is the time for change, a new route to revenue by way of a creative past.
In the good ol’ days of David Ogilvy and Lou Dorfsman, before autocratic metrics and digital bean counters took over, brands didn’t creep out customers. On the contrary, great companies crafted creative ads, stories and messages that inspired people and helped forge relationships. In turn, customers opened their wallets and became devoted to brands.
Companies can restore their reputation by using empathy to guide their efforts, says Forrester. This doesn’t mean abandoning martech or personalization tools, rather it’s about taking a more balanced approach. Forrester’s ROI model for a marketing budget shows that a moderate shift toward creative spend over six years produces an 18 percent higher overall ROI.
With personalization, a retailer can give customers a choice. Do you want to receive a personalized shopping list? Only during the holidays? Or no personalization whatsoever? It’s about putting the customer first and connecting with them on a human level.
If companies start now, they’ll stand out in a sea of blandness. They’ll earn the respect and appreciation from people weary of being creeped out all the time. They’ll gain a head start in the long road to relationships and revenue.
And customers will swipe right.
About the Author
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council and editor of Growth Monitor. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at email@example.com
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