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A Critical Path for Customer Relevance, Part 1

A Critical Path for Customer Relevance, Part 1

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Published by Brian Solis
In 2012 and 2013, businesses will prioritize efforts that bring the organization closer to customers. Today’s company faces a formidable customer that is connected, empowered, influential, and most notably elusive. To earn their attention, their business and ultimately their loyalty and advocacy, the customer journey must be reconsidered, redesigned and individualized.
In 2012 and 2013, businesses will prioritize efforts that bring the organization closer to customers. Today’s company faces a formidable customer that is connected, empowered, influential, and most notably elusive. To earn their attention, their business and ultimately their loyalty and advocacy, the customer journey must be reconsidered, redesigned and individualized.

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Published by: Brian Solis on Feb 15, 2012
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02/15/2012

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By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at BrianSolis.comand principal of research firm Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed books on social businessThe End of Businessas Usual and 
A key objective for senior executives over the next several years is to use disruptive technology toget closer to customers, to improve relationships, and enhance experiences. It is a considerable move and the result will usher in a new era of adaptive and empathetic business models. However,this is a move that is easier said than done., especially when vision and execution are two sides of different coins. This is a critical path where businesses must not only commit to new technology andgoals, but also invest in the methodologies, systems, processes, and people to bring about changefrom within before it can effectively engage outside.Like in anything, businesses are measured by actions and words, where outcomes reveal trueprogress. In 2012 and 2013, businesses will prioritize efforts that bring the organization closer tocustomers while also performing against the metrics that are constant, including revenue, marketshare, increased efficiencies and improved margins. The difference now is that today’s company
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
faces a formidable customer that is connected, empowered, influential, and most notably elusive. Toearn their attention, their business and ultimately their loyalty and advocacy, the customer journeymust be reconsidered, redesigned and individualized.In a survey of over 1,700 CMOs in 2011, IBM found that the intention of customer engagement was certainly present, but that executives were unclear in how to assess and integrate new technology inmanaging and leading customer relationships. Of the 13 key market factors below, an alarming 50+percent of respondents are under prepared to manage all but two key changes, RegulatoryConsiderations and Corporate Transparency.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
Certainly, the model for tomorrow’s business is under development today. What’s clear is that theanswers to lead change and chart new directions are unclear. And, this represents both a challengeand opportunity. Determined businesses will not sit idly while the market is defined by newtechnology and corresponding customer behavior. Nor will enterprising businesses adopt every newtrend that comes along as a way of surfing waves of short-term relevance. Leaders and changeagents will develop a process and taskforce to assess new technology against corporate vision,customer expectations, and market direction to prioritize investments in the following areas:1. Integrated strategy and execution toward business objectives2. Renewed, unified and consistent branding3. Organizational structure, alignment and the empowerment people4. Operations and supply chain5. Improved processes6. Collaboration7. Customer service and engagement in new channels8. Risk and reputation management9. Integrated experiences – Mobile/Tablet/Digital/Social10. Syndicated commerce11. Metrics and value systemsThese areas of focus represent thetrends in transformationas expressed through the aspirations of executives who hope to get closer to customers and the expectations of the customers they hope toreach. This is as much about technology and vision as it is about reducing friction, inside and out. Inthe end, the convergence of disruptive technology, business processes, and customer experiencesforces any organization to examine and re-examine everything. Every effort today carriesopportunities for optimization or complete overhaul. The end result is increased relevance, improvedexperiences, and escalated results.Some of the key areas of focus for any business in this convergence will include:1. Big data and the necessary algorithms to make sense out of sheer volume and noise – the netresult is intelligence to set the foundation for Adaptive and Predictive business models2. Social and mobile media as it relates to customer influence, the customer journey, and post-commerce activities3. Contact centers and the unification of democratized channels such as Facebook, Twitter andGoogle+ and a managed customer relationship system4. Metrics, ROI, and meaningful outcomes that look beyond today’s limited KPIs that focus onfriends, fans, followers, views, etc.5. The relationship between CMO and CIO and how together, they will need to invest in innovationand scalability for a new breed of employee, consumer, and an unending array of emerging anddisruptive technologyWhile these reflect only part of thetrends requiring transformation, they collectively contribute tocustomer and employee preference and ultimately competitive advantage. This is the year when wemust take a step back to cut through the fog of hype and identify the gaps between businessobjectives, customer expectations,the important technology channels that separate businesses andcustomers, and the capabilities and prowess to effectively engage and lead experiences across theboard.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis

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