In her illuminating book, The Analytical Marketer: How to Transform Your Marketing Organization, author Adele Sweetwood, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing of analytic software giant SAS, tells the story of a large business-to-consumer prospect who came to SAS for information about customer intelligence software. SAS marketers sent representatives from the prospect more than 30 emails during a 90-day period. Unfortunately, none of them had anything to do with CI solutions but were focused instead on Big Data solutions and user-group meetings for other product offerings. These emails kept coming even after the prospect company had informed SAS that it had decided to use a competitor’s solution.
What went wrong? According to Sweetwood, SAS completely fumbled this opportunity because, she writes, “what we had failed to recognize was that this particular customer was in his ‘decide’ phase, meaning he was ready to choose a vendor to work with. Yet we were treating the customer as if he was still unsure about what he needed.”
The Customer Decision Journey
For Sweetwood, marketing analytics is not about the accumulation of big data. It is about knowing how to leverage this data to engage the customer in a personalized marketing conversation, one that is centered around who they are and what they need — or what she calls the customer-decision journey.
Today, Sweetwood writes, the customer-decision journey is not the company-driven process it used to be. Customers have the tools and data available to be the drivers of the process. They are the ones who control their interactions with the company. “That means,” she writes, “that how you as an organization respond to new customers — while nurturing and retaining existing customers — has also changed.”
Specifically, she writes, companies must 1) understand the decision or experience the journey of their customers, 2) identify a prospect’s location on this journey and, finally, 3) “leverage the data and analytics to tell your customer’s story and listen to it.”
For example…(click here to continue reading this review)