I just attended the BMA Chicago breakfast where Andrew Dorn
of Acxiom presented “Using Data to be a Customer-Centric Company”. The
presentation was focused on the B2B side of business rather than B2C. This point alone made the presentation
interesting. Acxiom, a giant of data in B2C is now focusing on the B2B
conversation. Here are my takeaways:
Customer Centric equals Data: To be customer
centric you need data about your customer. The data must be used in decision
making and problem solving. If this is not happening, then any claim to be
customer centric is suspect. The case examples of using data in B2C are well
documented and the benefits compelling: Marketing ROI up 15% to 30%,
Profitability up 10% to 15%, Pricing Power up 5% to 7%.
Wallowing in B2B: It seems like we are still
wallowing in B2B when it comes to customer data. I don’t know how else to say
it. I think a growing population believes more customer data needs to be used
in B2B decision making and problem solving. And I think that same population
can see the opportunity new technology tools are creating to capture and use
customer data. But in B2B, the concept of customer data is complicated by the
number of participants in the value chain. In so many B2B value chains there
are four to five companies represented between raw materials to product/service
to consumer. If you are 2 steps away from the consumer, then having a big
consumer database may not be very insightful unless you can connect that to
data about the two companies between you and the consumer. If we have data
about the problems and challenges of each of the value chain steps, together
with a big consumer database we are set to solve problems. Getting that done is
not so easy….but a fun challenge!
It's great to see Acxiom in the conversation. Thanks
There is nothing simple about B2B companies…customers who
have complex needs served by suppliers who have complex solutions. There are
timeless questions and emphasis on Value Proposition (are you solving problems
for your customer today?) and Innovation (are you collaborating with customers
to solve tomorrows challenges?). Throw into this mix the conversation we are
all having on how Technology and Global competition are changing the “Speed of
the Game”. Wholly crap, could we make business any more complicated!? It should
cause you to pause.
It causes us to pause every day, and we are in the business of
helping companies to better understand Customer Value. We built a software
product that sits in the cloud that is called Render. But when we say it is
Customer Value software that too seems complicated. So we pause, think about
the marketplace and our role in it. We think…Simple. Let’s get back to simple.
This was our second year at Breckenridge. The weather, snow, food, accommodations, and camaraderie were all “the best so far”. When we started doing this trip 5 years ago it was definitely as a reward for hard work and a chance to reflect and unwind from the day-to-day of being entrepreneurs. I think the reasoning has changed since then, at least for me. Now I think it is more about trust and social capital.
In professional sports the separation between the pro’s and
all others is discussed as the “speed of the game”. Not being a professional
athlete, I never thought I would experience the “speed” phenomena first hand.
But if you are in business today and your job has anything to do with customers, then you are experiencing a new Speed of the Game. Here’s what I mean:
We will use these highly engineered pictures I’ve carefully crafted just
for this conversation.