#ForrForum Customer Obsession



Day zero at Forrester’s eBusiness & Business Strategy is focused on customer obsession.  What follows is my recap of the Marketing Leadership Board discussions.

Customer Obsession

We’re entering a customer obsessed Marketing age. But with so many competing efforts, it’s easy to FAIL at focusing on the customer. The focus of this day at #ForrForum is building a Customer Obsessed Marketing Organization.

Peter Shankman: Nice Companies Finish First

Peter’s main take away – as a society we expect to be treated like crap on a regular basis. Back in the 50s we expected great service and we got it. However focus has shifted to the most valuable customers to the detriment of >90% of customers.  In this environment, not sucking can be the differentiator.

4 Key ways to be one level above crap

  1. Transparency – people can’t connect to a faceless, nameless, corporate robot
  2. Relevance – man your social accounts. You need to be responsive
  3. Brevity – the average attention span 2.7 seconds. You need to write well. Good writing is brevity
  4. Top of Mind – if your are good to your audience they will be good to you.  This drives word-of-mouth marketing and builds customer loyalty

So…About Self-Promotion

Self-promotion, by itself, is a very bad thing.  Don’t use Instagram to share pictures of yourself. No one cares. Instead create content that other people want to share.

(Side note: Yelp will be gone, or fundamentally changed, within 3 years because there is no trust in these reviews).

But when self-promotion helps people

…Then it’s not self-promotion. it’s a puppy wrapped in bacon. And everyone likes a puppy wrapped in bacon.
“Helping” can be anything. A discount. A laugh. A shoulder. A low-cut. Anything not about selling that benefits someone

But the conventional wisdom is “nice” doesn’t make money…except for the fact that it like, does. It creates 10-40% in revenue.

Peter’s random add-ins

  • By the way, Marketing needs to talk to social which has to talk to customer service – or you will fail.
  • Remember that EXPERIENCE is the strongest currency. What can you do to create an experience that your customers will share?
  • The human social economy runs on two things: Bragging & Drama

Roadblocks to Customer Obsession

Everyone intuitively realizes the importance of focus on customers, bit in reality, few companies are organized and incented with the purpose of executing on holistic customer experiences.  In one breakout session we shared and discussed the key roadblocks to becoming a customer obsessed organization.

Top Roadblocks

  1. Lack of demonstrable ROI
  2. Lack of common view of the customer
  3. B2B sales model
  4. Regulations & regulatory requirements
  5. Competing priorities and/or product pushes
  6. Internal alignment | silos
  7. Infrastructure | tech for real time
  8.  Data – customer activity/data
  9. Lack of resources

Getting Support for A Marketing Obsessed Agenda

After agreeing that customer obsession is important and identified roadblocks, how do you get started?  Certainly, getting buy-in at an executive level for a customer experience agenda, so what moves them?  While feeding executives information on what customer experience can do for the organization what really seems to compel leaders is competitive benchmarking.  If executives feel they are losing market positioning to competitors, they are much more likely to invest resources in becoming an customer obsessed organization.


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