My Letter To The C-Suite
The following originally posted in Exact Target’s 10 Ideas To Turn Into Results report. It’s part of their Letters to the C-Suite Series and this is my letter…
To The Executive Team:
Do you even know who your customers are anymore? Chances are, you probably don’t. You
catch fleeting glimpses of them as they open your emails or pop onto your website for a quick
visit. You might even momentarily engage with them when they drop into your store to browse
around or see your products firsthand. Or maybe you meet them ever so briefly as they feign
interest in your brand by “liking” something you posted on Facebook.
If you’re doing it right, your business is collecting feedback across many customer
But you only really hear them when they shout from the rooftops, irate and full of vim. That’s
probably where you begin to learn what’s on their minds. But do you even know that it’s the
same person who was showing you all that love during your last promotion? Probably not.
In actuality, few companies really know their customers. Whether your customers are end
users or other businesses, how they interact with your brand, where they discover new
information, and how they communicate is changing at an astounding rate. Customers
are increasingly unaffected by traditional marketing conventions, and their tolerance for
redundant messaging, static content, and conflicting brand information is nonexistent. They
don’t see your organization like you do—in departmentalized silos of categories, products,
business units, and operating divisions. To them, you’re just that brand they either love, hate,
or treat with ambivalence. That is, until you knock their socks off by impressing them with your
service, support, and relevance. Yet, to really deliver value to your customers, you need to get
to know them. This starts by remembering the interactions you have with them and building
off of these activities.
Digital communication is the new reality, and treating customers through digital channels is
synonymous with how you’d treat someone you meet in person. Listen to what they’re saying
and respond with appropriate dialog. But most importantly, remember these things (because
upon your next conversation, your customer might just remember you):
• Your memory of customers exists at the database level.
• By maintaining customer profiles and appending them with attributes that contain history,
activity, and propensity (among other things), you can truly begin to have meaningful
• To do this effectively, the database must contain information from all your touch points.
This includes transactional systems, web analytics, call centers, mobile devices, social
media, ATMs, stores, email systems, and whatever else you’re using to reach out.
Bringing your data together through integrations enables you to achieve a holistic picture of
your customers. A little scared by this? Well, you should be. Customer behaviors are going to
fundamentally change the way you engage with your audience. If you’re not equipped, they’re
going to take their conversations (and their wallets) elsewhere. By integrating your data, you
open opportunities for new customer dialogs.
Take my word for it—it’s happening NOW.
Your Agent For Change,