What can you do to move your organization away from silos and toward an approach that centers on the customer journey? Columnist Nathan Safran shares tips and explains why the change is critical.
A recent IBM study (PDF) of 100 enterprise CMOs found that marketers are shifting customer acquisition investment from the top of the funnel to distribute it more evenly across the customer journey.
This shift signals a maturation of the marketer mindset — to interface with buyers as they progress through the buying journey, rather than trying to grab them as they walk by the store. It also speaks to the evolution of buyers, as they discover and interact with the brand across channels and devices.
This is a shift we’ve written about before, and IBM’s study foreshadows a shift in marketer mindset that will ultimately make its way down to marketers at all levels.
A Shift To Consumer-Centric Marketing
So what is this shift, and what should marketers be doing now to ready themselves and their marketing programs for what is coming?
The change in thinking has marketers thinking not about the channels to which they will allocate marketing budget, but first about the journey their audience takes to research and buy. Once you obtain a clear understanding of the typical journey, you can make a plan to be involved in the conversations your audience is having across channels.
- Revise Siloed Channel Thinking: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and thinking doesn’t change overnight. But right now, start asking yourself how you might do things differently were you to approach a marketing problem from the customer journey perspective, rather than the siloed channel one. If you keep at it, your thinking will slowly change, and before you know it, you’ll have made the shift.
- Uncover the Data that Will Help You Understand Your Customer’s Journey: Once your mind-set starts to shift, start taking the steps to collect the data that will help you gain a clear picture of your customers’ journey. Web analytics, social data and survey data will give you a clear picture of how your customers research and buy.
- Get Executive and Organizational Buy-In: Once you’ve shifted your own thinking and collected the data that gives you a clear picture of your customers’ journey, you can start to lobby for organizational support. It can be hard to change the way a culture has always done something, so you’ll need to make a strong case as to why it’s in your company’s best interest to change the way it does things. But there are plenty of resources out there to help you prove your point.
The Change Is Coming
The early days of marketing online had us standing outside our shop with a sandwich board ushering customers in the front door. Now, the channels in which customers can interact with brands has grown, the information available online has increased and devices have become ubiquitous,
Marketers must become increasingly sophisticated in how they interact with consumers throughout the buying journey. This is a shift that is inevitable, and it may be time to stop putting it off. Marketers who take the first steps toward the coming change will reap the benefits.
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