I am clear that CRM, 1:1 Marketing and Customer Experience have failed to deliver on the promises made by professors/academics, authors/gurus, consultants and technology vendors. Why? Given the choice between changing our way of showing up and operating in the world or changing our words, almost all of us get busy learning-speaking a new vocabulary.
I have been investigating the domains of ‘digital marketing’ and the ‘marketing cloud’. In the process I have been listening to pitches made by marketing vendors. All the relationship-experience centred buzzwords are there: customer experiences, digital experiences, the mobile experience, customer engagement, customer relationships, responsiveness to customers….. Yet, to the listening of a skeptic like me, something lies hidden under this fine rhetoric.
If you dig underneath what is it that you might find? You might find that the narrative comes down to the following:
- We will put at your disposal an advanced scalable platform where you can suck in anything and everything that you have or can purchase on your customers (and prospects) to give you a 360 view of your customers irrespective of any concern-respect for the privacy of your customers.
We have great tools that allows you to set-up customer journeys and determine when you want to hit customers with your messages, and how often you want to hit them with these messages.
You can use our advanced decisioning engine to figure out what ‘product’, what offer, what message to push at your customer. And If the customer doesn’t respond to that message then our engine will learn and use this learning to come up with a better-different-more attractive message.
We will put at your disposal the ability to send your messages to your customers 24/7/365 through any and every digital interaction channel that your customer uses. So there is no escape. Wherever the customer is, you can invade his privacy, and message him/her. And,
By doing this you will drive up your marketing effectiveness, make more money for your organisation and live happily every after because you have the tools to make your customers buy, buy, buy – from you.
This is not technology enabled relationship building. It shows up for me as direct marketing on steroids. It is the nightmare scenario that my coauthor and I envisaged back in 2001 when we were advocating and advising on 1:1 marketing. It occurs to me that this is technology enabled stalking/harassment: it is the epitome of the business as usual (transactional) way of showing up and travelling in the world.
How is this best summed up? Allow me to share these words of wisdom from David Maister:
What all these problems have in common is that firms are not only “in it for the money,” but they want the money now! As a result, they talk a good game about long term relationship building marketing efforts, the truth is that these efforts are never really executed well unless they deliver results immediately.
Here is my prediction:
- marketers (and their IT advisors) will lap up the story being pushed by consultants and technology vendors;
only a subset of marketers will do what it takes to become competent at making this technology actually work;
those marketers who do figure out how to make this advanced technology actually work (or who use outside agencies with technology savvy) will bombard customers with messages; and
the novelty of this ‘seduction’ will wear off and customers will learn to tune out and/or work around the marketer’s arsenal.
I have been wrong. And I may turn out to be wrong again. What do you think?