Marketers and customer-centricity, is it too fluffy a combo to agree?
When you talk about how well (or how poorly) your company is doing on customer experience, does everyone agree? Does your finance group agree with marketing and CX-teams?
A marketer and an accountant often do not see eye-to-eye. In my experience, there is often a clash of viewpoints between financial people and marketing people. Such a conflict occurs when a focus on the accounting and marketing disciplines overshadows the emphasis on customer value. The following fable typifies this:
The marketer decided to take the afternoon off (“Doesn’t that happen all the time?” says the accountant) and go for a ride in a hot-air balloon. She took off in the balloon just north of San Francisco, but suddenly a strong southerly wind pushed the balloon rapidly toward the Napa Valley. Feeling disoriented, she decided it was time to bring the balloon down, and she managed to land it in a vineyard.
A bit shaken, she got out and saw a stranger walking in the vineyard and called out: “Can you tell me where I am?” “Yes,” said the stranger, “you are in the center of a vineyard!”
“That’s interesting,” said the marketer. “You must be an accountant.” The stranger replied, “As a matter of fact. I am. How do you know?” “You have given me exact information of absolutely no value!”
The accountant replied, “You must be a marketer.” The marketer replied, “As a matter of fact, I am. How do you know?” “You don’t know where you are, and you won’t accept the facts!”
The Marketer and the Accountant Must Learn to Ask the Same Questions.
The way to solve these different views of the world is to make the customer the focus of attention. Then the questions asked by both accountant and marketer become:
- What value and customer experience do we need to give customers to satisfy and retain them and make them advocates? (Retained loyal customers are much more profitable, and they create new customers much more often than casual customers who buy only on price.)
- How much investment is needed to provide that value and customer experience (product, service, and information)?
- What is the likely return on investment?
- How can we work together to ensure that the new product will reach the market as planned to enhance value for customers and return satisfactory sales and profits?
While working on answers to questions like these can bring accountants and marketers together, similar items can connect sales and marketing, HR with IT, and operations with customer service. The common factor is the culture that focuses on customers, customer experience, and value delivery by all functions of the business. When this happens, our “worst enemies” progressively become “best friends” with a shared sense of purpose and a common cause.
To achieve this, you need a proven customer culture framework and measurement system that is easy to communicate and that everyone can understand the benefits to them and the business. Wouldn’t this make life much easier for you?