How to become a customer-centric business

I was meeting with a new customer recently who asked me what would be the effects on their business from adopting a mathematical marketing approach. I quickly responded with the obvious answers that came from my experience with many other companies, namely that they would see higher response rates and more revenue from their marketing campaigns. This was a results-oriented answer supported by multiple campaigns conducted by many different types of businesses.

But as I thought about the question during my plane ride back to Boston later in the day, I realized there was another answer that reflected a more fundamental change. Mathematical marketing brings predictive analytics down to the account level, revealing information such as the most likely next purchase for each customer and which customers are moving closer to defection. This personalized data leads to more personalized campaigns, for example ones using email or print with dynamic content.

From the 50,000 foot viewpoint, mathematical marketing changes your perspective too. The charts and graphs it produces invariably show clusters of customers with different behaviors. It becomes very hard to support a one-size-fits-all, spray and pray approach to marketing when you see segments of your customer population with dramatically different purchasing patterns.

So the better answer to our customer’s question, the deeper, more fundamental answer, is that mathematical marketing inevitably will move their company away from a product-focused (about “me”) and toward a more customer-centric (about “you”) approach to doing business. Technology and modern mass production made business product-centric. The resultant mass markets lowered prices for the customer, but cost the customer individuality and choice. Now technology has the ability to make the customer an individual again. Marketers who struggle to make their organization more customer-focused will find the path to this goal is paved as much with data as it is with messaging.

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