Posts Tagged ‘Jay Galbraith’
I just received an interesting comment on my “For Hire” post that asked:
“Are there really any leading authorities – aside from published authors – on integrated marketing and communications? There are a lot of self-promoters who claim expertise in what is usually “the obvious”.
This comment, while obviously an attempt to discredit my experience, made me realized that there are probably many marketing professionals out there that have the same misunderstanding and misperception when it comes to understanding the theory and benefits of true integration.
I want to help fix that.
From the dawn of its time, which would be about 1993, when the “Fathers of Integration” Schultz, Tannenbaum and Lauterborn wrote The New Marketing Paradigm: Integrated Marketing Communications, integration has always been based in customer-centric (putting the customer at the center of the organization) and data-driven marketing. Unfortunately, marketers conveniently ignored the customer-centric, data-driven part of integration. We’ll get to that in a bit…
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Most companies (small to Fortune 500 and everything in between) are not customer-centric—even if they think they might be (market-oriented or customer-focused isn’t the same, but they are a great start!). Driven by revenue generation, product and service development (i.e. profit centers) usually takes the lead and determines the hierarchy, culture and power within the organization. While products and services may be innovative, creative, and useful often the complete inward focus creates a fundamental disconnect between function and actually solving a customer’s challenges—from the customer’s perspective—and therefore companies only gain a temporary brand loyalty foothold. It’s why products and services (whether B2B or B2C) continue to face the challenge of commoditization. Even if customers force fit a product or service that alleviates short-term pain, there is still the hurdle of solving long-term challenges. If they are not focused on or solved, the next company that comes along with a solution and complete focus on achieving loyalty will win. Because companies focus on short-term gains, they lose 50% of their customers every five years or so. Ironically, it is more costly to acquire new customers than it is to make existing customers satisfied.
Breaking the Cycle
There is a reason why companies are not customer-centric. It is an operational practice, which can be difficult, challenging and downright painful especially considering it requires a hard look at what—and who—is wrong when it comes to focusing on the customer. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, however. There are examples of B2C and B2B companies that get it like Zappos, Southwest, Target, Best Buy, Carnival Cruise Lines, Cisco, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Lafarge.
So then, how does one break the cycle of being solely hierarchical and product-driven?
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Without a doubt, this downturned economy has been a struggle for most organizations. Layoffs, reorganizations and new executives seem to be the crutch du jour (perhaps ‘du ans’ is more fitting) to fix downward spiraling revenues. Add to that a layer of new(ish) customer communications and feedback via social media channels and you have yet another complexity to deal with. In the past customer feedback was contained to customer service or a customer satisfaction survey designed to hedge qualitative and quantitative feedback to guarantee an internal pat on the back. With unfettered social feedback, the organization emperor’s kimono is being opened and the proverbial band-aid is being ripped off.
Structured in a top-down hierarchical manner, organizations have positioned their products and services to take center stage. This familiar “command and control” structure is typically the wellspring of alienation between customer and company and often the cause of reduced revenue generation. The challenge of reorganizing is avoid playing musical chairs so that the last person sitting is not the new person reinventing the standard and comfortable hierarchal structure.