In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a significant shift in how, where and when consumers buy. This shift has completely upset the applecart and is changing customer relationship management. The new way of doing business has several names, be it real-time interaction management, customer experience management, digital customer experience, or a host of others. At its root, it comes down to being able to analyze, understand, predict and act on opportunities to engage with customers. Done right, a customer becomes a fan and the loyal 12th man on the business playing field.
Engaging isn’t necessarily a discount, either. Customers won’t become fans simply by giving them offers and trying to sell them something. Powerful engagement, the kind that makes real fans, comes in many forms that include social interaction, loyalty rewards, exclusive content, perhaps gamification, but certainly interaction wherever and whenever the customer chooses. Not only does this involve many different technologies, but it also touches enough disciplines and parts of the organization that marketing now qualifies as an enterprise game.
If today’s marketing is truly enterprise level (and it is, trust me) that means the way to approach turning customers into fans has to be worthy of the scope of enterprise. It has to serve historical questions as well as the data streams that are happening in real time. It also needs to face the organization as well as the customer’s data needs at the same time. This calls for integration of systems that were previously silo’d and/or unavailable in the moment.
This is why turning customers into fans can’t be solved by a simple point application or offer engine. It takes, to borrow a phrase, a village of integrated data combined with the ability to serve a variety of platforms. More than anything, it has to be responsive to a customer that is undergoing change at least as quickly as technology. Turning Customers into Fans is an enterprise game.