I admit that I’m old enough that I had to read the book 1984 by George Orwell when I was a student. I even remember 1984 when it actually wasn’t like 1984! Such is the unfortunate reality of authors predicting dates in time.
Knowing Your Customer
There’s a general concern among many business leaders to not want to appear like Mr. Orwell’s Big Brother. This concern is relevant and has even been demonstrated to be important, as evidenced in Forbes. When a retailer knows more about the daughter than the father, and can figure out the daughter is pregnant before the father does, a company might be perceived as having access to too much information.
This concern can be mitigated if you are a trusted adviser to your customer. Giving great advice to your customer allows them to build trust, which then allows for a more collaborative environment. Your customer will give you more information if they feel you are using that information to improve their lives, and not just sell to them.
Knowing Your Friend
The most efficient way of providing advice to your customer is to truly know the needs, desires, and efforts of that customer. Admittedly, this is easier to do in a B2B relationship than a B2C relationship.
If you are trying to develop a trusted adviser relationship with your consumer, then you must have an encyclopedia of information about them. By developing this encyclopedia of information in a customer Master Data Management (MDM) system, you’ll be able to offer them advice that is relevant in the right context and at the right time—all catered to an individual person’s life. At this point, you’re not perceived as Big Brother, but rather a trusted friend.
Worrying about a troublesome future is fine; worrying about over-reaching your influence on your consumers is fine as well. Just don’t let that concern hinder your ability to help a friend.
For more on Master Data Management, check out TIBCO’s MDM Overview white paper.