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The rewired customer creates a conflicted CMO

By Christine Cutten - June 24, 2013

Rewired Customer_300x200In the Rewired Customer trend, we use the metaphor of neuroplasticity (which describes the capacity of the human brain to “rewire” itself in response to injury and dramatically changed circumstances) to describe how customers are “rewiring” their interactions with brands.   This is impacting the daily interactions I am having with my Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) clients.   Instead of asking how to better leverage traditional media, they now are asking how do they deal with expectations of transacting “anywhere-anytime,” a “do-it-yourself” mindset, and a dependence on the experience-based “wisdom of my tribe” as an integral part of the purchase process. Deloitte Consulting is helping CMOs manage “rewired customers” by changing the way they communicate with them, causing a large divide between old marketing models and new ones.

With “Anywhere-Anytime” I am seeing a big shift in marketing planning cycles and focus. Where historically there were forward buys for media, recently real-time bidding has emerged, challenging CMOs to determine a split between up front budget allocations versus holding back funds to better engage consumers with more flexible media buys. Marketing options have also proliferated beyond traditional media to digital to mobile to social. CMOs now should actively plan and manage multi-channel experiences that require new technical and analytic capabilities to feed simultaneously to the channels their customer prefers to use.

In my interactions with CMOs, “Do-It-Yourself” is the biggest technical challenge for them. One area of concern is the shift from macro-segmentation based messaging to rules-based personalization as customers actively search for the exact experiences they want. “Do-It-Yourself” requires streamlined experiences that are tailored to an individual and requires marketers to develop new analytics and digital delivery models. “Clientling,” the process by which retail associates deliver custom experiences to shoppers, shifts to a self-service model via digital tools.  Guided digital experiences which are often owned by marketers become just as, if not more, important than the sales and service teams.

“Wisdom of My Tribe” tends to be the biggest risk area for clients. Crowdsourcing of marketing campaigns and viral videos let consumers actively shape and participate in defining the brand. In turn, this can change how CMOs and their agencies work together. It is also shifting brand authority from the marketer to the customer, which creates new risks for marketers. “Rapid Test and Learn” is another phenomenon that is enabled (and required) by active two-way participation of customers with their brands. All of which can potentially take much of the brand control out of the hands of our clients.

As customers “rewire,” CMO clients who have become the de facto Chief Customer Officer need to “rewire” as well. Currently, they have split focus between old and new marketing models. Those that embrace their “rewired” customers and change the way they deliver marketing will likely drive more growth and enhance their brand.

Us_consulting_christinecullen_56x56In her 10-year tenure with Deloitte LLP, Christine Cullen has helped many CMOs rethink their marketing strategies and operations in areas such as: marketing intelligence, customer segmentation, digital and social marketing, marketing resource management, innovation marketing, marketing measurements, and return on investment. She works across many industries, maintaining a special focus on technology, manufacturing, retail, and consumer business.

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Like the article! Thinking of segmentation and the first basis of understanding customer needs and qualifying them, one could pethaps argue in favor of including the knowledge and experience of the tribe as predictor of expected outcome. Or, the question behind it- if advertisinh is the result of carefull segmentation, how could you increase you effectiveness in channel selection?

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