Commentary

What's Keeping You Up At Night?

What keeps you up at night? What questions keep your brain humming long after the lights are out? It often seems like a good night’s sleep is just one easy answer away. If you could only figure out how to do “x” in order to achieve “y,” you’d be sleeping like a baby in no time. Easier said than done, of course.

I conducted my own informal research and asked several marketing and customer experience leaders what marketing challenges keep them tossing and turning. They responded with some pretty potent slumber-disrupters, such as:

  • How do I prove ROI on marketing technology and how can I drive incremental sales? What is the payback period?
  • Is there a solution out there that can do everything I need it to or is it best to choose a compartmentalized, best-of-breed solution that is highly configurable?
  • The function of CRM is actually creating silos in my company. How can I blend people, process, and technology but not lose sight of the customer?

What surprised me most about these responses is how much they differed from last year when I posed the same question. In 2016, data took the dubious title of top sleep wrecker. I heard, “How do I solve for data?” or “How do I manage and make sense of big data?” This time around, even when I asked about data specifically, the topic almost felt passé. The challenges we face as business leaders now are no longer solely about the data itself but have evolved to the enabling element of how to use that data. And that boils down to technology.

We’re all hoping to find that silver bullet — the single technology solution that will solve for disjointed customer experiences and improve the bottom line with minimal effort. Yet marketing technology alone is not the fix. 

One of the biggest challenges that I see is that marketing and customer experience professionals are having a difficult time linking data and technology in a way that makes customer insights actionable and scalable. This might be the reason that more and more companies are hiring marketing technologists—to help them use technology in a manner that leads to a competitive advantage. 

I think there are bigger, more strategic questions that should, if not give us collective insomnia, at least make us think:

  • Where are the leaks in my customer lifecycle and how do I fix them?
  • What are the pain points and drivers fueling my customer experience?
  • What is the long-term value of a customer relationship? How do I prioritize one customer segment over another?
  • If it really takes data, technology, and engagement strategy to drive action, what skill sets and expertise do my team need to have? Where are the gaps?

We are all trying to do right by our customers while balancing the need to create tangible business value. This does not come easy and not without fundamental changes in the way we conduct business. Actionable intelligence is highly dependent on integrated customer interaction and data systems, deep customer insight, and processes that support scalable and sustainable execution.

Sleep on that.

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