Are Companies Keeping Up with Customers?

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.33.41 PMWhether you’re wearing your marketing hat or your consumer hat, you’ve likely asked yourself some form of the following question: “Are companies keeping up with customers?”

In a recent AdExchanger article entitled “The Omni-Channel Paradox,” Mayur Gupta – global head of marketing, technology and operations for Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 global corporation that manufactures personal-care products – provides salient insights on the widening gap between brands and the audiences they’re trying to reach.

“The very model and capabilities used to make the [consumer] experience omnichannel and seamless is its biggest roadblock,” Gupta writes. “We are trying to create connected experiences using a massively fragmented ecosystem spanning data and technology, agencies and media management, and organizational and operating models.”

Gupta’s observations are consistent with one of the trends we’ve been studying here at Signal ever since our founding – the naturally omnichannel consumer who is in driver’s seat. Gupta writes, “With all the disruption within the digital landscape putting the consumer at the center and in full control, the consumer has effortlessly become omnichannel while brands still struggle with being multichannel, at best.” Consequently, brands are falling behind in keeping pace with their customers and losing their loyalty.

The result of the fragmented marketing technology space is that the systems containing piecemeal customer data are siloed, incapable of adequately integrating and exchanging information.

Without a neutral integration point for linking the many disparate marketing technology systems in existence and enabling them to communicate with each other for more holistic customer insights, how can marketers ever expect to overcome the problem of fragmentation and gain a unified view (and ideally a true understanding) of people who move fluidly across channels and devices?

On top of these technology hurdles, there are the equally inhibitive organizational roadblocks. Brands’ own business units and their agency partners largely manage customer experiences with blinders on, using splintered strategies that are narrowly focused on specific channels as opposed to horizontal, customer-centric perspectives.

In line with Signal’s client best practices, Gupta suggests that, in order to resolve these foundational issues, convergence and collaboration are necessary across the entire operating model. By breaking down silo walls, the center of the brand can revolve around the customer – something and someone which all departments need to serve.

Originally published April 08, 2014

Carol Jouzaitis

Carol Jouzaitis was previously VP, Analyst Relations at Signal.

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