This week, 4C hosted “How Audience Intelligence Fuels Customer-Obsessed Marketing,” a webinar with guest speakers Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester’s Vice President, Principal Analyst, and Aaron Goldman, 4C’s CMO. In the webinar, Shar and Aaron discussed ways that marketers can become customer-obsessed in a world being disrupted by digital change.
As consumers embrace new technologies faster than ever – a concept Forrester calls “hyperadoption” – they’re looking to brands to provide new experiences at the same pace. This disruption presents an opportunity for brands, one that Shar warns many companies are not yet ready to embrace. As the market becomes saturated with new companies, the average lifespan of a publicly listed company has declined from 60 years in the 1960s to around 20 years now. Forrester recommends that companies embrace a customer-obsessed approach to fight this trend, putting their audience at the center of their operating model, with marketing teams leading this initiative.
Pivoting to a customer-obsessed operating model revolves around embracing four principles: being customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected. It’s not enough for brands to have a basic awareness of their customers, collect as much data as possible, focus on perfection, and silo their teams anymore. Brands need to invest time and energy into digging into who their audience really is so they can quickly build and adapt strategies specifically for those customers.
Shifting an entire company to this approach can be a huge undertaking, so Shar recommends that marketing teams focus on three key areas to help lead the transition:
- Customer understanding: Customer understanding is not just information that’s locked in a database or found from a series of focus groups. Customer-obsessed marketers are true customer advocates. They know who their customers are, what they value, and why.
- Brand strategy: Brand strategy means that marketers define their company’s brand promise and how the organization will live it.
- Brand experience: Brand experience means that marketing balances how organizations will solve customer problems and deliver on customer needs while staying true to its brand promise.
While these three key areas have customer understanding at the core, gathering valuable, relevant audience insights is easier said than done. As our CMO Aaron Goldman discussed, self-reported consumer behaviors and conventional wisdom are often inaccurate. People naturally want to report what they think others want to hear, or what they think is most socially or politically acceptable.
On the flip side, digital data about audience engagements and interactions does not lie. A very real example of this was with the 2016 US Presidential Election. While polling data showed Hillary Clinton ahead leading right up to election day, 4C examined social media data that showed President Trump pulling ahead in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the final weeks of the campaign.
Marketers can get a much clearer picture of what their audience really cares about by digging into this data with modern tools for audience intelligence. Scope by 4C™ was created for this reason, and helps marketers easily discover audience insights, execute media based on that information, and analyze performance of that media. Brand Compass, part of Scope, surfaces and visualizes exclusive, persona-based insights from the 4C Insights Affinity Graph™, a proprietary combination of TV, social, and digital data that comprehensively maps how audiences are connected to media, technology, and each other. Competitive benchmarks, TV and brand affinities, and audience interests are some of the insights available from Brand Compass.
As Shar and Aaron both discussed, understanding the customer is the new imperative for modern marketers. As brands continue to compete for attention across channels and screens, they will need to put their customer first in order to come out on top.