By Adam Fraser
A surprising headline, I admit, from the founder of a marketing technology business!
Of course I believe in the power of data insights, automation (where it makes sense) and technology facilitated process improvement.
I would like to share 2 recent personal stories which will chill the bones of every marketer:
Story one. Approximately 8 months ago, I switched internet providers. Since that date,I have had repeated email offers for me to switch to that same internet provider and receive 2 months free.
So, having already acquired me as a customer, said telco is spending money promoting a service I already have at great expense! And telling me very clearly they don’t know who I am.
Aha! I hear you say – you must have used a different email address to purchase? Nope.
Different name, spelling, mobile? Nope.
I did most of my procurement to switch via social. Clearly the vision of social integrating to CRM, or any semblance of “one view of the customer” is some way off.
Story 2. My wife has just switched mobile providers as she wished to upgrade to an iPhone 7 plus. Her previous 2 year contract expired a few months ago and I had procrastinated about renewing.
So obviously we heard from the incumbent mobile provider in the weeks before the contract was about to expire? Nope.
Oh, so they reached out and made an upgrade offer just after contract expiry? Nope.
Checked you were happy to stay on the current plan and explained options? Nope.
Thanked you for your 8 years of loyal service? Nada.
Allow me to labour this point for one more paragraph – there is a 1-2 week period every 24-30 months when I want to hear from mobile phone providers. The rest of the time it goes in one ear and out the other. The incumbent provider has an incredible advantage to tailor a personalised message and make a targeted offer at the right time, factoring in loyalty, spending patterns and usage data.
This mobile provider in parallel is happy to spend millions advertising to “the world” to bring new customers into the funnel. Err what about the ones you already have?
Of course during this period I have had hundreds of marketing automation generated emails offering me services I have neither heard of nor have any interest in. And been chased around the web with cookie enabled banner ads (almost always wasteful and inappropriately targeted) based on historical searches performed.
So you can understand my skepticism when I hear about the amazing powers of big data and AI, VR and the internet of things.
When building a house you should focus on solid foundations before you worry about the style of the taps and the sheen of the paint.
Isn’t it time for marketers to focus less on shiny new toys and more on the somewhat boring but critically important business process of looking after their actual existing customers?