As marketers, we know being customer-centric is job #1. Most of our attention is on the customer-facing interactions – the “front office” of marketing. But without connecting the strategy, planning and budget – the “back office” of marketing – we’ll fall short in creating a true customer-focused approach.
Kathleen Schaub, vice president CMO Advisory Service at IDC, and Kristine Steuart, CEO at Allocadia, joined me for The Missing Link in Becoming Customer Centric: Connecting Marketing’s Back Office, the second of our #RunMarketing webinar series.
Below are key highlights: why it’s important for marketers to connect the back office of marketing in their quest to become customer-centric.
Marketing’s Critical Links
Buyers are used to seamless consumer experiences, and they expect the same in their B2B online experiences. Unfortunately, decades of siloed organizations mean most B2B buyers face increasingly fractured experiences – and rising frustrations.
To truly serve customers, Kathleen explained marketers need to create connective tissue across the silos and form four critical links:
- Customer-Centric Purpose
Connection starts with a common purpose, which includes a mission that informs every marketing decision and action. An interlinked strategy ensures all actions drive towards customer-centric objectives.
- Customer-Centric Workforce
Culture is also critical. Are companies collaborative? Do rewards systems motivate customer-centric behavior and cooperation? Is the team hired, equipped and trained in customer-centric practices?
- Customer-Centric Capabilities
These are the processes and practices of marketing, like content marketing, insight-driven marketing, digital and social engagement, sales enablement, and loyalty and advocacy initiatives. Most companies will have problems scaling these capabilities if marketing lacks the operational “scaffolding.” Scaffolding represents the structural elements that support large scale change and integration. Organizations need scaffolding – operational aspects to keep things moving together – to build these new competencies of marketing at scale.
- Customer-Centric Technology and Data
Great customer service can’t happen without marketing technology. Technology and the corresponding data provide an unprecedented opportunity to serve customers in ways that were never possible before. Without building this connective tissue and crossing those silos, the fractured buying experience will get even worse.
Why the “Back Office” Is Critical to Customer-Centricity
The back office refers to the operations – that critical scaffolding referenced earlier – responsible for managing and administering the marketing function. None of the important customer-facing work (the external-facing side of marketing) can happen without an integrated back office.
Without linking the “front office” to the “back office,” how do you:
- Align all your customer-centric goals and objectives?
- Plan how many leads and how much revenue you need to generate?
- Measure and analyze the return on your investment?
- Optimize and reallocate dollars?
Ultimately, you can’t have one without the other. Linking “run marketing” with “do marketing” eliminates the traditional silos and creates a true customer-centric approach.
How Can We Become More Customer-Centric?
Linking marketing’s “back office” is just one step on the path to customer-centricity. Here are a few other suggestions:
- Create your company’s culture code. For example, in the Allocadia Culture Code, we commit to working together with customers to improve how we run marketing.
- Look for opportunities to transform the entire customer journey. At Allocadia, both the marketing team and the customer success team are aligned holistically.
- Create quick wins. It may take time to get to the complete picture of customer-centricity, but implement easy programs to jumpstart change.
- Challenge yourself to break out of your silo. Silos can be comfort zones. Spend more time examining how processes work from a customer’s perspective rather than what works best for your internal team.
For more details, watch and listen to the full recording of this webinar.