On the other day in a meeting, one of my clients was asking me what do I think is the future of emailing or direct mail or telemarketing or SMSes for prospecting or building relationships with customers? He was telling me how a lot of data may be available in the form of lists or transactional data within companies but companies today cannot contact many of these customers because customers are fed-up with the constant badgering by companies for more business using all these channels or they use the word "relationship managers" ( who have access to data) in the garb of getting more business from them.
I couldn't agree with him more but here were my answers for these questions:
- Dynamic Data: Businesses today are dealing with customer data the same way they would have treated it a decade or two ago - Treating data as a static information versus seeing data as a dynamic element. Therefore, they continue to use data for a "business benefit".
The customers of today are asking businesses to reverse this approach - "Continuously allow me
to connect to the 'data trail' I leave behind". And businesses are struggling to cope-up with this change. Hence, they are still using 20th century marketing methods for 21st century customers which gives them diminishing returns.
- Adding data to products: Companies still treat products and data as siloes. Today, every product needs to have a data-component as one of its ingredients.Just as a body lotion has aloe-vera, banking products has internet/phone banking as new features, many products need to find ways to embed data into the product development framework.Then, up-selling & cross-selling happens automatically thro' customer participation and data triggers.
- Pre-sales service: Businesses have still not accepted that they are dealing with increasingly well-informed customers unlike the past. They still believe customers need to be "sold" but customers are constantly telling companies - " Help me buy!". They are becoming a part of different communities(offline & online) and also information-sharing among prospective customers today is far more easier then ever before. Hence, "being present" well ahead of the sale is an important factor in pre-sales situations for companies. Helping in the pre-sales process is today a data-centric activity and this has not been recognized by businesses. Hence, the traditional methods of prospecting will only get more difficult in the future.
Welcome to the world of personal informatics
Using personal data will be the new competitive advantage, businesses have to prepare themselves for. It will create a new generation of products & prospect or customer experiences that will capture data about us in ways we could never have imagined. Matt Jones & Tom Coates have a great presentation on this topic. Personal informatics will be an area that will see great growth in the future.
Take a look: