A little while back I blogged about Customer Data Platforms and their role in coordinating multiple channels when trying to develop customer-centric marketing solutions. More recently I caught up with Provenir – a company I know from its risk-centric decisioning platform – and with the team behind their new customer listening product. I plan to blog about the product in the future (once I have had a detailed briefing) but it struck me that this functionality, while clearly part of a Marketing Decision Management solution – pulls together a variety of elements and that don’t fit neatly into existing categories – it’s not campaign management, data management, content management, CRM or customer analytics. Instead it is focused on customer-centric connectivity – listening to customers across all channels so you can build a coherent picture of their wants and needs.
What’s crucial, though, in these kinds of systems is that you don’t just listen – you must also be able to learn (analytically) from what you hear and you must be able to act appropriately based on what you lean.
It’s also worth nothing that:
- This action could be in any channel and could be immediate or long delayed, depending on what might work best for your customer.
- You need to know what you did and why, so that too becomes part of the customer record for future analysis and learning.
- Sometimes the only way to learn is going to be by conducting experiments, trying something on a subset of your customers, so you need to be able to manage that too.
- Sometimes what you know is about an anonymous visitor and you still have to act appropriately while fitting that behavior to a customer once you can.
- What you hear might be structured or unstructured, streaming or static – it could have velocity, variety and volume – so be prepared for a wide range of Big Data sources
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype about “social listening” and social channels these days but the reality is that customers use these channels as well as your existing ones and that it is customer listening, customer analytics and customer next best action that matters.