My take: IBM buys Unica and what that means

A lot of people are talking about IBM buying Unica and what it means to Enterprise Marketing Management.  I know there is a lot of bashing going on about this deal – there is no bashing here.  Only some honest perspective from someone who has been inside IBM.   As a former IBMer, Unica expert and marketer by trade, I think most of the stuff out there is missing a number of points and does not remotely consider the acquisition’s depth and breadth.

1.  IBM is the largest Unica implementation (I think…), but while that gives us perspective, it does not give IBM a delivery model translating the internal capability outward. While IBM has done that in cases, the business model for sending marketers into the field to do campaign building, user adoption and knowledge transfer is not proven. And not likely. It is fairly challenging to free up Marketing resources to do consulting work.  In the short term, expect the model to rely on Unica professional services (which has been shrinking) and partners (like my employer covalent marketing – where our team has 100% project success on Unica implementations across our careers…)

2. You need to examine where in the software portfolio Unica ends up. Unica has to sit in a software sales stack – that’s just IBM’s way of allocating revenue,  people and support.  While most outsiders would see Unica it in its own vein, and it might grow to that (it might not be big enough to warrant it now), it was not bought for the Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) side of the house (who are trying to own the marketing relationships).  It will sit closer to the web stack.  Most people say – oh, Core Metrics – a narrow assumption.  Try iLog and Websphere Commerce and Web Management and Social Media apps as well.  Connecting Unica to those pieces is where the big money sits.  Being able to detect and trigger campaign events to parties of one – bring it on…

You’ll likely see more blending on Unica Campaign Reporting and Dashboarding through Cognos (which has received a platform overhaul and looks pretty good now).  You won’t see SPSS and Unica Model/Optimize try to duke it out.  That will likely take place in the background, and I am not predicting who wins.  However, SPSS is the probably the stronger functionality wise, even if it is not for the *average* marketer.    I just hope the average marketer (not the average modeler) is considered.

This even gets to a smarter planet approach, my friends.  What happens when sensors detect that a power grid is likely to be reaching brownout stages?  Is there a way to alert those affected via SMS, TV messaging, phone call, email?  Now, there is…

Unica’s Universal Dynamic Interconnect means it can easily connect to a lot of platforms – and middleware – without a great deal of re-architecting…that will help it gain traction in the portfolio faster.

3. Unica’s largest implementer of EMM globally? Accenture. Enough said.

4. This deal changes Unica’s ability to get into Managed Business Process Services – for both small and mid tier clients. Given the initial IBM Red Pill acquisition, which was a MBPS acquisition, this functionality could expand outsourcing capabilities.  Now, Unica has been promoting these types of partnerships rather heavily, including at the Marketing Summit earlier this year.   A lot of the data and database service providers can see this as a threat or a promise (Experian, Acxiom, Harte Hanks, Merkle).    They can benefit from getting earlier alignment with IBM in terms of the right portfolio depth.  For them, it’s not about servers and software.  Its about data exchange and integration…they need to look at IBM as a new and different marketing partner.  IBM is not interesting in owning data, simply helping to make its management and usage better.  (Or at least heretofore it has not been interesting in owning data…)

5. Unica has not managed to offer deep functionality in a cloud based service yet. IBM can make that a reality.  IBM’s got one of the most baked cloud offerings out there.  And if IBM can marry a small but solid Cognos offering to a small but solid Unica offering through the cloud for SMB, there’s a home run.

6. IBM has a creative agency team with global reach and deployment to supplement complete program efforts.  So, if someone needs a campaign in 62 languages and 100 countries by next week, deployed and out the door…IBM can now not only serve it, and create it, they can help target and deliver it…

7. IBM also has a full complement of social software, with more in the pipeline.

So, while a lot of people are talking about who will IBM buy next, I think the question is how quickly can IBM make Unica  central part of the stack for sales and delivery.  The sales side is easier.  And I for one am volunteering our company to help them on the delivery side.  -c-

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz

10 New Examples of Smarter Customer Focus

So, it’s been a year since my original posting and I wanted to talk about who I thought was doing smart customer-focused things again – because it’s the most read post on my blog…(original post) – which I think means it’s most important to you.

I want to reiterate something I said in the original:  Focus on the “customer and the why” before the “what and the how.”  That being said…here is the 2010 list.  I have profiled some of these in the papers, but I thought for those who have not read them, this could be an interesting exploration.  Each of these companies is doing at least something smart.  I am not saying they are perfect, I am not saying I am validating their strategies.  I am saying there are at least 10 great easy-to learn lessons on the list.  If anyone works for any of these companies, I would love to hear from you.

1.  Chase/JP Morgan Chase (Financial Services) Chase made the list for two things – someone over there is definiteChase allows the community to decide where it givesly on the right track.  With Chase Community Giving, they used Facebook and voting to determine where to invest charitable dollars.  I am betting that this gave them a whole lot more positive impressions, and ENGAGEMENT than a traditional approach would have.    And as if one nice thing to say wasn’t enough, Chase also gave me a nice tangible example of Strategic Service that was not or Wesabe…Chase launched a set of tools called Chase Blueprint that allows cardholders to set up split payments and better understand their financial situation.  Sure, the customer could have simply elected to review the bill and divvy up a large purchase over as many payments as he sees fit.  Now he doesn’t have to – within boundaries, Chase can bill the customer the way the customer wants for large purchases.  This reinforces the purchase, not the balance which seems to remain long after the statement line item is gone… 

2.  Turbo Tax (software) It’s spring, and my mind turns to daffodils, tulips and TAXES.  Ugh.  However, Turbotax- and their owner Intuit (who just acquired, another smarter customer-focused move), delivers in many ways that are worthwhile.  First off, a Youtube Channel.  Anyone who has ever tried to read or search a tax code document for anything – and then understand it after the arduous search knows there had to be a better way.  But a video channel?  Yes, a Video channel.  And Community Service – where you can ask a question of the community about something you are trying to do or find, and people answer.  I know, I did my taxes with Turbo Tax so I could watch what people were asking and answering.

3.  Best Buy (retail) – why is Best Buy on the list? They are consummate testers and try-ers.  They go boldly where few brands have gone before.  Twelpforce, their Twitter community help is a great idea of matching customer needs to the sales people who WANT to answer them.  And yes, they got blasted about their Facebook bi-lingual question, but at least they tried.  Remember, not everything will go as you planned.  They kept going, and learned.  And the learning was worthwhile, if a little painful for a few days.   I give them high marks for asking the community.  You can’t control the response.  Just keep monitoring to take action.

4.  Tesco (retail) – like so many other people with an untreated retail addiction, I end up with a number of Loyalty cards in my wallet, and tags on my key ring.  I also carry my iPhone.  So, it was with surprise and delight that Tesco did what I have been asking US-based retailers for for 2 years.  They created a loyalty app for iPhone that means I can ditch the card.  The card can’t tell me offers or information on the way to the store.  But the app can.  It became an overnight sensation.  Kudos Tesco, first the product finder (nice try) and now the Loyalty app.

5.  Mini (automotive) – while Mini online allows you to dream about a cute little vehicle in 63 countries and myriad languages, it also allows you to build your own Mini with game-like interaction, outfitting the car to your whim.  There is not another auto manufacturer who lives and breathes the brand into their effort the way Mini does.  The language matches the brand tone.  The look, feel and interaction are harmoniously on-brand.   I have also seen (but do not know if they continue to provide) a new owner box that puts the Apple iPhone box to shame…anyone?  

6.  Duke Healthcare System(healthcare) – I had the privilege of hearing Asif Ahmad speak at an IBM event, and the story he told is worth retelling.  The focus on electronic patient records is only a small part of the solution.  Better smarter healthcare for every consumer must be enabled by better smarter hospitals, who can learn not from each patient but from aggregated learnings applied to the right patients.  When learning how to prevent falls in hospitals, you don’t need to try to protect each patient – you need to narrow the aperture to focus on patients who meet certain

The News I want, all in one place

preconditions…the answers are found in better analytics that enable deeper understanding, not just being smarter – but then doing something – acting smarter by informing the staff what and who to watch closely.

7.  Netvibes (online news aggregation) – Netvibes has something good going on.  Their smarter customer focus is around customization.  Widgets = enablement, however it’s magnificent depth and delivery that count here.  The picture is my customized netvibes dashboard for the daily news I see fit to read (or at least try to – some of what’s there is definitely aspirational).  However Netvibes doesn’t stop with the consumer, they have customized dashboards for business, medical,sustainability, green…they present what you need to know in a configurable fashion.  This is a great example of innovative market making.  They can gather the data of the most selected news widgets (and even bring that back to the news providers), can recommend additional content based on preferences, and I hope one day, take this view of what is interesting to me and create a segmentation model to sell that means tons more to me than saying I bought this product or that.  They know better than most what interests me at a higher level than any one provider would.  Alternately, they might be able to offer smaller content chunks or customized ones – like the top 10 book recommendations for me…

However, in thew path forward, we raise the issue of what this means to mainstream media – if I no longer need to visit these sites directly, any advertising you place there might be lost.  Marketers will need to find a better and more engaging way to get to me…

8.  RueLaLa (online retail) – Luxury goods seemed to suffer a great deal more in the downturn than other categories, but a new form of aggregators popped up to help clear inventories.  Offering short-turn sales of specific goods available on a members-only basis, RueLaLa and its ilk (,, and others) really began to thrive as as a way to get a deal – adding cash and cachet for the brand.  RueLaLa made this list because of its attention to detail and carry-through on their brand promise.  Their little notes and language expressed in how they package their items and communicate with their customers deserves to be emulated.  Sure, I shop them all, but RueLaLais a great customer experience.  Order something and find out.

Haiti thanks Zynga

9.  Zynga (online games- not gambling) I would love Zynga for their .org offering which rapidly rose up to help Haiti, no matter what.  However, its their business model that counts for getting customers to spend in the context of a *free* game.  They deserve a whole post unto their own.  They design engaging simple games – from planting and managing a farm(Farmville) to running a cafe (Cafeworld) to the King Daddy – Mafia Wars.  With 180mm players a month, their social gaming model has managed to get people to play and to pay – in small increments of both time and money.  The recruitment model for players focuses on one player joining and then inviting friends.   Players can do better by doing things in-game for and with their friends.  In Mafia Wars you are required to engage others in your nefarious activities.  In Farmville, you need others to help you build a barn.    If you want to “shortcut” your way forward, to say a larger farm  or a bigger house for your pet in Petville (a game one of my friends plays with her daughter – and teaches nice lessons on sharing and being clean), then you can invest 5 or 10 bucks and get a whole host of great things.  So whether you advance  through bringing them more players or by cash power-ups, the model is a compelling way to pay to play.

(Jnue 24 – New Business Week article on Zynga and social gaming here.)

I met with a water company in Australia and asked them to understand Fishville as a paradigm for sharing their efforts with customers.  Gaming is  a powerful tool, and one EVERY company and brand can find a niche and context for communication.  Stop thinking its about kids (I can show you pictures of my farm and the 15 other adults I connect to there…)

10.  Bailey’s – the Diageo Brand (alcoholic beverages) – they were an easy choice for this list because they do something simply brilliant.  AlmoBaileys is bilingualst every Facebook message that Baileys posts is bilingual.  I don’t even speak Spanish but one doesn’t have to be bi-lingual to get the point.

Additional props on offer:  Southwest – who let passengers rebook during the last round of US snowstorms.  This was not only great customer service and experience but an operational coup!  By announcing to customer that they could rebook due to weather far enough out for the customers to adjust plans, they not only engender customer good will (they didn’t cause the snow after all), they prevent hours of wasted airport time.  And I am big on reducing hours of wasted time.  No airport is a good airport in a delay.   They also reduce the systemic strain on contact centers for rebooking.  I love a situation where everyone compromises for good, and this was certainly one of them.

Toyota has also gotten a lot of bad press and is trying to mitigate it.  I think Toyota conversations is a step in the right direction.  After trying to keep the spin tightly focused on the *positive* if such a thing can exist, they are now being a little more direct and open with what they are featuring.  Bad news travels fast, and while they were late in responding, this is a pretty good response, all in all.

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz


PS – All rights and trademarks are reserved by the brands, my opinions are mine and all the legalese that should be here.

Another step on the path forward – the new digital channels whitepaper

Going digital: The connected, collaborative path forward is finally published.  The link is in the right hand nav bar, second from the top (for now).  Or, to make it simple, it is also the headline above.

Here is the first page, with hopes of whetting your appetite to get more:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) executives face change of an unprecedented magnitude: more people are doing more online than ever before, creating more data and opportunity for interaction than at any time in history. Smarter companies are developing digital approaches that support these
emerging customer needs. Based on responses from the IBM 2009 Customer Relationship Management Survey, we’ve decomposed the complexities of the new
digital reality. As a result, we believe leadership on the connected and collaborative path forward will depend upon using customer insight and channels to understand and engage more effectively with customers.

Nearly 50 percent of the respondents in our 2009 CRM Leaders Study, The Path Forward: New Models for Customer Focused Leadership, indicated that they struggle with selecting the right channels to reach customers.1 Is it any wonder why?
In surveying nearly 500 CRM executives in 66 countries, we found that few activities have undergone more change in less time than how businesses manage customer interactions.

leaders attributes
The attributes of Leaders

The rise of smarter, interconnected customers who use technology not available 10 years ago – smart phones, social networking and Web 2.0 tools – has significantly impacted the way CRM works. Adoption of these technologies is accelerating faster than at any point in history. Consider, for example,

that while it took almost 10 years for the Internet to cross the 100 million user threshold,

Facebook reached over 350 million users in less than five years. Today, Facebook Mobile connects 65 million people (see Figure 1).2 Apple’s App Store recorded 1.5 billion downloads from among 65,000 offerings in its first year of operation.3 TechCrunch estimates 1.2 billion YouTube videos are viewed daily.4 Twitter, the microblogging service created in 2006, already has tens of millions of subscribers.5 Google is little more than a decade old, but users currently generate about a petabyte of data every hour (that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes or 1015).6

With the number of new communications tools available and their increasingly widespread use, it is clear that the traditional methods of connecting with customers are becoming obsolete. Those companies with the desire to remain or become CRM pacesetters must embrace new digital opportunities that can help them effectively engage today’s new Web-empowered consumer.

Hope you’ll start down the path…thank you.  Also, come back and tell me what you think.  I’d really appreciate it if you might give me the opportunity to listen and learn what you’re thinking.


Cristene Gonzalez- Wertz

#IBMCRM cjgw

McKinsey and MIT on collaboration – and its meaning for innovative market making

Link to PDF of McKinsey/McAfee interview

Wanted to recap some of the great soundbytes – none out of context I hope from a McKinsey interview with Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management on collaboration.  Right out the gate, McAfee hits us with a metaphor we all need to remember – don’t try to “program” collaboration with roles and terms.  He does so by describing Wikipedia’s early model, and what happened with they took the arbitrary restrictions away from it.  (I won’t spoil the story)

For those of you who have heard me speak on “setting unruly adoption goals,” you can only imagine how much I loved seeing this McAfee statement in the interview:

“I’m a fan of: deploy the tools, talk a little bit about what you want to have happen, and then find pockets of energy, highlight them, discuss them, show the good stuff that emerges. And also, again, signal from the top that this is what you want to have happen.”

When we try to over-engineer, we leave out the opportunity for people to make it their own, to learn and extend it beyond what we originally thought possible.

“Another failure mode is to be too concerned about the possible risks and the downsides. If we get wrapped up in those, we’re not going to take the plunge and actually deploy any of these new tools and turn them on and encourage people to go ahead.”

Every time I speak to a pharmaceutical company, an insurer, or a conservative financial services company, I make similar points.  If companies with the IP that Cisco, IBM, Apple and others have – and the employees that we do – if we can create policies that can allow us to participate, so can you.  Even if you start out “behind the firewall,” that’s okay – in fact that’s great.  Just imagine exactly how much smarter an insurer or a bank might be if they – EVERY day, encouraged their customer service personnel to answer four key questions:

  • what is the best idea for a new product you either heard or thought about today?
  • what is the thing our customers like best about the service we deliver?
  • what is the thing our customers like least about the service we deliver?
  • what one (non-monetary) thing can we do to enable you to succeed with customers more?

I dare you – do it for a week – see what you get back.  That is the start of innovative market making.  For companies who aren’t comfortable asking customers directly, then ask the people who speak with your customers all day every day.  You don’t even need to ask all of your employees – how about picking 100?  Having been down this path with two banks, I can tell you the shock on the executives’ faces when they understand the really smart cookies they have working in their CS teams.

Near the end of the interview, McAfee makes another great statement:

“Again, you see a lot of energy, you see a lot of people very willing to take a few seconds to answer a colleague’s question—even if it’s a colleague they don’t know.”

We see this time and again in IBM and across the greater web-world. It’s a part of the human condition, this “helping thing.” We find that it is among the greatest ways to mine the intelligence of an informal global network.  For all the tools we have in IBM, two of my favorites are an innovation community (Kraken, named after the seabeast) and a CRM community (Cureman, less creative, but it works) that exist solely as an email team.  Each has grown up enough to have a dedicated community manager, and those women are dedicated, because each has a separate and other full-time job.  However, we respond where we can.  We mine our hard drives, we ping our friends, we point to internal resources, we point to other communities.  We share.  Innovative Market Making is about taking the potential in these communities, inside and outside the organization and making them real in terms of benefits for customers and revenue for the organization.

More on innovative market making to come – Booz Allen had a great article in the Fall 2009 Strategy and Business Magazine that I want to share with you.  -c-


Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz

An example of smarter customer focus: Strategic Service Delivery from Opower

Strategic Service Delivery is about activities that improve customer interactions through new channels by sharing information, engaging people with their information and that of the world around them.  It is a two-way process that embodies the “Listen-Learn-Engage-Harvest” cycle.   I promised to start providing examples of Strategic Service Delivery, Complexity Reduction and Innovative Market Making – the three levers of success defined in The Path Forward:  new models for customer-focused leadership.  This is the first one.

When we think of utilities, we often don’t think about them as being particularly strategic, especially not around customer interactions.  Then I came across this example that fires on all cylinders from  They are not the utility – but they provide analytics that makes the utility and its customers smarter.  With the tagline, energy efficiency. delivered, I had high hopes.  They exceeded my expectations where they deliver web-based content that engages the customer through comparison and recommendations toward smarter customer decisions.  As my colleague Adam is so fond of saying, and I have adopted – guide, don’t educate.  Education often implies something that places product and company at the center of the universe.  Guiding is about placing the customer and his needs at the center of the universe.

So here is what I like about Opower’s style and approach:

Quantification: “Opower will help utilities save enough energy to power 25,000 homes this year.”

Context: Opower benchmarks you not to some weird standard, but to your neighbors, both the generic set and the more energy efficient folks.  This sets up two positive continuums.  One, regardless of whether people are conscious of their own competitive nature or not, people will at least evaluate how they feel about their  position in light of this data.   The second is it gives you the ability to track and trend – understanding your performance in a little more detail.

Content: Real recommendations that drive saving money. Regardless of an individual’s current economic standard, I have yet to hear “wow, let me pay my utility company more.”  This is an area where people can save and feel like they are not hurting anyone, not hurting themselves – there is little to no downside risk in trying to save money.

Engagement: This a great demonstration where engagement with the data means everyone wins.  The company doesn’t take action, the customer must.  So getting the customer to see the value is important.  To that end, I think the granularity of the information is important.  In this case, it’s not about saving money all day – it’s about actions at particular times of the day.  Saving energy, saving money, becoming smarter customers…the company becomes smarter…(Harvesting, which leads us back to Listening…Learning…Engaging…there’s that virtuous cycle again).

Customer Insight Leadership and Optimization: The beauty of this is that it takes data that the company would normally collect, anonymizes it, classifies it and then makes it personally relevant.  Then, it presents ways that the insight leads to better decisions for the customer.

Digital Channel Leadership: The web brings the ability to change and compare to life in a way that a statement mailer, direct mail, IVR cannot.  Seeing the savings and CO2 abatement increase makes the value case more valuable – for us, for our environment.  It might work acceptably in an email, but still not as well as a medium designed for interaction.

Way to go Opower.  I wish you much success.  See the Business Week article on Opower here.

(I have no relationship with Opower, I just think it’s a great idea. ) -c-

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz


The Path Forward: New Models for Customer Focused Leadership (doc link)

Link to download the paper

Finally!  Here is the downloadable version of the whitepaper.  Enjoy – and please let me know what you think. -c-

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz


Extract from the upcoming whitepaper: The Path Forward

So, I received printed versions of the first of the five whitepapers in our 2009 CRM Leadership Study, The Path Forward:  New Models for Customer Focused Leadership.  I am really excited about it.

The first paper is what we have termed the Umbrella – the one that introduces you to all the concepts so that we can deep dive on respective topics in the subsequent four, which all launch on November 11, God willing.  At least now that we have the approach settled upon and the tenor and demeanour, things can move more quickly.

I left you with a flavor for what was in the study last time.  So let me pick up there.

As businesses take the first tentative steps forward after the recent global economic pressures, it is time for marketing, sales and service executives to confront the undeniable market forces exposed by the downturn. Consumers are fundamentally changed, the world is increasingly digital and business models are challenged to be viable. As CRM professionals seek to develop new paths forward, they must quickly focus on developing customer insight and digital channels leadership that will allow them to transform customer experience, open new markets and reduce organizational complexity.

As we said when I started this dialogue a few weeks ago, The Path Forward reveals that 80 percent of global CRM leaders believe they are prepared to handle the demands of the current economic environment.  And while there is a lingering doubt about the economy, most expect recovery to begin no later than mid-to-late 2010.  However, this desire to continue our worries about the economy will likely to impact business decisions and results for the foreseeable future.
The depth of the recession and the likely-to-linger residual effects leave behind significant questions about the viability of old ways of doing business. For example, are the tried and true business models – those that created the economic boom of the early part of this decade – still valid? If you read the last post, you know the answer is No, the old business approaches will not resolve the problems of today and tomorrow.  They do not reflect the way consumers want to engage with businesses.  Businesses also find themselves challenged to have the data when and in the format they need to create strategic insights that drive real growth.

Our observation across multiple industries and geographies shows new market forces that are emerging will likely drive a major transformation of business models and customer engagement functions over the next few years. Customer interactions will have to be reshaped to address the changing dynamics of how people make purchasing decisions and engage with companies.  They won’t be buying products – they will be selecting among solutions that work, which CONTAIN a product.  If you are still selling products, you may just find your revenue growth constrained.

At the forefront of change is the digital information explosion.  Consider, for example, that more data will be created in 2009 than in the past 5,000 years combined.  This lovely blog post from Andreas Weigend former chief scientist from Amazon makes the point eloquently.  It’s not about just search – it’s about context.  And with the world’s four billion cell phones, two billion Internet users, thirty-three billion RFID tags and many billions of transistors adding data
to the stream minute by minute, the information clutter is not going to abate anytime soon.  It’s going to get worse.  And companies are trapped in the middle of that – mostly without a differentiator in sight (or on site for that matter.)

It’s not just the consumer who is faced with too many options – companies are inundated with so much information that making sound decisions becomes exponentially more difficult.  The challenge becomes effectively mining the large mountains of data to find those bits of information and enable actions that add real customer value. Closing this gap – from insight to action across any and all channels – is the foundation of new paths to leadership. Today’s Marketing, Sales and Service leaders, regardless of industry, business model or geography must:
• Listen across a wide array of connected people and things
• Learn by collecting, connecting and reducing data into insight made faster by technology
• Engage the customer simply and directly, moving seamlessly from decision to action in the business processes that drive relevant experiences
• Harvest these interactions to continuously improve customer engagement through all channels, devices and people.

That sounds simple, right?  My colleague Steve Lavalle, in a new piece of research he is completing actually notes that organizations must take the data they collect and use it to challenge the status quo to create new opportunities, predict and prepare for the future by evaluating trade offs effectively and proactively and do something bold:  empowering employees to act.

Companies need to rapidly get good with big dirty noisy disparate data generated everywhere and by everybody.  They need to develop a greater ability to mine data, leverage analytics and create an effective communications platform.  Doing that opens the door for three categories of leaders to emerge by 2012:
• Customer Insight Leaders, who optimize myriad data, transform it into something useful and create measurable value;
• Digital Channel Leaders, who harness new methods of creating value through customer interactions and new products, services and business models in an always-on digital world;
• New Era Leaders, who incorporate the best practices of each.

Dimensions of Leaderhsip
Dimensions of Leaderhsip

Further, these three segments will be able to choose – based on the business conditions they face and the market positions they want to occupy – from among three distinct levers to increase their potential for differentiation:

Radical Cost and Complexity Reduction

Innovative Market Making

Strategic Service Delivery

Depending on the specific needs of the company, it may choose just one lever or combine elements from all three to craft a unique path forward.
Cost and Complexity Reduction entails taking costs out of business to make operations leaner, more flexible and more accessible to customers.

Innovative Market Making focuses on social business design to engage customers, partners and suppliers in creating value. It provides the opportunity – or
imperative – to cocreate solutions and products alongside customers, partners and vendors – even competitors.

Strategic Service Delivery uses all available channels to improve the customer experience. Whether the customer chooses to call the contact center, visit a retail outlet or branch, find the answer via the Web or engage through social tools such as microblogging, strategic service considers the customer’s goals
and enables customer success. It optimizes every channel to be responsive and engaging – however, whenever, wherever and why-ever the customer chooses. It also allows the customer to move seamlessly from channel to channel – for instance, moving from the Web to the contact center or to a retailer to purchase what he or she has found.

In the data-intensive, customer-friendly, digital age, leaders will be defined by how they develop and leverage insight to respond to ever-changing consumer demands. They will do this while embracing new digital communications for sales, service and marketing. Whether they focus on differentiating
themselves through Customer Insight, Digital Channels or both, they will recognize the benefits by taking quick, decisive action to pursue their path forward.

Why would you want to make the investment in doing this?  Because Leadership has its advantages according to the nearly 500 participants that we surveyed through the Economist Intelligence Unit:

The Lift of Leadership - up to 5x better performance
The Lift of Leadership - up to 5x better performance

We will dive more into this next time, as this post has gone on way too long already.  However, we hope to convince you not only that leadership has its privileges, but that you can get there…looking forward to it.


Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz