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Four Reasons Why 2011 Is The Year of the Marketer

Posted by Bill Lee on January 10, 2011 at 12:34 PM

From the January 2011 issue of Reference Point.

1. Marketing can now start demonstrating direct impact on business performance.
In 2010, direct and compelling links from the value generated by customers (called "Customer Equity" or "CE") to a firm's overall value were established in a study published by V. Kumar and Denish Shah. This means that marketing can start creating direct impact on firm performance in ways that will matter--a lot--to any CFO and CEO. Prof. Kumar keynoted at one of our events a few years ago, btw.

2. An important part of that impact comes from customer engagement.
And customer engagement includes activities beyond purchasing, like influencing people to buy, giving referrals, sharing and building knowledge that helps provide services to other customers as well as input into product improvements and innovation. In other words, it includes the things you do in your reference, advisory board, customer communities and social media programs.

3. The C-suite is ready--no, eager--for this.
Back in 2007 The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that companies increasingly see customer engagement as defined above as "a more strategic way of looking at customer and stakeholder relationships" in order to create a "deeper, more meaningful connection" with the customer" as well as "customer interaction and participation."  That was echoed last year, as reported here and on my blog, in IBM's global survey of 1500 CEOs. It showed that one of their top three priorities is "reinventing customer relationships," which to them  includes bringing customers into the processes of the business--and that is, of course, precisely what your customer engagement program is helping to do.

4. CMOs are ready--no, desperate--for this.
The 2000s were not a good decade for CMOs. One study found that CMOs are the most frequently fired executives. In another by ANA & Booz Allen Hamilton, more than half of all companies surveyed said that the agendas of marketing and the CEO are not aligned. In yet another, a large majority of CEOs said that CMOs do not demonstrate adequate return on investment. Which is because they haven't had access to measures that resonate with CEOs or their CFOs. Now in 2011, they do.

I'll flesh out some more on this for you at the 2011 Summit on Customer Engagement, but for now, as you enter 2011, keep in mind that your work is a critical part of a very important trend in business right now.

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