The double meaning of customer intelligence.
Customer Intelligence is, essentially, a collection of data that helps companies better understand what customers and/or prospects want, why they buy, what they buy and even, why they leave the store. Companies pay big money and make extraordinary efforts to collect this data by purchasing lists, trolling social media sites, measuring web traffic, bounce rates and even hiring secret shoppers. Customer Intelligence is all about data extraction, prediction and manipulation. It’s driven by companies for companies. And it’s a big industry.
It occurred to me this afternoon (since SoLoMo is working on a cool platform that helps individuals manage their identities and connect with brands they trust), that Customer Intelligence very much has a double meaning–Customers ARE Intelligent and companies that recognize this and implement cooperative marketing tactics (rather than sneaky spy tactics) will emerge as tomorrow’s favorite brands.
Customers are more knowledgeable than ever, due to the rich digital world in which we live, where data violations rise quickly to the surface and brands must engage armies of PR agents to mitigate the damage. Some companies still seem to hold their customers in low regard and seek to use duplicitous tactics to win them over.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Great companies will engage in “trust tactics” to win customers. This somewhat new approach takes executive leadership, a sound strategy and the right tools to enable trust relationships. That’s, of course, what we’re working on here. But, I won’t digress into a shameless plug.
Instead, I invite you to follow Fatemeh Khatliboo’s blogs about Customer Intelligence and Personal Identity Management (PIM). She writes with reason and passion about individual rights to personal data and the future of relationship marketing. Check her out. Our CEO Liz Eversoll and SVP Chris Kelly had a great conversation with Fatemeh last spring and continue to be impressed with her observations.
From one Intelligent Customer to Another,
Karen Hitchcock, VP Marketing