We have discussed the first four elements of how VRM can transform customer loyalty: CDP, CLV, CX and CL. It is time for the fifth and final ‘C’ – and perhaps the most important of them all. CEO. If the digital transformation of marketing has to succeed, then it has to become the most important priority of the CEO.
A CEO should remember Peter Drucker’s wise words: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Marketing as a function is also being impacted by technology. The customer is becoming increasingly digital and engaging with the business through many different touchpoints. What customers want is a continuity of experience. For example, if a Best Customer who has primarily shopped online enters an offline store, the right time to identify such a customer to provide an enhanced experience is right at the moment of entry, and not at checkout. This can only be possible if all customer interaction points are digitised. Customers are willing to share personal information if they know that data can provide them with a special, superior experience.
All that a CEO has to do is to wear the hat of a customer, and then see the experience provided. We are all customers of many different brands. Think about those brands where we have a deep connection with– both from an emotional and financial standpoint. Are we really special for the brand? Will the brand miss us if we are gone? Sadly, for most brands, the answer will be a No.
Every CEO says that customers are the most important focus for their business. And yet, much of the nitty-gritty is left to the marketing department. The ideas that we have discussed call for a complete transformation of the way businesses think about marketing. Such effort cannot be delegated – it has to be led from the front. For the VRM initiative to succeed, it needs to cut across every function that touches the customer – and therefore it has to be on the CEO’s agenda.
That is the opportunity CEOs have – to become the leaders in the effort to completely transform the way customers interact with their brands. Here, the focus needs to be on the experience provided to the brand’s Best Customers. A loyalty program is not the be-all and end-all of engagement. Rather, it may actually lead CEOs and businesses down a sense of false satisfaction. This is where the idea of Velvet Rope Marketing comes in. It can be the fulcrum for the transformation that customer loyalty needs. Forward-thinking CEOs can be the customer centricity champions in this journey and put their companies on the path to capturing industry profits and becoming a “profi-poly.”