Monthly Archives: March 2012
There are many reasons for business partners to attend the Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012 – Madrid. But the best reason, as Jacqui Levy notes in her blog, is simple: Get to know your customers. If you don’t, someone …
Over the weekend, I found myself poring over Joseph E. Stiglitz’s article, “The Book of Jobs,” which appeared in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair. It’s a long, scholarly article that constructs an interesting argument debunking the typical explanations for the Great Depression.
In a nutshell, Stiglitz makes the case that the Great Depression was not caused by the Fed’s rather draconian clamping down on the money supply (the primary lesson that Bernanke says he learned from studying the policy of the day), but rather by a social sea change that started on the farms of rural America and spread to the cities. America, says Stiglitz, evolved in relatively short order from an agrarian society where more than one fifth of the population worked on farms, to a manufacturing society. Fast forward to today and according to Stiglitz, “2 percent of Americans produce more food than we can consume.”
Now here’s where Stiglitz’s brilliance really comes through: he argues cogently and deftly that the parallels between the social changes that brought about the Great Depression are similar in their scope to the changes we’re experiencing today. We’re evolving from the manufacturing economy that put so many farmers out of business, into a service economy. He attributes the rise of the service economy to two main trends: increased productivity and globalization.
To these, I’d add another major ingredient, which to my mind is missing from Stiglitz’s argument: the rise of the connected customer. The explosion of social media, mobile technologies, new channels, and unexpected business models, has in turn unleashed a new breed of customer on businesses everywhere. Hyper connected and fully empowered by the sophisticated and ubiquitous use of technology, these customers have evolved into bona fide experts in your brand, products and services. Brian Solis of Alitmeter Group has also written extensively about the rise of the connected customer.
Better Together: from after sales service to relationship-building in manufacturing, via social mediaMarch 27, 2012 | Smarter Commerce
By Ronald Teijken
regional leader, Smarter Commerce at IBM
After sales service has been the bright idea of the week, the month, the year and even the decade and the concept is pretty straightforward; manufacturing companies maintain an ongoing relationship with their customers through the provision of after-sales service. They made the kit in the first place, so they know it inside out and they know how best to repair and upgrade it. It’s a sound approach, but it’s inevitably product-centric and restricts the type of relationship that companies can develop with their customer. So what more can they do?
The rise of the internet and social networking in particular means that it is now possible for manufacturers to move beyond simply delivering a ‘service culture’ to customers and instead develop a ‘relationship culture’, where communications are two-way and genuinely interactive. While retailers have traditionally owned the sales and marketing process of the commerce cycle, and thus owned the relationship with the end user, social networking tools can empower manufacturers by giving them direct access to customers and vice versa. “Cutting out the middle man” is an even older concept than after-sales servicing by manufacturers, but social networks are used by all sorts of people to short cut the system and to reach out to those one might otherwise struggle to contact – so why not in the manufacturing industry?
By deepening customer relationships through interactive online channels, manufacturers can both drive advocacy and brand loyalty among customers and increase sales by engaging directly with the people buying products. Product development also can benefit tremendously. Whereas R&D has often been conducted by specialist teams in isolated knowledge silos, with ideas only market-tested months into development, using social networks to build closer relationships with customers can generate ideas and create market-ready products faster and more efficiently.
Did you know that 63% of CMOs believe shifting consumer demographics will significantly impact marketing functions? Understanding and delivering value to empowered customers and fostering lasting relationships with these customers are key areas in need of improvement. Get more details …
Written by Melissa Schaefer. Melissa is the Global Retail Research Leader within IBM’s Institute for Business Value. She has over 20 years of experience with clients in the retail industry, having held various leadership positions in the retail industry, sales …
In a recent webinar highlighting IBM Enterprise Marketing Management’s Social Features and capabilities a poll was taken to ascertain how many marketers were still using Forward To A Friend (FTAF). Although the results were not ‘shocking’ the metrics did give me pause and allow me to reflect on a murky topic: engagement.
Last week I was a guest on the New York Time’s Business Day Live where we discussed the recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report. It was my pleasure to discuss more good news from the retail front—retail …