“Whatever 2.0” and Going Digital

Originally published 2 September 2009

Customers today are different than yesterday. Whether we call it “Whatever 2.0” or another buzzword, the only fact is that customers are more demanding than ever before. They are expecting companies to understand and appreciate their needs. They don’t want build relationship with the companies (known as customer relationship management – CRM). Instead they want to have a great experience (customer experience management – CEM) based on any of their interactions with the company. They have right to ask for it.

Changing Behaviour of Customers

It is a new world surrounded by an extensive amount of information flying around. Let’s call it “Whatever 2.0” for a moment and describe the typical characteristics of the digital world. It allows users/prospective customers (better to look at that way from organisational perspective) to do more than just retrieve the information. Customers can create content that allows interaction between people with same interest, thus resulting in collaborative environment.

This is a new platform where companies can pass vast amounts of information to the online community, even unconsciously. Going digital relies on user collaboration, peer-to-peer networking, blogs, podcasts and online social networks. Every day, new users/ prospective customers are added to social-networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Twitter is the new way of expressing yourself to the public where you can even be famous for a day or two. As the popularity of “Whatever 2.0” has grown, behaviour of customers has changed accordingly, which in turn triggered companies to take some actions on that.

New Area for Competition

Customers have changed their buying behaviour as well from the “traditional funnel-based approach” to a “decision-journey approach” says one of the McKinsey articles. In today’s decision journey, consumer-driven marketing strategy becomes more important as customers control the process and actively “pull” information helpful to them.

From decision to purchase through service and delivery, many customer interactions happens on the Web. One piece of research shows that online search engines make up nearly half of the organization’s total touch points, while company websites make up about 25 percent. Social feedback increasingly influences other buyers. This process of pulling and pushing information, which takes place dominantly in the online area, forces companies to compete in a new area.

This is the opportunity for organizations to add value to their marketing efforts by simply following basic principles in the way to going digital.

Watch Out

Watch everything out there. Since organizations are faced with enormous information on the Web, they need to build the processes to monitor and investigate what their prospective customers are doing and what insight they are pushing into Web. They should simply watch the online traffic taking place just to be in the game. It is time to watch and observe what is going on rather than pushing messages to their prospective customers. Companies can also discover a vast amount of information about their existing customers that they cannot find in any transactions they have within their organizations.

Create Awareness

Let’s go one step further and take some actions. With the new data they gathered from simply observing the online media, companies should also give some new toys to their prospective customers. In a new world, going digital isn’t simply a matter of throwing some banner ads against a few likely websites and seeing what sticks. One of the many virtues of marketing is about being creative, flexible, interactive and speedy, requiring a whole new set of marketing strategies and skills to make it work.

Go and build a community for your business in Facebook, MySpace or Linkedin. Be in the constant dialog with your customer in Twitter and tweet your customers. Engage them in social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us. It is all about giving them the tools to help them find the path that leads to your products or services.

Kick the Tires

Once companies have created the awareness, it’s time to build a more integrated approach, linking all the valuable information collected from Web into their marketing and sales activities. This, for sure, requires a sophisticated and strongly aligned mix of marketing know-how and technological expertise.

That means CIOs face a challenging task. They must create a single source record for all their customers. They must use that information to make specific offers to individual customers based on their perceived value to the company. They must build an architecture to integrate every customer-facing channel when communicating with individual customers. And, finally, they must build a platform that distributes the same message through all channels of the company.

In addition to the process of gathering information about your prospective customers in digital area, companies will even find many insights about their existing customers in the watch-out period. This data can also be used to leverage existing traditional information in the enterprise data warehouse that can be further utilized with predictive tools and quantitative analysis. Data and the knowledge derived from the digital area will become recognized as the heart of marketing to build consumer relationships. As a result, the ability to micro-segment customers using new techniques will become a key skill.

What Is in It for Me?

There are fantastic growth opportunities for online media, and those opportunities will continue to grow. What matters most to any organization that would like to go digital is to leverage so-called “Whatever 2.0” tools in a most effective way. By building integrated systems that link invaluable online data into their existing business processes, they will be able to succeed in this new game.

  • Korhan YunakKorhan Yunak

    Korhan Yunak is a Global CRM Business Analyst at Vodafone Group, based in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he is responsible for business intelligence strategy, data warehousing best practices as well as the customer value management program within the group. He currently works on customer value management practices, BI strategy and customer analytics focusing more on the CRM area to cover the big picture around business intelligence. He has more than 6 years of practical project experience helping companies establishing enterprise data warehouse solutions and building BI vision.

    Early in his career, Korhan was involved in various enterprise performance management (EPM) and BI engagements in wide variety of industries including telco, banking and retail as a consultant. Korhan has extensive experience, combining technical and business acumen, especially in telecommunication industry.  Korhan holds a degree in Management Information Systems from Bosphorus University.

    Korhan can be reached at +491732620423 or kyunak@gmail.com.  

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