Butch Stearns, chief customer officer for The Pulse Network, opened Digital Pulse Boston 2013 with a question for attendees: “Is your customer at the center of your digital marketing strategy?”
And that was the theme for the man that Stearns introduced for this morning’s keynote: Ray Velez, global chief technology officer for Razorfish.
Breaking Down Specialist Silos
Razorfish is a full-service digital agency. How does it suggest enterprises keep their customers at the heart of each digital initiative? Embracing diversity with technology teams that are more creative and creative teams that are more technical, Velez told the audience this morning.
“It comes back to diversity,” Velez said. “You still want people who have passion for creativity, for data and for technology, and you still have to bring in these specialists. You don’t want to discourage specialization.”
However, it’s the “friction” and energies that each specialist brings that need to be fostered for a successful customer experience management program, Velez added. A “breakthrough of ideas” will come from this friction, he said. “Friction is natural and required to be successful.”
Changing Customer Habits
Ultimately, any inside ball game organizational efforts are moot if they don’t keep the customer at heart. The days of the chain-smoking, brainstorming Mad Men advertisers are over, Velez said, and organizations must realize a “delightful customer experience” is the best kind of advertising. “Technology, media and creativity allow us to create customer experiences like never before.”
But he cautioned consumers today are empowered and “not willing to sit back waiting for a commercials.” Thus, it’s on companies to create “compelling relationships that drive experiences.”
“That,” Velez said, “is how you become relevant in a world where people are not starting with your commercials.”
Ask yourself -- what is your own API? What are the APIs you can offer to your customers? Do they align with your brand?
Product Managers: Customer’s Best Friend
Velez cited the need for companies to analyze managers’ roles and titles within their organizational structure. Should your marketing managers be “product managers”? Velez thinks so. Product managers celebrate the customer, embrace business models and can “revolutionize” the industry by using technology as a tool but keeping the customer experience as the focus.
“Start thinking like product managers,” Velez said.
“Technologists need to drive more toward leadership opportunities,” Velez said, “and create more relationships with creative and design teams and use that to their advantage.”
Remember What Customer Cares About
Perhaps Velez’s most important message was no matter what organizational internal strategies you deploy, and how much time is spent bartering over technological changes in the company, remember the bottom line:
The customer doesn’t care about any of it.
“The customer doesn’t care about your (customer relationship management) CRM database,” Velez said. “Yes, you have a manager of the (enterprise resource planning) ERP team, but what does the customer care about that? I want to fix all the technology debt to make my system as usable as possible, but none of that matters to the customer.”