As technology grows increasingly sophisticated, marketers and customer experience teams are tasked with finding the balance between the reach and efficiencies the technology affords and connecting with the humans behind the customer ID number. In her monthly column, Lisa Loftis offers advice on how to find that balance, putting the technology firmly in context within the purpose it's meant to serve, whether it's delivering continuity in the omnichannel customer experience or, in the case of automation, delivering agility and minimizing risk for the business while providing improved experiences to customers.
As principal management consultant, customer intelligence at SAS Best Practices, Lisa helps clients across a range of industries on all aspects of successful relationship management.
What kept you sane during 2020?
Hikes and bike rides — solitary but very soul soothing, WhatsApp video calls with my sisters from Seattle and Switzerland — not as good as the real thing but way better than nothing.
Where do you look for inspiration for your articles?
First, to our customers because they live the problems we are helping them to solve, next analysts and influencers to see what they are thinking about and third, experiences from my past 30 years of consulting because I can always find something funny in those to lighten up the moment.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
From my dad, the physician, who firmly believed that laughter is the best medicine: find something to smile about/be grateful for every day and laugh whenever you can.
Which of your projects or research from 2020 (or upcoming for 2021) are you most excited about and why?
Customer Data Platforms. I am tasked with developing the messaging for the capabilities that SAS brings to the table here. The market has been in a state of flux almost since the term was coined and I don’t see that changing in 2021. The problem they aim to solve has been around as long as I have been in the industry —think banking industry MCIF (marketing customer information files) from the early 1990s. It is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with a modern twist (and it does drive me crazy at times – LOL).
If you could only recommend one business book, what would it be and why?
"Permission Marketing — Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers" by Seth Godin. This is an oldie but goodie published in 1999. I think Seth Godin had a crystal ball. Technology has finally caught up with his vision of how we can/should be interacting with customers and how the (then) nascent internet would make this possible at scale. The theory behind permission marketing is every bit as solid today as it was 21 years ago.
What was the best book you read in 2020?
"Rage," Bob Woodward
What was the best movie you watched in 2020?
What was the best meal you ate in 2020?
Spontaneous celebratory socially-distanced picnic with friends on Nov. 7, 2020