Technology Personified

Lawrence A. Crosby and Chris S. Langdon
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways
  • The success of a number of Internet businesses underscores the fact that most traditional companies still face a wide gap in their customer knowledge and product-needs fit.
  • A game changer that can move everyone’s customer knowledge closer to Google is the emergence of sensors that allow for continuous and objective measurements.
  • Data become information when they are put to use.

In Spike Jonze’s highly acclaimed movie Her, the protagonist, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), falls in love with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the voice of the artificial intelligence behind his newly acquired operating system. This movie is very much about the personalization trend, and personalization, of course, is at the heart of customer relationship management and is a trigger of customer engagement.

There are many who cast doubt on whether consumers have love-type relationships with brands and while the brand love debate is beyond the scope of this column, we accept the premise that personalization can positively influence both the rational and emotional motives that drive customer loyalty. Moreover, we recognize that business analytics are the engine behind effective personalization. 

That isn’t exactly a novel insight. What is new is “analytics 3.0,” or, as Babson professor Thomas Davenport puts it in his December 2013 post in the Harvard Business Review, the “embedding of data smartness into the products and services customers buy.” We believe that this has the potential to take personalization and customer relationship management to an entirely new level.

A Data Revolution

Many marketing executives still remember their struggles with a previous data-centric initiative, namely CRM. By some estimates, 50% or more of these implementations failed to achieve their ROI expectations. While there are various reasons for those disappointing results, we see two important root causes: first, the unwillingness or incapability of human sales or service agents to use the systems to their full potential, and second, that CRM applications are mainly limited to customer communications. “Analytics 3.0” overcomes these limitations by enabling built-in (as opposed to optional) marketing solutions that address the fundamental business concern of the “customer need/product attribute” fit.​​​

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Author Bio:

Lawrence A. Crosby and Chris S. Langdon
Lawrence A. Crosby is dean of the Peter F. Drucker-Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University.

Chris S. Langdon is president of Pacific Coast Research Inc. and an adjunct professor at the Peter F. Drucker-Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University.

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