Accommodate the Changing Customer

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Remember when Amazon was just a bookseller? Brent Leary, partner at CRM Essentials, does. He opened his closing keynote on August 10 at CRM Evolution 2011 with that question, noting that “a lot of things mean something different today than they did back five years ago.”

He explained, “The customer has changed in a lot of different ways. But philosophy hasn’t changed a bit. Customers have always wanted to be valued beyond the transaction.”

What has changed? Technology, social media, and mobile. “Customers really trust their technology,” Leary said. “It’s no mystery that technology is something that we are rapidly adopting at high rates.”

As a result, the information available at consumers’ fingertips is astounding. According to Leary, IDC estimated there was a zettabyte (1 sextillion bytes) of information on the Internet as of last year. By comparison, five years ago, the Web contained just 5 terabytes (5 trillion bytes) of data, Google estimated.  

The growth is exponential. Leary added that IDC predicted that 35 trillion gigabytes will be available on the Internet by 2020.

With all of the information crowding in this packed space, Leary urged a direct approach to customers. He cited Hyundai’s marketing campaign for the Equus. When customers purchased an Equus, he said, they would receive a free iPad. But the incentive did not end there. “What’s really interesting is not that they just had the iPad with the purchase, but they have several applications that really improve the experience,” he said. 

“Everything is happening on customers’ mobile devices, so it is especially important to show up in the palms of their hands,” Leary said.

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