PROPOSITION 3: ORCHESTRATION FOR CORPORATE MARKETERS
Let me continue to use the two examples—customer account research, and solution marketing—to showcase orchestration opportunities with corporate marketers. Customer account research is directed towards account management. In a typical large corporation, data about a specific customer may be shared with hundreds of corporate marketer’s employees and business partners, who collaborate to sell a set of solutions. Account manager is the chief orchestrator. In all the situations I have seen, the heads of account management for the largest accounts are the most important sales personnel and often carry Vice President, Managing Director, or General Manager titles. They have enormous clout with all the major profit centers, and are the ultimate decision-makers in the firm’s strategy to the strategic account managed by them. They conduct their orchestration across many solutions and many sales and delivery organization to optimize their relationship with the strategic account they manage. While they receive an enormous amount of data across the corporation, they are extremely good at focusing and prioritizing marketing strategies to their account, based on the customer’s best interest and toward the long-term relationship with the customer. They face the data explosion as new sources of data pour even more information onto their doorsteps. They use analytics to organize and prioritize the raw data, and use collaboration tools to automate routine customer interactions. The power of analytics is in providing fast access to relevant facts associated with a situation, and in providing feedback on the quality of the routine customer interactions.
Consider the case of a wireless service provider, who provides wireless services to employees of a large corporate customer. Each employee is provided a wireless device, using a corporate contract. In many corporate situations, such contracts may be centerpiece of large contracts worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and require a senior- management person to manage the account management function. The account manager must be aware of service quality received by each employee, a routine customer interaction, which can be automated for data collection and collation, thereby providing the account manager with aggregate measures of performance across all employees of a corporate customer. The interaction with these employees may be in the form of emails and corporate websites, and may attract extensive blogging providing additional information regarding customer perceptions, problems, and accolades. Customer’s IT organization is possibly collaborating with the marketer to offer new corporate apps, security and in on-boarding new employees to receive services. Periodic renewals of the contract are managed by the purchasing department, with feedback from the customer’s senior management. The wireless provider must showcase continued innovation in new offerings, high service quality measures, low defect rates, and competitive pricing to keep winning new business. Big data can be used extensively for collecting metrics associated with routine interactions, and combined by the account manager to decide marketing and communication strategy. Some of the interactions will be automated. Orchestration for an innovation-driven strategic account may be very different than another interested in service quality, or a third focused on cost. Each requires a different set of data sources, activities, and foci.
Global solution marketing is an equally important marketing function. A solution marketer may study many implementations of a product to seek innovative ways of product usage, packaging, and bundling. The solution may involve joint development and marketing with business partners. Marketers may use analytics to identify solution areas, competitive activities, and case studies across many regions and to collect ideas for the solution. The solution may get discussed with business partners and customers using “velvet rope” type interactions, before general announcements. A large number of personnel may receive white papers, and presentations on solution components, with a careful selection of components based on engineering feasibility, market interest, and competitive positioning.
Consider the case of connected cars. This is a new concept jointly developed between automobile companies, telecom service providers, and software companies. A number of companies are engaged in developing the concept. Product components, including cars and wireless services, are both mature products in the marketplace. Connected cars combine these products in innovative ways to provide a new product with enormous business potential and value. A telecom provider may team with a technology company to target automotive companies in developing connected cars.7 While the individual products involved in creating a new offering, such as a connected car, could be purchased as commodities by an integrator, the overall value is based on an integrated end-to-end solution, which commands a higher price in the marketplace. For example, AT&T is sharing its product ideas around connected cars in its Foundry and partnership with equipment manufacturers, such as Ericsson.8 The orchestrator in this case are the solution marketing teams at wireless providers, technology providers, and automobile manufacturers. Stakes are high, as connected car is a globally applicable solution with large revenue opportunities. Marketers are orchestrating their solutions using a variety of data sources, marketing instruments, and business partners to bring their solutions to the market.
As corporate marketers have already discovered, happy customers that pay for higher valued products often prefer products that closely meet their use cases. Is it possible for consumer marketers to extend the same benefits for higher value consumer customers and offer significant customization at a higher price? With increasing product automation, such mass customizations are both feasible as well as affordable in many markets. Consumer marketers can learn from corporate marketers how these customizations can be discovered, marketed, and priced.
We seem to have a perfect opportunity for collaboration between the two sides. While consumer marketers have big volumes, their attempts at mass customization can be influenced by techniques already being practiced by corporate marketers, who are already dealing with a large variety of use cases and customers. On the other hand, as corporate marketers explore their marketing communications with their users in the corporate markets, they have something to learn from the consumer marketers.