Knowledge Center


Article -> Calibrate Internal Marketing Efforts First

Date Added: September 2007

Retraining potential customers to break habitual buying habits takes more than knowing market research. It requires knowing how to apply valuable insights organization-wide.
Tracking what, where, when, and why customers buy is no longer complex; yet, its optimal application is frequently ignored. Often sabotaged by organizational fragmentation, branding efforts can collide with customers’ needs and distribution.
To connect internal areas, leaders should understand where and why gaps occur among these areas. An unbiased partner can determine how all functional areas work together to create brand loyalty on existing and potential customers. New research suggests this opportunity lies at the crossroads of three characteristics: customer stratification, product types and availability.1
Customer Stratification. Broad demographics typically do not divulge why customers do business with organizations and what it would take for them to do more. An in-depth analysis involving proactively asking customers, such as AL2A (Ask, Listen, Learn and Act), can yield compelling insights to direct strategic decisions. Applying both qualitative and quantitative techniques, organizations have opportunities to make key decisions to match customers’ needs with products and distribution.
Product Types. Frequently, organizations rely on market data that has not been cross-referenced for their unique purposes in meeting their customers’ needs. National statistics, for example, may differ from actual customer profiles, transaction data and industry niche. Leaders are often challenged by synthesizing this data to know how it affects their brand, product and distribution.
An analysis of both the research and its fit to corporate structure positions organizations to compete in the marketplace. For instance, electronic retailers whose independent research identifies customers as sports enthusiasts are apt to sell more TVs with picture-in-picture.   
Product Availability. Knowing your customers and what they want does not necessarily bridge them. Less willing to wait for even the best products, customers are hypersensitive to delivery. A realistic breakdown of supply chain management enables organizations to improve processes, and accordingly, satisfaction and loyalty. Since market research typically does not provide this information; a comprehensive internal analysis is crucial to creating completely satisfied customers.
Developing an integrated network of data requires organizations to first determine perimeters. From general sales knowledge, personalized subsets should be defined that unveil the needs of existing and emerging customers. Customization by industry may further include usage, loyalty, behaviors and drivers.
With this insight, it is essential to form new partnerships. Organizations should partner with researchers, strategic advisors, suppliers and other vendors to generate collective expertise. Once this knowledge is collected, act upon it to achieve alignment within the organization’s strategy, people and customers. Coalition – not autonomy – breeds success. 
Aligning goals across all of an organization’s functional areas entails commitment from top leaders, flowing throughout the organization. Marketing and sales leaders play a key role by sharing goals and promoting a common language for performance metrics. Cross-functional teams assist in the collaboration of ideas, resources and implementation for your strategy.
With a solid marketing plan and insight-driven execution, all elements are integrated to maximize productivity and profitability.

1 Forsyth, John E; Galante, Nicolo’; and Guild, Todd. “Capitalizing on Customer Insights.” The McKinsey
  Quarterly. (Accessed 8/14/06).
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