Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Customer Centricity and Functional Silos

Fifty-two percent of marketers say that the biggest roadblock that they encounter when trying to make their company more customer-centric is the structure of their company. According to a report from SAS and the CMO Council, as reported in Direct Marketing News back in 2013, the companies' "functional silos" get in the way of putting the customer at the center of all of their marketing efforts.

In the fifteen years that I'd spent doing application development work for two Fortune 200 insurance companies in the 1970s and 1980s, I experienced first-hand the barriers that today's marketers are encountering. Back then, the Sales Department wasn't convinced that the people in the Marketing Department knew what they were doing. Neither of these departments paid too much attention to what the home office administrative departments had to do to process and maintain the insurance policies that the marketing and sales people created and sold. And most new computer systems were frowned upon by the end users' managers because these systems were designed to save money by reducing head-count. Absent annual head-count growth, it was hard for VPs to build their empires and increase their perceived value to the corporation.

Today's microISVs have a huge advantage in their competition against larger software development companies. These larger firms suffer from the same types of internal battles that prevent firms from becoming more customer-centric. One- and two-person microISV outfits, on the other hand, can ensure that the customer remains the main focus of all of the companies' activities.

Take advantage of the agility of your microISV. Focus on your customers. Since happy customers are the greatest source of income in the coming years, it makes sense to use your nimbleness to ensure that your customers get the attention that they deserve.

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