Hey What’s the Big Idea

Hey What’s the Big Idea

Andrew Salzman |January 21 2015 5 min

We have entered a brave new world where data and insights rule supreme. Gone are the days when the Mad Men scrambled for the big idea between cocktails…a singular selling idea that could be beamed to the masses over television screens.

Today it is all about customer experiences that occur across the entire customer journey, the ability to cultivate more meaningful, personalized relationships that drive loyalty and advocacy, and the power of data and insights to make it happen.

Fueling this engine is an incredibly diverse array of customer data-driven technologies (think big data and ancalytics). These engines are driving a new set of physical and digital channels that ontinuously fragment, proliferate, and morph (think social, mobile, NFC, and the like).

This move to all things data and channels has been a boon to marketers. CEO and CFO demands for measurable outcomes and business impact are being met. Marketers are able to assume greater accountability and can claim return on “xyz” based on programmatic and scientific approaches. Much of this change helps explain why the average tenure of a CMO has doubled over 2006-2014 from 23 to 45 months, according to a recent Forbes study.

As a consultant to technology-based companies operating in B2B and B2C spheres, I had to see what was in store for marketers at the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. After a rousing nostalgic performance by the Beach Boys, Mark Benioff took the stage and unveiled his latest mantra…the customer success platform. Mark went on to unveil a set of new capabilities in communities and analytics to complement his arsenal of cloud solutions in marketing, sales, and service. It made for a compelling story, and certainly reinforced the availability of more technology tools to support the customer journey and experience.

That said, I couldn’t help but notice a bit of bewilderment among attendees while they jostled each other for that last free lunch sandwich. So many touch points, so many point solutions, so many different ways to slice and dice reams of unstructured and structured data across virtual and physical worlds. What was the unifying construct that could shape how technology gets put to use in the customer journey to influence customer experience in powerful ways?

This brought me back to some old standbys…the power of the brand and the power of big ideas rooted in better insights. As I look at the content landscape, it seems that content is becoming more and more commoditized based on “what works” testing. Inspiration and big ideas that move the head and the heart are no longer top-of-mind parts of the conversation.

I would argue that big ideas remain the currency of great marketing. Marketers who rethink their teams in terms of three equally important buckets would be well served. One bucket would be data scientists and technologists who focus on customers. One would consist of those who execute marketing efforts. And one consists of those big idea creative types.

Big ideas are rooted in a deep appreciation of what motivates people, and are inextricably linked with the differentiating benefits of a product or service. They require both perspiration and inspiration. And they are not the sole province of ad agencies.

In our work, we focus on enabling transformational growth through “outcomes-driven strategies”. We are paid to solve unstructured problems with prescriptive and actionable thinking. And we hold one core tenet as key to the value we provide…the ability to deliver big ideas for our clients that can focus and fuel growth efforts.

As we harness the power of customer data-driven technologies and the physical and virtual channels through this power is expressed, let’s not forsake the power of the big idea.

Blog post re-published with permission from the Chasm Group

Andrew Salzman

Andrew Salzman

Guest blogger. Senior Advisor Chasm Institute.

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