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Customer Experience

September 27th, 2011

CEM Journey : Struggling with the old demons of marketing & strategy

More than ever it is becoming a challenge to help people’s mindsets evolve and embrace the new vision of the customer that is embedded within CEM and EFM.

As I move in educating & working along with customers, students & peers I have come to understand and identify the main reasons why CEM is yet to be entirely accepted as major breakthrough in marketing & organizational strategies.

Here are some of the obstacles that I have to overcome at present :

CEM is just an add-on to traditional marketing

Most people consider that taking care of the overall experience of your customers is if not optional, the last of their thoughts. For most of the people involved in marketing they see CEM as experience during purchase. However, CEM starts from the moment you think of your customer, who they are, what they like and so forth. CEM is not an add-on it is a new approach of marketing! You have to focus on loyalty & satisfaction first, and then on financials & the means to increase them. Your customers are people, not segments.

Channel vs Channel mindset

CEM implies delivering value in the best possible way, through the most appropriate touch points, to your customer. That is, you need not to focus on channels but on your value proposition & the way to get it to your customers. Too many companies still think in terms of Silos, Channels & have them compete against each other. In the end, customers are not treated as they should be and you lose profits. So identify who your customers are & have them do their purchasing on the touch points they prefer, regardless of your organisation. Remember - think Customers not Channels!

4 P’s approach : It’s not enough but it’s simple

Another obvious obstacle that we are facing is that the 4 P’s approach is still the pillar of Marketing in organisations & business schools. Innovative approaches have a hard time getting into the minds. The truth is 4P’s are KISS compliant, it’s really simple & easy to reach out for in the early stages of strategy. Hence CEM needs an easy to remember gimmick, an “idea worth spreading” as the guru Seth Godinn would say.

Conflicts between departments i.e. who is leading change ? IT ? Marketing ? Sales ? Financials ?

Furthermore CEM is a vision that needs to bridge disciplines & have egos accept collaboration, cooperation & coordination. Genuine dedication to serving customers as if it we were serving ourselves is not a part time job and require the whole organization to work as a singular unit. Unfortunately we are taught to work in silos and to keep it this way. Why ? Probably because trust is rare & not rewarded as much as great figures! Yes - trusting that whatever it is that your coworkers do, they do it the best they can to serve the customer. This why in leading CEM evolution it takes more than deciding which department should lead. The best approach is to build cross disciplinary teams & groups to involve everyone in defining new metrics, processes & goals. Of course, evolution will require that finance, marketing, sales, support, production to reengineer their day to day work - however - successful CEM companies have proven the concept & its high profitability. Break silos & find leaders that can bridge & federate inside and outside!

These are 4 of the many demons we are struggling with. Next week I’ll go over 4 others that will undoubtedly need to be defeated.


About the Author

Frederic Gilbert

Frederic GILBERT is an independent CEM consultant in France who  accompanies his customers - Total, and others  - in the journey torwards Customer Centricity & high resilience. Several American companies have called upon his services to settle on the French market. He is also a teacher in various business schools on topics such as Customer Engagement, Social Media Strategy, Ethics & Marketing and CrossChannel Marketing.

Want to know more? Connect with him through one of the links below:



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