As someone who has been in marketing in some way or other for many years, I am always interested in trends and predictions and how the role of marketing is ever changing.
We are probably showing our age, but remember the 4Ps? These days we have the 7Ps. I recently read an article called The Amazon Effect which states that, according to Gartner, marketing teams will outspend CIOs by the year 2017 in terms of IT investments. This means that knowing your customer will become vital to the efficient running of your organisation, and managing your customer data will become a critical business function.

This shift in mind-set, explained in the article, is visible in large online retailers such has Amazon who are dominating over other vendors.

The reason for Amazon’s domination is their deep understanding of their customers. They manage their customer data efficiently, deriving meaning and insights from the data and in turn delivering the best services. How was this achieved? Through the use of their customer data and efficient Business Intelligence tools.

James Marcus, Employee #55 at Amazon, in his memoir said that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, insisted “the Internet, with its bottomless capacity for data collection, would allow you to sort through entire populations with a fine-tooth comb. Affinity would call out to affinity: your likes and dislikes—from Beethoven to barbecue sauce, shampoo to shoe polish to Laverne & Shirley—were as distinctive as your DNA”. Marcus felt that this “was either a utopian daydream or a targeted-marketing nightmare.” So far, Amazon has executed on this vision with impressive success.

So what is the lesson we can learn from Amazon?

* Understanding your customer better is key to becoming a competitive and profitable business. Using your customer data correctly will drive future business decisions and ultimately future business success.
* Businesses, both online and offline, are constantly collecting customer data. These include enquiries, purchases, place of purchases, when items are purchased and how often the same customers purchases the same product or similar products. If you are not using this customer data in your Business intelligence solutions to derive business meaning you are missing the opportunity to become like Amazon.
* The customer data that you are gathering has some powerful insights to share, such as when to communicate with customer about products or promotions, it tells you when and what to keep stock of in your inventory and where to focus your marketing efforts.
* There is no more guessing about your customers as there is quantitative evidence to support your decisions and actions.

Karabina Solutions, as a Microsoft Gold Partner in data analytics (business intelligence) and customer relationship management (CRM) are able to provide your company with not only the CRM solution to fit your business needs, whether this is a service, marketing, sales or a custom solution, but we can also dig deep into the data and provide the intelligence and analytics so that you can better understand your customers and clients.

As a result of working optimally with their customer data, and delivering the customer experience and product suggestions to their customers at the right time, place and price, Amazon grew by 30%. With this in mind it is imperative for every company to start driving the use of their customer data to drive business opportunities. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start reaping the results of true understanding.