In the now infamous remarks by Peter Drucker, “The firm has no other purpose than to earn and keep the trust of customers; only two things add value: innovation and marketing. All else is cost.”
Of the many things associated with the digital revolution and now the social Web, one significant effect has begun to rock both large and small firms: a new class of customers now insists upon interacting with vendors via PC, mobile devices, kiosks, and other online systems.
In turn, interactive self-service buyers and customers demand that their preferred vendors, marketing operations in particular, provision online services and self-service applications.
This means that marketing and innovation—the two value drivers identified by Drucker—have begun to merge, becoming indistinguishable and essentially fused into an alloy of self-service customer satisfaction.
The figure below depicts several implications of these remarks by Peter Drucker and their logical extensions.
Innovation within Business Ecosystems
Innovation represents an invention or new way of doing things that adds distinctive value to the customer’s experience.
Time to market defines the key metric for innovation; getting more quickly to market with what customers recognize and want creates more value for the vendor: sales. However, something has changed.
Today, time-to-market success reflects how well the firm accesses the global resources of its business ecosystem: individuals, internal groups, and other firms that add value to innovation and to the marketing operations of a firm.
The Web no longer comprises just another sales channel; the application of channel strategy to the Web’s business ecosystem will annoy and disaffiliate the very firms that might otherwise contribute to the success of the firm with an effective business ecosystem strategy.
Satisfaction within Social Networks
Customers buy desired satisfactions that they expect from a particular product or service.
Time to satisfaction defines the key metric for the quality of innovation and effectiveness of marketing.
Time to satisfaction constitutes the primary measurement of customer engagement. This enables marketing and engagement planners to work backwards, asking the question, “What can we do to reduce or eliminate the forces hindering the satisfaction of ideal customers?”
Clearly, a valued innovation must satisfy customers. However, today the social network of friends and colleagues of the customer plays a large and growing role in the experience or perception of satisfaction among customers.
Marketing and engagement planners must expand their messaging to address the social networks that now filter, process, and reinterpret brand offerings and value propositions.
In practical terms, this means that marketing and engagement planners must connect, inform, entertain, and enable sharing within small peer groups and social cliques, using multiple formats (print, broadcast, online), sensory modalities (audio, visual, kinesthetic), and persuasion strategies (data, story, demonstration, word of mouth, authoritative endorsement).
As customer engagement addresses the social networks affecting customer choice, marketing processes grow more complex and difficult to orchestrate without new operational capabilities that automation can provide.
Consumer benefit should drive all investments in new marketing technology
All new investments in marketing should benefit the consumer. Time to satisfaction with certainty and trust define the baseline of customer benefit. Little else matters in the eyes of the consumer.