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Getting Close To The Customer, It’s About Mobility

by David Brock on August 10th, 2012

One of the key goals of customer centric organizations is “Getting Close To The Customer.”  Sales and marketing professionals try to do this, both figuratively and literally.  We have to reach the customer where they are, we have to hang out where they hang out. 

Where customers hang out and how we reach them continues to change.  Back in the earliest days of selling, it was face to face–there was simply no other way to reach them, we had to go to their homes and offices.  We had to be where they were.  Fast forward to today and they are hanging out in completely different places.  They may not even have offices anymore, working virtually.  Their “phones” have become virtual devices-not tied to a location.  For example, I have a phone with a European number, I got some calls on it this morning, even though I am presently sitting on a beach in California (Yeah, it’s a rough life, but someone has to do it.).  Next week, I will be in Manhattan, and people will reach and connect with me through a variety of means, as I will with them.

So getting close to our customers is about Mobility.  But Mobility is not about a device.  I think that’s where too many of us get it wrong.  We think it’s about that fancy new smartphone or tablet.  Mobility is really a channel and communications strategy.  It’s about reaching the customer where they are at, when they want to be reached, in the form they want to be reached, on the device that happens to be convenient.

For some, it’s reaching them in 140 characters.  For some, it’s snail mail.  For some, it will be on their phone or tablet. It may be on their TV at home–both dumb TV’s through advertising and smart/interactive TV’s.   And the future will bring us many more devices and many new places to intercept our customers.  And, ideally, we intercept them when they have a need to buy!

So Mobility is not about a device, designing our strategies around a device or a category of devices is a sure path to doing things over and over and over, investing millions and wasting opportunity.  Instead, mobility is about openness and accessibility.  It’s about leveraging many new channels simultaneously and with consistency.  It’s about knowing who your customers are, where your customers hang out and how to reach them, when they want to be reached, and what the most appropriate communication should be–so mobility requires deep analytics and intelligence.

It’s hard to think about Mobility without simultaneously thinking about Customer Centricity and the Customer Experience.  Sure, we can deploy our messages on different devices.  But Mobility is really about connection, meaning and value creation.  If we don’t know who our customers are, what they value and how we create value for them–wherever they may  be, then we aren’t maximizing our impact and effectiveness.

Are you thinking about getting close to your customers?  Are you trying to connect with them in a more impactful manner?  Are you thinking about Mobility?

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