Putting the customer first

Some descriptionA message from the chair, September 2017
Brian Doidge, Chair, CIM South West Regional Board 

Over the summer, I have had many reminders of how, even on holiday, it seems impossible to avoid the nature and influence of marketing on our daily lives. Maybe I had a heightened awareness, or maybe it was because of some the extremes I observed, but somehow events, which in themselves had no discernible causal connection (other than me I suppose), seemed to come together and make me stop and think a bit.

I thankfully found tangible manifestations of a customer experience that focuses on working backwards from the customer and putting me as the customer centre stage, but I also realised that for me, this is still able to stand out in the crowd.  It also seems that heavily promoting sales of whatever the organisation has decided to supply, is still common place with the customer clearly seen as a simple means to a greater financial good or to help achieve targets set. I am glad that many of my recent experiences however, have allowed me to see excellent examples of marketing orientation, although ironically it was often coming from those who probably don’t even know that they are embracing marketing at all. They seemed to be focusing on customer needs naturally and going the extra mile with the minimum of fuss and with a glad heart.

However, my reflections came to a conclusion, as it often does, through a simple note in late August from my very good friend Elle Gilpin who having read the book, kindly thanked me for my Moments Of Truth recommendation to her a couple of years ago. Indeed, as I am sure you know, it is an excellent book and Jan Carlzon seems to have been quoted continually since he published it in 1987.   Indeed of course it built upon and indeed popularised a seemingly obvious concept, formulated by Richard Normann a few years earlier and has subsequently had a number of developments including for example zero moments of truth from Google.  It reminds us that your customer touchpoints will create an impression and in turn will be the only perception that will in the end count.  For me, it also acts as a timely reminder that although we have to embrace the dynamics of change demanded of us and keep us moving forward, these are an add on to the fundamentals of marketing, not a replacement for them. 

Our development of the new tools and techniques available to us are a must and many experienced practitioners will find relevant development opportunities to build on their existing skills locally, through our events programme for example.  Others will be enrolling at an Accredited Study Centre or Graduate Gateway University to begin or further the formalities of their own journey within professional marketing.   Whatever your plans, I wish you every success in championing the highest standards of customer experience within your own environment and in turn your progression as a professional marketer.