Kevin Hilstrom's post raised a couple of important points:
- Marketing's credibility gap
- The need for executive sponsorship for customer-centric change
- "Ownership" of voice-of-the-customer
The credibility gap seems to be getting surfaced and discussed already, at least judging by the number of times conference presentations reference the old hack about knowing half our marketing is wasted but not which half. But the trend seems to be in the right direction, and not just because we've taken the first step of admitting we have a problem or because measurability and accountability are high on the buzzword meter these days (also easy to say, hard to do). Orgs are investing in capabilities, the media mix itself is becoming more measurable as it shifts to direct and online channels, etc.
Regarding the necessity of executive sponsorship for a company to become customer centric, please allow me to defer to a later post that will discuss this and the many other things that, from our observations, are the necessary preconditions for a successful customer-centric strategy. Suffice to say, it's high on the list. BTW, at some level customer-centricity is a business strategy, not one of the Ten Commandments (oops, I was told to stay away from religion in posts), and will not be right for all business. So never will all CFOs and CEOs be interested. Check out what Elana Anderson wrote in an earlier Marketing Consortium post about different degrees with which companies pursue this business strategy
Third, Kevin is right that the database marketing organization is bound to be instigating or at least mixed up with customer-centric strategies. Since C.C. relies on understanding individual customers, they hold the keys to the kingdom to some degree. But it rarely goes anywhere if exec sponsorship and several other preconditions aren't in place.
In the mean time, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the end of vendor hype or consulting punditry, which have joined death and taxes as fixtures in our firmament.