I'm not sure it's classed as a profession yet, but I expect the discipline of Customer Science will one day have professional associations, events and college courses attached to it.
The marketing industry has come a long way from the Micheal Porter days where companies focused on their chosen market and worked out how to compete with incumbent competitors. Markets are much more fluid than that nowadays, so are customers, so too are competitors. It would be so nice if customers, competitors and markets would stand still for a while so we market analysts and marketers could study them and draw our conclusions on the unmet needs that could make wonderful new products and services, the communications messages and stories that would ring true with customers to make cutting-edge campaigns, to draw down on the things that customers really care about to create world-class customer satisfaction and fabulous retention figures. But alas, in the digital era and the land of global competition it's not to be. Marketers must think, plan, test, prove and act while their customer landscape shifts like sand under their feet.
To succeed in this event-driven, always-on world, organizations require a new breed of customer-focused experts that combine the skills of the analyst with the creative bent of a marketer. Enter the Customer Scientist.
A customer scientist is someone appointed with the responsibility of managing the process of accelerated business innovation; creating a pipeline of better ways of working that lead to better products, more successful promotional campaigns and happier, more loyal customers. The literal definition of a customer scientist is someone engaged in... 'the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of customers through observation and experiment.'
There is no single tool-kit or method available to discharge this role; although the methods and tools are gradually combining to form a coherent approach based on proven best practice. In this world where customers are analyzed in near real-time for the decisions they make online and in retail outlets, no longer is the role of the marketer to sit behind a desk and plan a series of campaigns for the next six-months: everything is much more fine-grained, event-driven, targeted and tested. Instead of running one or two campaigns that reach the top 10 or 20% of customers, customer scientists seek to serve the unmet needs and buying aspirations of every customer. This is achieved by a constant cycle of coming up with a hypothesis, designing, testing, analyzing, re-iterating, testing again, tuning and acting on what matters.
Thankfully, while the environment within which marketers operate has changed, so too have the tools at their disposal. Cloud CRM data-marts are the latest generation of tooling for marketers - and those very expert customer insights analysts - the customer scientists. These platforms assimilate customer-related data from wherever its held and bring it together in a customer database that's in a near constant state of flux - a data-mart. This data environment is a transitory snap-shot of the data and events happening within a business (and its supply-chain) relating to customer purchasing behaviors and interactions.
In addition to its role in assimilating and presenting a single version of customer data, Cloud CRM data-marts offer customer scientists an environment within which to experiment, develop hypothesis and prove or disprove them. Tools are provided to segment and cluster customers to give a clearer picture of consistencies in structures and behaivors. Yet more tools are provided to analysts for visualizing, sorting, filtering and sharing their analysis, and STILL MORE tools are provided to enable analysts to create situational applications to act on their learning lessons and acellerate innovation in the enterprise by tweaking processes, systems and working practices.
In this presentation I introduce the topic of Customer Science. I hope you find it interesting. Do let me have your feedback!