We asked some stalwarts a simple question. Here’s what Anna Curzon, general manager marketing at ASB, had to say.
Segment of One, but not as we know it.
In 2014, we’re still asking a lot of our customers. Whether they’re looking to buy a car, a house, or a bottle of wine. “Come to our site, download our brochure, search for us on Google.” As marketers we recognise this and are well on our way to designing our 'Segment of One' strategies, where we’ll know so much about our customers at any point in time so we can better serve them. Where every step trips a beacon or click raises a flag in a trigger-based data model. That the 'Internet of things' will allow us to design the killer customer experience on the fly.
But what if instead, the customer uses all this technology to take charge? In April 2012, Doc Searls' wrote a book called The Intention Economy.
In his book Searls gives an example of what he means by that. "A car rental customer should be able to say to the car rental market, 'I'll be skiing in Park City from March 20–25. I want to rent a 4-wheel drive SUV. I belong to Avis Wizard, Budget FastBreak and Hertz 1 Club. I don't want to pay up front for gas or get any insurance. What can any of you companies do for me?'”
In this scenario, it’s the sellers who search for business, and bid for it on the discrete terms of a single buyer.
Could 2015 be the year that this demand-driven economy emerges? Where customers don’t allow marketers to build a profile of them, but us a third party to ask sellers to bid for their business? Where the customer only gives out their private data to who they want, where they want, when they want?
Businesses have already emerged to leverage the growing interest in this model. Geraldine McBride’s MyWave is one example, that “puts the customer in charge of their data and the experience” through a mobile digital ‘concierge’ or personal assistant. She calls it a transition from CRM to the era of a CMR (Customer Managed Relationship) model. Some verticals are already showing themselves in this space in New Zealand. Flossie.com for example.
And of course with the advent of the 'Sharing Economy', it’s no longer just businesses that will be bidding for a stated customer’s need, but potentially people in their wider network too.
If we feel there is a possibility that the Intention Economy will gain momentum in 2015, then as marketers we need to start building a new model for engagement now. Still Segment of One, but not as we know it.