Journeys vs Processes: Let’s have it both ways

Customer Journeys should put our organization in the best light possible.

But we’ve spent decades reengineering  processes to reduce cost and increase efficiency.  Even with Six Sigma, we may have sacrificed the Voice of the Customer to achieve financial targets.

Now is the time to look at our processes from  the customers’ Points of View – from their journey with us.  Do our internal processes accommodate a journey that meets the standards we set for each customer experience?   E2P.  Easy. Pleasant. Productive.

Chief Customer Officer: Collaboration Between Business Marketing Association of Chicago and Integrated Growth Solutions

Business Marketing Association (BMA) of Chicago is collaborating with Integrated Growth Solutions, LLC to bring BMA members the most current thinking and trends in marketing and customer engagement  by conducting a survey about the role of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) that some organizations are establishing to lead and champion the needs and desires of customers throughout organizations.

The scope and span of control of this role varies at this point in time. Since it is a new role in the digital enterprise of the future, the CCO responsibilities are not yet well defined, and the few organizations that have established the role have differences in how they have implemented it.

Integrated Growth Solutions, LLC., in conjunction with BMA, is conducting this survey to determine the current level of awareness and commitment to the CCO position and the future intent for implementing this role. The survey will identify the level of responsibility and accountability for customer and financial success assigned to the CCO and determine how serious companies are in changing cultures to be truly customer passionate and making customers the center of their business.

Survey responses will be aggregated and analyzed across a number of factors including, for example, industry sector, geographic location, size of company.

Findings will be published for members. Additional forums will be available to discuss the survey and the future role of the Chief Customer Officer as viewed by members and industry at large.

About Integrated Growth Solutions, LLC
Integrated Growth Solutions is a boutique consultancy focused specifically on helping Fortune 200 companies achieve growth through improved customer engagement. The firm’s process approach centers on seamlessly integrating sales, marketing and technology to optimize efficiency and enhance customer experience.  Integrated Growth Solutions addresses current and relevant topics such as CMO/CIO alignment, the future of the (digital) enterprise and its impact on marketing and the organizational structure of that future enterprise.

Market Consistent with the Way We Live

I heard Gary Vaynerchuk, self-styled digital transformation guru and founder of Vaynermedia ( a digital agency) speak recently.

While his style was quite different than that of his audience, he drove a number of messages that resonated with the crowd.

In general, he was prompting us to market using techniques that are consistent with the way we live our lives.

Do we rush home at night to look at our direct mail?

Are we clicking on banner ads?

How far from our hand is our smart phone when we go to sleep at night?

So why do we continue to cling to expensive direct mail campaigns and spend time obsessing over banner ads?

Can Tangible Value Be Created By Actively Managing the Customer Experience?

BAI Panel PhotoPablo Azar, Senior VicePresident Decision Analytics and Insight with PNC Financial and Phillip Emmanuele, Divisional Vice President, Account and Product Management ( with Sears Holdings will be panelists at BAI’s annual Retail Delivery conference on November 13, 2014 in Chicago.  Marianne S. Hewitt, Founder and Principal of Integrated Growth Solutions (, will be moderating the panel.  The panel topic is:  Can tangible value be created by actively managing the customer experience?

The panel will compare and contrast the evolution of the customer experience in retail banking with that of retail shopping.  The transformation from an in-“store” only experience to a digital model and including a mix of both will be discussed.  The use of personalized messages, content and offers will be discussed.  The role of customer journey mapping in a non-linear digital world to create the experience that delivers on the brand promise and drives positive top and bottom line growth will be explored.

About the conference:

CMO/CIO Alignment

In recent years, there has been a big push to get marketing and sales aligned to improve quality of leads provided to sales and therefore improve revenue and productivity of sales teams.

The proposed solution to achieve alignment was really to sell lead management software which was necessary but not sufficient to achieve alignment. Process redesign is also required along with the refinement of roles and responsibilities. We have a point of view about this:

For the last two years, we have been saying we need alignment between the marketing and technology organizations.  Surveys of CMOs and CIOs indicate there is a 40% achievement of CMO/CIO alignment.

While there are similarities to the solution for marketing and sales alignment, the alignment of marketing and IT requires much more strategic thinking instead of tactical improvements.

Understanding how marketing has evolved over the decades sheds light on how we got to current state.  It began with the role and engagement of ad agencies.  As digital disruption began, we required agencies to create and manage websites and digital creatives.  Marketing has been a big buyer of agency services and now is a big buyer of technical services for mobile, social, big data and analytics which are all driving forces in customer engagement.

Also, historically, information technology did not understand enough about the marketing processes to help them select needed technologies.  Moreover, marketing was a step child for investment and the last to mature in the old three legged stool of sales, service and marketing.

As the spend on technology for marketing increases, it creates a tension and competition for the overall technology spend of the enterprise.  This spend is becoming more strategic to empower digital business rather than tactical and supportive of marketing initiatives.

The question begs.  How do we allocate scarce resources and determine investments in marketing or, more importantly, in making the enterprise a viable contender in the digital world?

Stay tuned for discussion of solutions.

Integrated Growth Solutions Among Sponsors at HMG Strategy Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit

HMG Strategy held its regional leadership meeting on May 14 in Chicago.  The conference, titled The Epic Revolution:  Leading, Innovating & Transforming in a Connected World, hosted many members of Chicago’s prestigious technology leadership community.

The event featured keynotes, briefings and panels including Kim Hammonds from Boeing, Mark Griesbaum from TCS Education System, Daphne Jones (CIO) and Barbara Bowles (Board Member) both from Hospira, Monica Caldas from GE Capital Americas, Paul Ryan from Wrigley, Tim Daniels from Merieux NutriSciences Corporation and Michael Bender Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company among a host of others.

Of particular interest were the Executive Briefing by Peter High (Metis Strategy) who discussed the expanding role of the CIO.  He called it CIO Plus.  Two panels of particularly high quality addressed the partnership and alignment of the CIO and the CMO and gave guidance on building relationship with the board of directors.

Thank you David Bailey for attending with me.

BAI Retail Delivery 2012

BAI (Chicago based) holds its annual conference and expo.  This year over 50 sessions were offered in 6 tracks.  The Expo and Technology Showcase was robust.  BAI offered a great mobile app for organizing and engaging.

Kyle Barnett, BMO Harris Bank, and Mark Erhardt, Fifth Third Bank, did great jobs as summit leaders. and Chad Ashcraft were great sponsors.