Leadership

C2B and the IT and Marketing tension

C2B and the IT and Marketing tension

There’s a new term that not all marketers have adopted yet, and it’s called C2B.

Is a customer to business model really a prevailing trend today? Well, it is based on how Venkatram Ramaswamy, a Professor of Marketing and Computer and Information Systems at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, described it.

In our most recent show on whether or not there’s a changing dynamic between CIOs and CMOs, he stressed that we are in a new age of engagement between businesses and consumers. CIOs need to play a more integral role in creating business value, Ramaswamy advises, and it’s for the reason that business value itself is morphing thanks to new channels of engagement through social media and mobility. It’s the “consumerization” of IT.

But what’s more, CMOs too need to recognize there has been a paradigm shift in marketing. No longer is marketing merely targeting consumers to push products and optimizing strategies to reach them, nor is it just a pull model. Rather, the customers themselves are fans of the brand eager to participate in their own, personalized solutions.

“Consumers are getting much more involved, their expectations are changing and they expect more personalization through their engagement,” Ramaswamy said. “They expect companies to deliver more unique value to them based on their particular involvement and what channel they are engaged with.”

When those customers are interacting with the business, or when customers are having their own brand based discussions independent of the company, a C2C model if you will, marketers need to be able to respond in real time, and they need IT and technology on their side to do so.

But that’s where IT and Marketing are butting heads. Marketing needs flexibility to respond in a timely fashion, and the IT side wants predictability such that they can manage the risk associated with various platforms and interactions, something that isn’t necessarily at the top of marketing’s list of priorities.

Thankfully, IT people are now realizing why CMOs are under pressure, and they understand why marketing needs more speed and flexibility to meet their agendas. On the other side of the coin, marketing folks are increasingly gaining an understanding of technology and are able to hold conversations with the CIOs across the aisle. They’ve been able to reallocate funds in their budget to invest in third party platform as a service technology that Ramaswamy says isn’t so much going around IT but is helping to keep internal IT costs down while alleviating their own burdens.

Our traditional ways of creating value are no longer enough to meet the changing perspectives of the customer. Marketing and IT may be hesitant to adapt because these changes are so fundamental, but both parties are already equipped to use their skills and address these needs in new ways.

“The customer is increasingly bringing a different perspective of value. They’re looking through their own lens of value based on their own customer experiences, which is much more contextualized… It’s very personal,” Ramaswamy said. “The answer lies in a process of engaging customers, not just gathering data and analyzing it independently. You need to create value for the customer and with the customer.”

To find out more about the changing dynamic between marketing and IT, listen to this week’s show, “CIO vs. CMO: Who’s Winning?

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