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The Decline of the Database Miners

Jennifer Rice over at Corante has a nice piece about why companies talk a lot about becoming more customer centric but rarely do anything about it.

I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from it:

"[This] is problematic because the necessary solution is not a new business practice; it’s a new people practice. We don’t need a new ad campaign or a new org chart. There are no quick fixes. The skill sets needed in today’s times are not management consultants or word-of-mouth marketing specialists. If we’re all really honest with ourselves, what we really need are psychologists and coaches and relationship experts. We’re talking about real customer connections, not a personalized direct mail piece."

I've been thinking for some time now that the Era of the Database Miners is coming to an end. In the new customer-focused business environment, where companies now have (for the first time in history) direct contact with customers, Qualitative Insight will increasingly supersede Quantitative Analysis in key areas of the marketing function. And those who can derive relevant and important meanings from direct contact with customers -- including from a smattering of blog comments from customers -- will become highly valued within business.

Whether they are psychologists or just good listeners and communicators is probably immaterial. What will count is their ability to understand not just what customers want but why they want it.


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