Old habits die hard.
I bet many of you know this all too well, especially those of you who are battling organizational mindsets or processes stuck in the Stone Age or trying hard to transition to new ones. Matt Cappio, senior VP of marketing strategies at Bank of America, can feel your pain. He told us so during a session at this week's DMA2013 conference about how the bank is shifting its marketing focus from products to customers.
Bank of America, like so many of its competitors, is pouring a lot of effort into creating a customer-centric model. The goal is to present a holistic view of a customer, not slice him or her up as a mortgage holder in one interaction, a checking account user in another, and a savings depositor in yet a third. That customer, whether reaching out via a smartphone app, firing off a question online, dialing into a call center or standing in a branch, needs to know the bank understands all of his or her needs, not just the one of that moment.
From marketing's perspective, the asking seems simple, Cappio said: "How do we maximize the value of customer-initiated interactions?" The answer, however, isn't that easy -- despite Bank of America's best efforts.
"We've taken great strides in transforming our business model to a more customer-centric one, but old habits die hard and we still get our old product-centric vertical silos," he said. "Sprinkle in all the different channels, and we end up with what I like to call the marketing Tower of Babel."
In other words, customers are apt to hear different marketing spiels depending on the channel they're using. "This is frustrating for our reps and for our customers, who are getting mixed messages."
Of course, you can't apply the same one best answer to every customer interaction -- and that makes the challenge all the more complicated. Nothing can be considered in isolation, every option has tradeoffs and the right answer often depends on what strategy you're applying. What's needed, Cappio said, is a deliberate decision-making framework to weigh the variables.