customer pain points

Wiedemann: Managing Toward Invisible Pain

It is energizing and inspiring to get a good feed of current survey information, especially in this time of constant change.  One of my favorite new places for information is, where you can sign up for their emails for free that alert you to new charts.  Below is a chart MarketingCharts published in August that pictures feedback from 716 executives in the customer engagement spaces at the client, the vendor and in agencies.

These Are the Areas Marketers Think Will Be Most Important Over the Next 2 Years – Marketing Charts

important marketing areas

Looking at survey data provides either both a confirmation and a stronger embrace of the things you are doing.  Or the survey information sends you a strong message to adjust your strategies and tactics.

Visible Pain 

Given digital connectivity and the continued movement of the customer to use those touchpoints and the incredible amount of data that generates, it is no surprise that the biggest movement – 37% of those surveyed – is to more data and insight-driven decision making.

Data and Analytics these days must be the foundation that all your engagement efforts and spending rests on for optimizing.  This helps your team deal with what I call Visible Pain, meaning the measure of results against goals and identifying the poor performing efforts.  Management gets to see where efforts are falling short and can treat that pain immediately.

Invisible Pain

More difficult to deal with is what I call Invisible Pain, which is the misallocation of budgets across the touchpoints.

Invisible Pain is why the important focus that resonated deeply with the C Suite side of me was the third ranked area: Maximizing Marketing Effectiveness and Optimizing Budgets (30% selected this focus).  Why?  In the last 5 years as a CEO and as a consultant helping the C Suites of clients the consistent finding was “The Invisible Pain” of misallocated budget spends across touchpoints. The cause of this Invisible Pain is an impressive thing: silo touchpoint expertise.

The skills to perform well at each touchpoint are well advanced today.  So why does excellent touchpoint performance produce Invisible Pain?  It is due to the expert touchpoint executive pushing that touchpoint success versus overall customer engagement success.  Let me illustrate that.

The client Paid Social executive with their PR Agency in reporting performance this month, this quarter touts successful touchpoint performance to the C Suite using middle metrics (cost per click, cost per visit, etc.), positioned against industry standards, or past performance metrics.  This gets repeated by each touchpoint executive and their agencies or vendors as they highlight success and push for more budget.  The result is budgets misallocated at touchpoints by having failed to rank the results of these spends with the final metric, CLV.

The experience has been that by adjusting budget spend from one touchpoint to another based on ranked best to worst CLV results usually produces double-digit percentage gains in growing the customer base and growing customer revenues.

Imagine if your existing budgets could produce let’s say 12% more acquired quality customers, and 10% more revenue.  My prediction is that this opportunity exists in your company, and this is not to criticize either the C Suite or the experts executing great programs at their touchpoints.  It is to encourage the right evaluation of the efforts grounded in CLV measures and allocating the budget spends accordingly.

Analytic unity also helps to manage improving CX and customer journey management, which 35% of those surveyed pegged as the second most important area.  When customer experience is bumpy for your Brand, your competitor rakes off sales.

The C Suite challenge to connect the dots across silos can be greatly helped if insights and decisions all rest on a united – in as much as possible – data and analytics foundation.


Let me end by mentioning one other important finding that 24% selected: Improving the understanding of the customer.  This chart was based on data from  What you will see at the Econsultancy website is more data on “understanding” which the MarketingCharts commentary takes as “A need for Empathy”.  Understanding your customers will inform your team how to make the CX better.  But I would like to leave you with the final thought that customer connection is more emotional than rational.  There is much research on that showing our minds are roughly 75% emotionally wired, 25% rationally wired.  If a customer believes something about your brand or product it is predominantly emotionally wired. This means that connecting with customers and prospects requires using your understanding to align emotionally before you can transact well and sell.

George WiedemannGeorge Wiedemann was founder and CEO of Grey Direct for 21 consecutive years of worldwide growth; CEO of pioneer Silicon Valley email platform Responsys; and CEO of The DRUM Agency. He is founder and CEO of Relationshipping Consulting, focusing on bringing efficiencies to large-scale enterprises through deep budgetary analysis and process alignment. George is also a frequent contributor to TheCustomer.

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