I'm standing outside the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City watching 20 Frankensteins doing the dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Sometimes I struggle to explain to relatives and friends exactly what I do for a living. It's because of days like this.
For these are my Frankensteins.
They came to my Salt Lake City Airbnb 'safe house' this morning at 5am to get painted up by professional make up artists while myself and two colleagues briefed them on how they were going to contribute to our marketing activity this week.
Even as we left the house in our van, the blacked out windows protecting the Frankenstein monsters' cover as they sensibly belted themselves in to their seats, I felt an acute sense of risk.
Guerrilla marketing stunts always fill me with a feeling of dread; I'm filled with the worry that what we are attempting may not work. So far so good though. Our 20 monsters have collected hundreds of hugs, high-fives and selfies from marketers heading into the summit.
We're legal by the way. We actually got a permit from the local council that allows us to bring 20 Frankensteins onto these public sidewalks. Because those permits actually exist.
While the stunt was our way of having a bit of fun, we’re actually trying to send a serious message to the market.
Quite simply, not all marketing clouds are equal. There are good clouds and bad clouds. A marketing cloud shouldn’t be a collective noun for a group of badly put together technology products that over-promise and under-deliver.
According to recent studies, 89% of companies expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016. To do that, marketing needs to be offering customers a joined-up, integrated and intuitive customer experience.
However, the market is full of what we call FrankenClouds. These are built by businesses who hope to provide brands with customer experience solutions by acquiring and then trying to slam together disparate technologies. These technologies were actually built to serve a single functional purpose. These technologies were never meant to work together and don’t easily talk to one another - that's why we call these marketing clouds FrankenClouds. They are merely portals with links to their different technologies.
So we’re here today (and tomorrow) urging people to sort the real marketing clouds from the FrankenClouds and visit DumpFrank.com today.
Customer experience means being customer-centric - building your business and its processes around the needs of the customer rather than asking the customer to adapt to whatever you can most easily offer them with your legacy system. This means your engagements with your customer should feel to them more human and intuitive than ‘process-led’.
This, in turn necessitates your entire business to be linked up more so that the data on each customer is available to all your teams in real-time; what the customer likes, what they look for, what stopped them buying the last time, what will make them purchase this time and what their conditions of purchase might be, whether that by instant delivery, free returns and so on.
In addition the information should present your creative marketers with a blank canvas on which to impact the customer journey with their big ideas, moving that journey from seamless to joyful.
If marketing is to continue its rapid shift towards the owner of customer experience then we marketers need to understand that customer experience isn’t just about technology. Technology is the enabler. Customer experience is about being customer-centric - the ability to be human, intuitive and personalized when engaging your customers. It has to be within your design brief from the start which is why using technology that was built for other purposes will see you fall short.
Check out www.dumpfrank.com to find out more.