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Aberdeen's Report on the 'Voice of the Consumer'
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Prepare to be amazed. It turns out that engaged consumers expect products and services to be delivered when they want, through the channel they want.

The Aberdeen Group released its Voice of the Consumer report about a year ago and along with the obvious takeaways, the report did shed some light on the discrepancy between the businesses doing well with customer engagement management (CEM) and those that are not.

We realize that this report is a bit older than the ones we usually cover, but CEM has been dragging slowly enough that this is still relevant information.

First, the researchers defined VoC as any information about customer preferences, feedback, or expectations that are stored and made accessible for use. They also define CEM as the process of engaging the consumer in order to collect VoC.

A good white paper isn't without the jargon, boys and girls.

Second, they had three categories for businesses: the best in class (top performers), industry average ( the "mehs"), and the laggards (what's all this talk about "engagement?").

Overall, the paper was interesting. We do not recall a paper that has analyzed how brands gather and use customer feedback. In that sense, the paper was refreshing.

Some tidbits from the report that we enjoyed include:
  • Only 70% of the top performers had a formal strategy to make their brand more customer-centric. The rest had either already completed that tactic, or they believed that their product would satisfy. Interesting.
  • Just last year, 73% of total respondents were using email to keep in contact with customers, compared to 41% using social media. Though we imagine that social media crept up this year, we're tired of hearing people knock email down. Like any other tactic, email works well when you know your audience and how to target the message.
  • A mere 56% of the best-in-class brands proactively segmented their target markets according to decision-makers, influencers, regions, and the like. Wow. Talk about room for growth! 
  • And finally, of the best-in-class group, only 74% used key performance indicators to measure how well their activities were working. In a data-loving environment, that number needs to grow. Whether you listen to creative or analysts, we have to know if and how our activities are working.
So like we said, a very interesting paper. Customer Engagement Management will only get more important. Why not start implementing now?


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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