Part 1 of a 3 part series – The Crawl Phase

We all want to be doing more and better in our roles.  For today’s marketer, that means embracing the opportunity to use technology + data to build strong customer relationships that are direct and relevant so we can drive greater business results. The goal; be more strategic and less reactionary. Every marketer in the outdoor industry we speak with is eager to improve upon what they are doing today, take greater advantage of digital opportunities, data, targeting and more.

However, more often than not there’s hesitation to take the next step towards a true customer centric approach. I understand because on first-blush, a project like this can be incredibly daunting. It requires balancing ongoing business demands (the current ways of building and executing marketing) while shifting thinking, strategies and how your marketing team executes – all while implementing a new tech platform. And because it’s human nature to fear change, many are reluctant to take the next step or fear failing. But let’s be honest, change can be very good when it produces better marketing and business results. It’s that very objective, better marketing for greater financial results, which must stay top of mind throughout the process of implementing a customer database solution. We refer to this process as “Crawl, Walk, and Run.”

Let’s start with before “Crawl”: objective setting. A customer database is not technology for technology sake and embedding this technology platform into your business doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a champion within every organization to make it happen. It starts with aligning to real business objectives to receive buy-in across teams because it will revolutionize how the business operates. This means you, the marketer with the vision for better results, must rally product, sales and other key stakeholders (maybe even the Board) on “why” and then “how” it changes the organization.

Once buy-in on agreed-upon objectives is complete, then comes that first step, “Crawl” — the integration of your customer data across all touch points and the implementation of the database platform that becomes the foundation for the future.  It is incredibly important to choose a platform that fits your business and is “right-sized” for what your organization needs. From industry experience, to functionality, to support teams to ensure the “Crawl” phase is efficient, smart and sets your team up for success and the capitalization of the “Walk” and “Run” phases.

Once the crawl phase is complete, the fun really begins to happen. In future posts, we dive more into how outdoor companies can accelerate their marketing programs and success in the next two stages of implementing a successful customer centric approach.