One of the primary reasons that cost centers or value centers or whatever you want to call them, are unsuccessful is that many, SEE ALSO: Almost All, of these organizations are run with the belief that their
customers end users, don’t have a choice.
After college, I went to work in an IT organization where I got to see first hand how this break-down of traditional buyer-seller norms works. It goes a little something like this:
→CEO buys an expensive piece of software
→CEO mandates to IT organization to deploy & support said software
→IT organization rules with an iron fist because the CEO said it so therefore the end-user doesn’t have a choice
→The end-user, THE CUSTOMER, does have a choice and they begin to move away from IT supported solutions
This same scenario is played out everyday, in most companies across the world, and by no means is it limited to the IT organization.
So, what can we do about it?
First, you must recognize that your “end-users” are really customers and they do have a choice. Once you make this fundamental mind shift, everything else will start to fall into place.
You must treat internal customers like you would treat external customers. They aren’t going to use your product just because you work for the same company. They aren’t going to use your product just because the CEO is mandating it. You have to market to them and sell them on the value of your services. If you force your product on them, they will begrudgingly use it while they curse you under their breath. If you give them the choice, and they select your services, they will reap great rewards and will become your champions.
Brand advocates are critically important to any business and they are just as important to your internal business. Take the time to understand who your potential brand advocates are and really invest in those relationships. Your brand advocates will go out of their way to create information that supports your practice, they are usually very influential and will help sell others within the company on the value of your services, and they will go to war for you if the situation arises.
Identifying and supporting brand avocates will go a long way in helping you create a data driven culture.
You have to take off your analyst hat here and replace it with your marketeer hat. Creating a brand around your analytics practice is key to generating an emotional attachment to your services. It gives your customers and potential customers a sense of belonging and it has the intangible ability to express quality.
Take a look around at the products you use on a daily basis, I’m sure there are some that by the packaging alone, you already know they are high quality products. The same will be true of your analytics practice, create a brand focused practice that sets your organization apart for the 99% of organizations that are focused on “end-users.”
Just because your customers are internal to your organization, don’t think that traditional marketing can’t help you to create a more data driven culture. I have personally used many traditional marketing techniques to great success, such as:
→Email Marketing Campaigns
→Monthly News Letters
→And Even Snail Mail
Every business has to have a website and there is no excuse that just because you run an internal business that you can’t have a website too. Create a website to help you market your brand by sharing relevant industry news, providing easy access to reports & analysis, and other necessities such as a corporate glossary, variable map, and an analytics road map.
Your customers should have a single destination to find everything relevant to your practice. Make it easy to access and provide customers what they need, and they will be repeat customers for years to come.
As your customers mature, your practice has to mature, if your product & your marketing effort don’t keep up, your customers will start looking somewhere else.
As your practice matures, the time invested to marketing activites will never decrease, you must continually win your customers business month to month.
NEVER take your internal customers for granted, they are paying for your services, literally. Each department that choose to partake of your services, provides a portion of their budget to cover your costs. That is a huge responsibility, don’t take it lightly.
So, are you actively marketing your internal practice? If not, you better start today!