Peter Drucker

BuzzFeed's recent article on digital personalization reminds us again of how marketers can obsess on "the trees" (semantics) and miss "the forest" (the power of digital to drive great marketing). To frame the issue, we must recognize where we are: at the precipice of a new age of marketing, where digital can empower unprecedented levels of consumer insights, knowledge and performance.

"Quality in a service or product isn't what you put into it," according to the late Peter Drucker, esteemed management consultant and business scholar, "it's what the client or customer gets out of it." This customer-centric ethos is certainly central to retailer success, particularly for agile web-based companies. As they try to compete with online pure-plays, many traditional retailers view the customer relationship in the same way: meeting the changing needs of the customer is the best way to inspire loyalty. Ever since digital technology revolutionized the shopping experience, retailers have been looking for ways to deliver a more consistent service across all the channels that customers use to reach them — omnichannel strategies for web, mobile and point of sale.

Tying the results of a marketing tactic to the actual financial performance of a company is no easy feat. You may not have ready access to business performance or transaction metrics to allow correlation. The sheer array of channels and options available to marketers, and the rise of new marketing tactics such as social media, only add to the difficulty of measuring clear results.

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