It all depends on what you call it…

I’m on a bit of a classification or categorization kick lately. For some reason, it bothers me when I read about my Pebble being described as a “smartwatch”. I don’t think the watch itself is smart. It’s simply a display for what a real smart device — my phone — is beaming to it. Is it wearable technology? I guess, kinda. But isn’t a regular wristwatch wearable technology? So then, a connected device. Sure, but apparently, it’s one of about 3,000. As it relates to my watch, it really doesn’t matter to me. And, either way, I love the watch. But, in other areas, how we classify things does matter.

Given my background, one of the things I’ve been thinking about of late are classifications within the marketing services ’space’ — that is, everything from marketing service providers, agencies, or outsourced providers. It’s probably no surprise that I’m particularly interested in those of the the data-driven, digital, and engagement oriented types. I’m having lots of conversations with these service-oriented companies that no longer know what to call themselves (“are we an MSP, an agency, or something else?”) as well as marketers and customer experience professionals that don’t know how to choose a provider (“everyone claims to do the same thing and we have no way of distinguishing them”). So, I’m keen to look closer at this and perhaps even put forward a classification of sorts that might be helpful. I’d love to hear from you if you have thoughts about where things are headed.

Separately, or maybe, relatedly, I’m interested in corporate goals as they relate to customers. I’ve getting ready to publish the results of a survey of professionals responsible for customer relationships, and while I haven’t yet got all the results tabbed, it’s already clear that respondents like to think of themselves as customer-centric, or as focused on customer experience, and yet when you look at responses to other questions, there is little control being given to customers and little emphasis on customer-percieved value. As I look at the data, I’m keen to see if there’s a way to classify a firm’s approach to customers – for example they may claim to be experience focused, but what needs to be in place for them to be able to check that box and actually prove that they are? I’ll hopefully be able to publish a perspective in the next week or so, but if you already have a perspective, again, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



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