Obsessed: The ten rules of the principle abiding marketer


Organizational readiness: Customers determine the relevancy of the organization


RULE #4: Recognize that your customers do not always fit in your magically and beautifully crafted (but sometimes theoretical) customer journeys.


A BLOGPOST BY Renout van hove,growthagent





The problem for many organizations is that they are not built in a sense that they can understand or view the customer through the lens of their omnichannel journey, let alone perform connected and seamless dialogue with those customers. Many times companies still work in 19th-century methods, in siloed departments dedicated to one channel, whether it’s for the website, the call center, mobile app, or e-commerce. (you probably have seen that team, actually physically in the corner of the building, with the flag above their head ‘social media team’). 

Sometimes they even focus on micro-tasks, like online check-in. These organizations often struggle to have a consistent and orchestrated conversation across the many channels they serve – or being pushed to serve – and they have a hard time considering an individual’s context and intentions. They also struggle to have a dialogue that is genuine, authentic, human, and relevant. Automating anything you do in this scenario will feel awkward to the consumer and is just not the right way forward. 

The impact is customer frustrations, and the brands are exposed to sagging customer satisfaction, decreasing cross- and / or upsells and loss of customer loyalty above all – thus directly impacting revenue performance. Convenience beats trust, but without trust, you don’t get to sit around the table nowadays. 

Thunderhead refers to this issue as the Engagement Gap. It’s the gap between what consumers expect and want to achieve with the least effort possible vs. what brands and organizations often can deliver. 


Here are five signs that you have an engagement gap:

  1. Experiences are inconsistent – they are fragmented interactions and responses to customers are siloed
  2. You have channel-specific interactions: they ignore the natural tendency of customers to switch channels 
  3. Disconnected conversations lead to frustrated customers – the NPS goes down, or the CES goes up (Customer Effort Score – more on that later). You feel like the right-hand does not know what the left hand is doing
  4. Mistimed, expired, irrelevant messages that are not contextual – your opt-out is going through the roof, and your database is eroding faster than 30% per year
  5. Customers show a high Customer Effort Score – they feel like having to work hard navigating multiple corporate structures to get what they want. Working hard to spend your money is always bad news. 

The good news is: some remedies and technologies can help to sort things out.

Even better, here comes a checklist on what to you need do to solve the problem: 




  • Make sure you have a truly holistic view of your customer, concentrating on catching and connecting all beacons across all channels and touchpoints 
  • Focus to fully understand the explicit context for every customer and orchestrate your engagement based primarily on their intent
  • Use technology such as a Thunderhead that applies Machine Learning and other AI techniques so that you grasp your customer changing intentions over time 
  • Assure yourself that you try to understand every single micro-moment intent of your customer fully 
  • Be pragmatic but look forward and plan so that you can scale in parallel across your channels and touchpoints 
  • Be lean and take small steps to gradually enable your organization by implementing self-service design for your business users. 
  • In technology selection, look for platforms that are single solutions that are easily controlled by your own teams internally, allowing you to become independent from other departments, and providing value as quickly as possible. 
  • When looking at technology vendors, check in on how fast they can bring value, how much effort the implementation will take, and how it will integrate with your existing infrastructure. Typically it should not be more than a few weeks to get first value out of it.



This blogpost is based upon the new book of Marc Bresseel and Renout van Hove: OBSESSED: Decode the data landscape. Reboot your sales and marketing.

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