THE STORY OF CUSTOMER VALUE MAXIMIZATION
It was late 2003. Fresh from two earlier entrepreneurial stints, a team in India gathered around a conference table to discuss what would be their next “change the world” goal.
A few guiding principles were identified:
Once the guiding principles were identified, next came the name. One of the members of the team suggested Xerago. When queried, he responded that the name meant New Life in some American Indian dialect. While the source of the word has yet to be identified, it immediately resonated with all the members of the team and that is how the name, Xerago, was born.
Then came the composition of skills. While Communication and Technology were areas of proven competence, the team identified a new skill that it had no earlier exposure to - Analytics. So, it was decided that Xerago would be a solutions company that would operate at the confluence of communication, technology and analytics. We called these the three pillars of Xerago. Teams were created around each discipline. Instead of the humming of sitars and the feeling of harmony, chaos ensued. It was a veritable Tower of Babel. Each function refused to acknowledge the contribution and the impact of the other function. It took more than a year of working together for each specialist to understand and acknowledge the value that the other functions brought to the table and how the overall solution was enriched as a result of working together. Finally, we have a culture of mutual respect and harmony. More importantly, Xerago has truly integrated this multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving that pervades all solutions and makes customers' lives much better.
When Xerago started operations, it had 20 people and one customer. In an effort to explain what Xerago does, for many years, Xerago called itself a Marketing company. It was obvious though that what Xerago did was not Marketing. So, Xerago called itself a New Age Marketing in a feeble effort to be more clear! Over the years, as Xerago grew, one of the constant struggles facing the team was to explain what Xerago did and why what it did was different from other marketing firms and consulting companies.
One day, in a burst of frustration, Ganesh, the CEO, asked his colleague at that time, Chari, who headed the Solutions team what was the right term for what Xerago did. And in an Eureka moment, Chari came up with the term Customer Value Maximization. That seemed to most aptly encapsulate what Xerago did. And that is how Customer Value Maximization was born.
But the challenge did not end there. While the term Customer Value Maximization was articulated, it was still unclear to many people what it meant or what it did. The entire process of making Customer Value Maximization self-explanatory and easy-to-comprehend took many more years.
Today, it is safe to say that Customer Value Maximization is here to stay. In a nutshell, Customer Value Maximization helps organizations maximize customer value. One of the underlying principles of Customer Value Maximization is that to maximize value from customers, organizations have to maximize value for customers. This is not always evident and organizations that don’t respect this tenet find it difficult to maximize customer value.
Customer Value Maximization is not CRM, or Campaign Management, or Marketing Automation, or 1-1 Marketing, or Digital Marketing, though it encompasses all of these. Importantly, Customer Value Maximization is not Revenue Maximization either, because
Customer Value Maximization, grows both monetary as well as non-monetary metrics for organizations.
The basic flip that Customer Value Maximization does is that it puts the Customer and customer value in the center, rather than the marketing, or engineering, or analytical function. As a result, instead of focusing on business or marketing activities, for the first time, using Customer Value Maximization, organizations focus on what needs to be accomplished. The activity itself becomes subordinate to the outcome. This flipped view dramatically eases a lot of cross-functional working issues, spans marketing and business silos and helps business leaders focus on goals rather than processes, helping goal achievement be much more tangible and visible.
To know more about Customer Value Maximization and how the journey of the past 10 years has now been synthesized into a single effective platform of a kind that the world has never seen before, read the Platform section.