Welcome to my new blog, “The Customer Knowledge Advantage.”  TCKA is dedicated to discussion, observations, and musings about creating and using customer knowledge to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.  

Market intelligence–the myriad activities that provide firms with facts and information about their customers and prospects–is big business.  In 2007, total revenues for the top 25 global market research firms totaled $15.5 billion (US) according to the Honomichl Report on the market research industry.  And that’s only a fraction of the total that firms spend on all market intelligence when you take into account spending on things like CRM systems, secondary research, and the staff required to support all of these activities.  

There’s also been an explosion in casual and spontaneously generated customer data on the web, from click-throughs to text postings to the linkages on social networking sites.  This opens up entirely new pathways to observing and understanding consumer behavior.  At the same time, these data streams present new challenges for analysis and interpretation.

TCKA is based on my belief that customer knowledge emerges over time from the intersection of facts–things we can observe, count, categorize, and so forth–and the unique experiences of the observers.  In other words, knowledge is a characteristic of people, and two people with different experience looking at the same facts may arrive at different understanding.

So what can you expect from future posts on TCKA?  For starters, comment and observation on both new and old practices for creating customer knowledge, with examples ripped from the business headlines.  Reviews of books (new and old) that I think will be of interest to marketers or market researchers (first up, Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies by Richard B. McKenzie).  And, in the future, contributions from folks I’ve collaborated with over the years.  

Thanks for joining me.