It’s a sad statistic that 51 per cent of Aussie businesses see customer experience as the most exciting opportunity for 2016, but only six per cent feel they are actually implementing it properly.
There’s a lot of things changing in the world of marketing when it comes to knowing your customer, and this was never more apparent than at the AANA and SMG ‘Media Futures’ presentation last night.
“Growth is not a given,” SMG CEO Chris Nolan warned, kicking off a panel discussion with a host of experts in the field.
“The complexity of the customer journey is the number one barrier.”
Nolan also noted that while the two key aspects of customer experience function – having touchpoints between the customer and brand from start to finish – and philosophy – seamless interaction and value – there is “a tension between function and philosophy”.
But Subaru general manager marketing Andrew Caie posed a question, asking fellow panellists, “Is anything really different to what it was?” The customer has just moved the goal post for us to a different ground.”
Chief disruption officer Iain McDonald agreed, admitting there is currently “a disconnect with customer experience and user experience”.
“Customer experience and user experience have to work in tandem. A customer can become a user and a user a customer, and they can ebb and flow between each other.
“We’re not seeing competition from just the big boys. Innovation is coming from all kinds of sources.”
There are three opportunities to overcome customer experience barriers, Nolan said, and they involve investing in the right assets at the right time, partnering to align with customer experience and organising around the customer.
“2015 was the year of streaming video on demand,” he said. “And 2016/2017 will be the years of addressable video on demand.
“But most interestingly, in 2018 the view is mass-addressable will switch on.”
“I was a bit embarrassed from a marketer’s point of view is that we seem to be spending money on owned infrastructure,” Caie said, adding that this traditionally enables businesses to “protect [themselves] from all the things we don’t quite understand”.
“If this is the case, then I think we need to take a good hard look at ourselves.”
In the eyes of Dr Nelson-Field, it’s time to explore “contextual targeting” – things like artificial intelligence – and other techniques that “add new dimensions to the current one dimensional marketing”.
“In the future we will also be able to match things like mood and behaviour.”
Nelson-Field expanded on this, saying typically marketers have said, “if they [customers] search it they must be in the market for it” and that marketing now needs to “take this further and match with subliminal thinking.”
And McDonald agreed, saying “if you’re last on the boat with [mass-addressability] you’re going to be out of business”.
“Advertising is a fundamental part of business. The power of personalisation drives and shapes business, and we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of advertising,” Yahoo!7 CEO Ed Harrison stressed.
“We have to make sure experience flows. How do you surprise and delight your customers?”
Marketers can also tend to pass the buck when it comes to ownership of customer experience, which the panel was adamant is a sure way to fail.
“If marketers are not putting their hand up to be custodians of customer experience, they should be fired,” Independent strategy consultant Arno Lenior said.
“Marketers currently don’t know how to get their message across in all areas.”
Caie added, “If the whole organisation does not feel part of the ownership of customer experience, then marketing will suffer.”
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