Business transformation; the increased expectations of the connected consumer (Part 2)

Following on from my initial post, here are my five remaining pillars as to how the marketing function can support business transformation in the age of the consumer.

6.) AGILITY
Agility is important as it enables an organization to respond more rapidly to changing market conditions. Creating an agile environment helps support creativity and innovation and can reduce the constraints imposed by the usual planning and execution boundaries. The foundation to be able to adopt an agile approach is to ensure that you set clear objectives and always focus these on defined market outcomes. This empowers execution to take its own path.
Marketing considerations; adopt a flexible organization structure, introduce project teams, take every network meeting you can to learn what is new in the market, deploy a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach and test, test and test.

7.) CONNECTED ORGANIZATION
It is simple and that is that your customers expect an organization to be connected. Their expectation is that however they engage or are engaged, the organization should act as one and to be able to recognize the full relationship that they have with the company.
Marketing considerations; provide a consistent customer view to all functions, establish a single preference center, introduce customer governance with rules on engagement & frequency of interaction and set outside-in customer metrics.

8.) TECHNOLOGY ENABLEMENT
Customer engagement is becoming more complex every day as more data sources become available and there are more ways and channels by which a customer can engage an organization. Technology is crucial to help connect customer insights with engagement, improve response times, enable efficiency and provide organizations with wisdom for improved decision making.
Marketing considerations; always start with process and once defined then look at technology enablement, deploy a test, learn, adapt approach, fully commit don’t half bake and involve everyone who is a stakeholder throughout entire process.

9.) LOCALIZATION
Marketing has always been local. People have connections and ties to the local community, to their home town, to where they live which influence their beliefs, needs and areas of interest. Location is key to understanding context and understanding context is what helps marketing ensure offerings are relevant.
Marketing considerations; segment by geography, adopt a geo-cluster approach that combines demographic data with geographic data, assess impact of environmental conditions such as seasons & weather and ignite word of mouth marketing in key geographic / community / tribal clusters.

10.) MUTUAL VALUE EXCHANGE
In today’s modern era successful companies are those that take a Market-In approach and focus on the customer first and foremost. The real trick is therefore to always ask yourself the following before making any investment or running any activity; will they care, is it important to them and do they benefit?
Marketing considerations; consider introducing a Customer Officer, develop a customer advocacy program where there is a mutual exchange of benefit, establish a communities portal and only engage with customers when there is value for them.

success concept

What are your TOP TEN and do you have any examples as to why they are important?

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How journalism informs today’s brand building

My father was a city journalist back in the days when Fleet Street in London was the center of the UK newspaper industry. He once said to me that great writing was based on a combination of clarity and authenticity. It is a simple notion; your audience needs to quickly and clearly understand the purpose whilst at the same time believing what you are conveying.

This is something that has stayed with me throughout my entire career and I think it has as much relevance now for brand marketing as it does for newspaper journalism.

Every brand comprises a brand promise which is the all enveloping commitment that an organization makes to its audience and it identifies what that audience should expect through the sum of all interactions they have with the people, products, services and company they are engaging.

With the fragmentation of media and proliferation of different communication channels, where there is more noise than ever before, brands have to find a way to break through and differentiate. They need to convey a clarity of purpose that is distinct, appealing and empathetic in terms of shared values. This purpose I believe needs to be more than just a good product or service at a good price, consumers now expect some form of loftier goal. They want brands that care, care about communities, environment, human rights, fair trade and humanity.

In addition, brands need to be believable. We have gone from a society where we would blindly buy into a brand promise to one where brand reputation is far more important. Brands are now defined on how they act rather than what they say. Consumers now heavily influence brand perception by conveying and communicating the experiences they have had through word of mouth, social, communities etc. and this sheer weight of voice is more authentic and influential than what a brand can possibly communicate.

I heard a great quote the other day that reinforces this: “Don’t let your marketing get ahead of your customer experience delivery”. I believe this is one of the greatest challenges we face.

ImageSo clarity of purpose and credibility through action, these are the foundations for successful brand building in today’s digital world.