The main focus of the Teradata Connect Conference was how brands can capitalize and successfully optimize their marketing for the ‘digital’ world or as Curt Simon Harlingausen from Akom360 put it ‘simply the world’, he believes that making a distinction between the physical and digital world is an antiquated thought process and a brand and a business can not flourish unless you stop making a differentiation between the two and simply treat it as an overall marketing strategy. The digital world is now as integral to our daily lives as electricity.
Human nature, the customer Experience, Omni channel marketing, mobile marketing and future insights and trends were the five dominant themes of the event and all of the talks could be categorized under one or more than one of these subjects.
There was a lot of discussion surrounding human nature and the ways that humans interact with brands and how it has changed and is changing rapidly. For example the average Human attention span is 8 seconds long and decreasing, it is currently 1 second less than a gold fish, and consumers no longer have the patience for advertising (Rusty Warner, Forrester Research). Each and every person is subjected to 3,500 different marketing messages per day so it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that consumers are choosing to ignore the marketing messages and switch off and avoid being sold to at every opportunity, such is the case with ad free subscription services online.
We have two sides to our brain, the conscious and the unconscious, the conscious part of the brain makes up between 5-10% of the brain and the unconscious part of the brain represents 90-95% of brain activity. However in order for brands to make an impact with their message and register and become impactful the conscious brain must register them before they can be effective. With that in mind, it is no great surprise that 75% of emails we receive are instantly deleted before the conscious brain registers the message.
John Timmerman actually said that the largest obstacle that brands face is the competing messages from consumers lives. Their loves and their passions. When placing banners on a Facebook feed, the brand isn’t competing against other brands it is actually fighting for your attention against your cousin’s new video of their cat dancing.
Brands need to be savvier in the way they go about connecting to their customer. It is no longer enough to send out a ‘personalised’ ad. Consumers need to be rewarded for their loyalty or they will simply switch allegiance. Pip Stocks, CEO of Brandhook, suggested that the only way in which brands can become successful in this day and age is to by becoming a habit for their customers. According to Pip on average 85% of what we do each day is the same, we are naturally creatures of habit, and the only way to build loyalty and traction is to become a routine for consumers. There are five key influencers on people’s habits, which are location, emotion, proceeding event, time and another person. To become a habit brands must aim to align themselves and there message with at least one of these motivators.
Naturally customer experience or CX was a massive focus given the recurring references to human nature. In a saturated market customers are getting wiser and brands that do not put the consumer experience at the very center of all they do will be left behind and will ultimately fail. Several speakers, including Simon Russel (Director of Retail Operation at John Lewis) and Ken Kralick (Head of Ecommerce for Puma) suggested that the only way to have an optimsed and successful customer experience was by aligning all different areas of the business including finance, operations and marketing with the customer. It has to remain at the very center of your organization.
So how do you attain the perfect Customer Experience? Well two key ways were suggested. The first one was being present. Whenever your customer needs you, you’re business must be there. In order to do this you must really understand their world and be apart of their world. There were various examples given to illustrate this point such as a push that Pizza Hut did within the East Asian market. They used their data profiling of their customers in which to send the targeted offers. Therefore, if you were a twenty something male, who generally orders a pizza online on a Friday evening, Pizza Hut would send a push notification at 4/4.30 in which it has a personalized offer for you and only you. This means that at that particular moment, when you may have been thinking of what you might do for dinner Pizza Hut are there to save the day and not only to save the day but also to save you money on your favorite pizza. How awesome are Pizza Hut? They actually care and value you! You might be tempted to get another pizza next Friday if they keep this communication up with you. Put simply, segmenting your customers is no longer acceptable you must give your customers recognition for being loyal.
In line with being preset and valuing the customer experience was streamlining. Streamlining was intrinsically linked with the habit idea and the ritualistic behavior of humans. It is helping to remove the choice and make the path to purchase easier. This is extremely pertinent for utility products who are now, in a few cases, providing subscription based services where they will provide you with certain products to your door on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Amazon have taken this one step further by creating the product Amazon Dash, this product is essentially a branded button which you hit when you are running low on certain products. For example, if you were running low on detergent you may have an Ariel button located right next to your washing machine, when you were running low you would simply hit the button which would then send an alert to you mobile which you accept (just to verify you intended to hit the button) and then within 24hours or less a fresh box of Ariel is sent directly to your door. This brilliant initiative has completely removed your effort, it is simple, effective and useful, amazon and Ariel combined have just made your life easier. It has become an essential part of your routine, making it highly unlikely that you will ever choose a different detergent or distributor ever again. The removal of choice and making the whole customer experience easier can only be of benefit to your brand and building loyalty.
The execution of the customer experience is essential for brands these days. And the new buzzword is clearly Omni-channel. In layman’s terms its just what ever channels your are using to target, communicate and trade with your customer. There were many talks at the event regarding the Omni-channel experience but the key one that resonated was Simon Russel from John Lewis. John Lewis is an excellent case study and leader in how to integrate a perfect Omni-channel strategy. The aim, for John Lewis, is to engage with customers emotionally to ensure that they spend both in store and online. By having this organic approach you can communicate and deliver your brand at every touch point. Because of the holistic approach that John Lewis takes they enjoy £11billion of annual sales.
Essentially, brands must know who they are talking to. It is impossible to be relevant if you don’t know who you’re taking to. For progressive brands it is common place to create over 100 different marketing messages that are all part of the same campaign that are tailored to specific customer profiles and demographics. This leverages opportunity from the customer pool, it is no longer acceptable to simply have one message and one campaign, and the execution and commination must be speaking to each one of your customers. It takes 14 milliseconds for the brain to register a visual image; therefore the visual identity must be strong and impactful when trying to engage the consumer at all levels as well.
The most relevant channel and the current seismic shift that all marketers and brands are currently experiencing is with mobile. The dominance, relevance and impact that mobile is currently having in the marketing sphere is phenomenal to say the least. Since mobile Internet first started in 2005 there has been an explosion of tech businesses, which continues to grow. 2010 saw social take center stage and as a result many mobile first companies have developed. One of which was Gett, formerly Gett Taxi who spoke at the event. Similarly to Uber you order a cab from the app on your smart phone, unlike Uber Gett often uses the highly regulated taxis of the countries that it operates in. For example in the UK they use black cabs and in the US they use yellow cabs. Gett is just one example of multiple mobile first businesses that are riding the wave of the boom in mobile.
Steve Hatch, Managing Director of Facebook in the UK and Ireland believes that mobile is the biggest platform change to have affected brands and marketing since the birth of television and the scope, potential and possibilities are vast. He spoke about how it was the most intimate device we currently have; it controls all aspects from our lives from the emails we receive to tracking the steps that we take to waking us up in the morning with our alarm to housing our entire music library. Brands have to optimize themselves for mobile because these days that is how all consumers are first interacting with brands. Andre Schieck deputy CEO at Grey Düsseldorf advocates that when presenting work agencies should always show it o a handheld mobile device.
Realistically the possibilities are endless with mobile from push notifications to optimized websites to promoted tweets to data capture. Mobile means that there is a constant link to the consumer and that, as a result, brands are able to communicate in real time with their customers.
The future is bright…as long as you have the right message, you’re using the right channels, you’re discoverable when you’re customers need you and at that moment you have the right services that they require, even before they know it themselves. Various different examples were featured throughout the conference that showed pioneering marketing activities including German Wings who have created ‘corridor targeting’ specifically aimed at people in long distance relationships. The idea is that both yourself and your partner are tracked via GPS and when the cheapest flights between the locations are available you both receive an alert on your phone offering the cheap seats on the flight in order to reconnect you with your loved one.
Pip stocks mention, when questioned, that the middle market is dead. It is no longer acceptable to be an adequate, functional brand. Brands need to either be cheap, cheaper than all the competition or they need to have a story. They need to connect emotionally with consumers and provide a motivation for the consumer. Coca-Cola has executed this brilliantly in Vietnam with ‘Choose Happiness’. The campaign provided multiple uses for the Coca-Cola bottle, giving it a life after it has finished being a vessel for your drink. It connected the product to more emotional territory and helped build an affinity with the consumers.
In a world where only 30% of marketing directors feel reasonably prepared for the digital transformation, it is hardly surprising that these conferences exist. The key take away for marketing agencies is to innovate and educate, don’t stand still always look to see how you can capitalize on the next ‘big thing’. Seek out collaboration, be relevant to your customer and put them at the center of campaigns.
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