Listen and act on customer data, not competitor intelligence, says Pandora MD

Internet radio company's managing director talks about how it's defining customer journeys

Too many businesses are still obsessed by their competitors and fail to put enough emphasis on what their customer wants, according to Pandora Media’s managing director, Jane Huxley.

Speaking on the subject of defining customer journeys at the Chief Digital Officer Forum in Sydney, Huxley pointed to three ingredients her organisation uses to improve customer experiences and engagement. The first is watching the customer “like a hawk”.

“You need to know every single thing about the customer, then demonstrate that you are listening by refining your offer every day,” she said. “On top of that, you have to watch the market and broader, general trends. The business we are in today, for example, is a data business led by mobile and constant disruption.

“The third thing is to watch the competitors. Many people get this the wrong way around, however, and are obsessed by competitors first.The prize is the customer.”

Huxley said one of the first things she does each today is log into Pandora’s customer service desk to see what is being said about its products and services.

“The reason I do that is because it’s those stories you need to convince board, management team, advertisers, and broader ecosystem about the value of your product,” she said. “You must be able to tell stories, and those come from customers.”

Pandora also taps into a wealth of customer data to improve its product set, using login as a unique identifier, Huxley continued. Pandora’s product offering is built off the back of its Music Genome Project, which defines music by 450 different taxonomies and then uses these to provide personalised music streaming to customers.

On top of this, Pandora further reshuffle what’s delivered by allowing consumer to rate songs with a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’.

“We have 55 billion pieces of data just from the thumbs up or down,” Huxley said. “Human curation, plus stirring our algorithms, helps us continually up the game on the product and personalisation.

“The customer journey is all about you telling me about who you are, where you are, what you like and who you know, but it’s also about constantly feeding back to you that we have listened and are responding to what you’re saying.

“How evident is your action to the customer themselves? Data needs to be fed back in way they understand that is continually updating the service.”

Customers aren’t just the listeners, they’re also advertisers and music makers, and Huxley said Pandora provides a range of data-driven services to these stakeholders to add value. For example, Pandora recently opened up its Genome Project to an ‘Artist Marketing Platform’, where music makers can claim their identity and gain access to data insights on who’s listening, where they’re located, and so on.

“This could help artists decide which states to tour in, which songs to play, which bands to tour with, and importantly, allows them to directly connect to fans of their music,” Huxley said.

“Each customer set are individual customer journeys, yet each are underpinned by the Music Genome Project, the data we collect, and the ubiquitously logged in listener of Pandora.”

Alongside customer data, Huxley identified two external market trends influencing Pandora’s business model: The shift to mobile; and the move away from Web to access on a mobile to mobile apps.

“There are only 10-12 apps out there owned by independent publishers that own the customers when they are inside the app,” Huxley commented. “Each is a data collection business and Pandora is one of those. You need to partner to find those people.

“What’s interesting is we don’t worry about viewability or ad blocking, because they don’t exist inside these ecosystems where publishers are holding customers and the data around them.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Is customer segmentation dead?

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, announced the death of customer segmentation five years ago saying, "The shift is to go from the segment to the individual. She might have been a bit premature for most marketers, but if customer segmentation isn't dead yet, it's definitely on life support.

Richard Taylor

Senior digital strategist, Spinach

How people buy brands

Andrew Ehrenberg was a giant in the field of marketing science. He believed scientific methods could reveal law-like patterns of how people buy. In this post, I summarise one of Ehrenberg’s most important discoveries and its implications on how people buy brands.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

What a great article. Thanks for sharing. Today Digital Marketing is the basic need for a business to survive. As online presence is very...

Ecomsolver Private Limited

Want to master digital transformation? Stop thinking about your own problems

Read more

Feeling grateful that customer led digital transformation could improve business and generate more business growth. Many companies are no...

Lilly Lawrence

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

If a business games me happy than there is a higher chance I will go to them.

Martinez

The Iconic: becoming customer-focussed transformed our business

Read more

That’s a great example of surprising AR ad that went viral because it was first of its kind. Probably a similar effect to some scale can ...

Natasha Kvitka

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

Read more

Hey there! it is a really meaningful post. I too have written a few similar articles about SEM, SEO, Social Media, Digital Marketing Tren...

Rohit

Digital advertising continues to dominate marketing budgets

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in