6 lessons in marketing strategy and technology from a customer experience chief

Endeavour Drinks Group head of CX shares his lessons learnt while building marketing technology and customer engagement strategies


Technology might be critical in delivering superior customer experiences, but it doesn’t replace merchandising and key factors such as price, relevancy, creative quality and emotive connections.

That’s the view of Endeavour Drinks Group’s head of customer experience, Sean Smith, who took to the stage at the Oracle Modern Marketing Meetup event in Sydney to discuss the lessons he’s picked up on digital marketing and customer engagement excellence.

“Technology only goes so far, you have to also merchandise your products and have your customers engaged,” Smith told attendees.

Traditionally, merchandising has been a product-led or even supplier-led exercise. But in the customer-centric universe we live in today, it’s about what the customer is interested in, Smith said.

“They want you to provide products to them that are interesting to them. If you don’t, the value exchange of me accepting your marketing fails and I’m going to say no and disengage with the brand,” Smith said. “Never has that been more critical than today.”

Brands also can’t expect to create the product or determine what today’s consumers are going to buy. “The problem is you have to have a product set that matches your personalisation strategy,” Smith continued.

There are two sides to that equation that must be considered, he continued. The marketing side, which usually cares the most about the customer, is increasingly looking at personalisation to determine what messages and products to put in front of customers. But you also need merchandising teams to build similar algorithms and rank products within categories or interest spheres in order to put the right product in front of the right customer, Smith said.

One sector Smith said had managed this well is online travel. “So many things are going into the algorithm to make it relevant to you while profitable to the business at the same time,” he said.

During his presentation, Smith also shared a number of war stories from his 15-year career running digital marketing and customer experience platforms and programs for the likes of Dimmi, HotelClub, Woolworths Liquor Group and Ticketek. Based on these, he offered six lessons to marketers looking to achieve customer experience excellence.

Number one on the list is to clearly define what you’re trying to do and what success looks like. “It sounds obvious, but it’s not that clear for many people,” Smith said.

“Every organisation is in different phase of strategy – some are startup businesses, and in a growth phase – it’s about acquiring customers and building awareness, investing heavily, and they don’t worry as much about profit at that point in their life.

“Or you might be reinvigorating the brand and looking at if you’re doing customer experience right. These are company strategies you may not be thinking about, but if you don’t align with those, you’re going to run into problems later.”

Metrics are vital in understanding and responding to key business objectives. But while sales revenue seems to be a top priority for many, it’s often a short-term measure, Smith warned. Another core metric he advocated for is customer lifetime value.

Second of Smith’s lessons for marketers is getting buy-in from management, including legal teams. “You need them to understand what you’re doing and why,” he said, adding marketers must find and speak in a language major stakeholders understand. This could be things like revenue, EBIT, or return on funds.

The third lesson is the importance of governance. This stretches from data definitions to business rules around data and how that’s captured, customer contact rules, and legislative requirements. “Tied into that is the state of your data – is it usable, does it need to be cleansed?” Smith asked.

As an example of how things can go wrong, Smith pointed to an experience he witnessed where an emphasis on customer acquisition saw one organisation’s marketing teams using bad database lists. This led threat intelligence service, Spamhaus, to add the brand to its global blocklists for ISPs, crippling its corporate IP network. Only through strict rules around what email addresses were safe to use was the company able to overcome these issues, he said.

Smith’s fourth lesson for marketers is to know your internal capability and the skillset of your people. “There’s no point grabbing fantastic technology if you don’t have capability to use it,” he said.

“Don’t panic, you can buy it, or use a hybrid model and get those skills, but you need to know what it is you need. Part of that is about staff development – it’s critical to what we do.”

Smith’s fifth lesson is recognising the difference between technology capability and mechandising. “Tech is great, but don’t forget price, relevancy, creative quality, emotive connections,” he said.

As a final point, Smith said marketers must keep one eye on the future, even as he admitted it’s easy in business to get bogged down in the day-to-day.

“Remember when mobile was the future, then one day it was just standard for everything? You need to always keep an eye on the future and what’s happening,” he said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, 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

Designing for a cashless society

More movement has been made toward a cashless society recently, and already we are starting to see enormous implications across our society.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Setting advertising objectives for financial performance

I’ll often be talking to clients and at some point say, ‘the most important thing is justifying price’. Then moments later, ‘the most important thing is increasing the size of your customer base’.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

5 common mistakes to avoid in scalable customer experience

CX is about future-proofing your business by ensuring that your commercial model is always looped into your customers' needs, perceptions, values, beliefs, motivators, and detractors.

Tom Uhlhorn

Founder and strategy director, Tiny CX

Unfortunately, the title "AdTech Magic Quadrant" is misleading as it only represent a fraction of the ecosystem. It it is a useful docume...

Ludovic Leforestier

Report: Gartner recognises the best adtech players in Magic Quadrant

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Giridhar Prathap Reddy

Australian Open chalks up strong ticket sales with chatbot

Read more

Hello, where are the explanations of all the levels explained? I'd like to review this with a couple of colleagues. Thanks.

Melinda Gonzalez

CMO launches CMO CX, debuts customer experience maturity assessment

Read more

A great and accurate commentary - today we rarely get true personalisation. On web journeys cookies or logins remember who we are, what w...

Ian Moyse

Salesforce: Personalisation is a long way off what consumers now expect

Read more

Very nice information !! We provide almost every indian satta matka games with fast results. Online Matka play becomes easy with genuine ...

rsgame

Image intelligence:10 must-see infographics for marketers

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in