This week we hosted a marketing transformation event at the Century Club. Our friend Nina Jones, Global Customer Experience Director (formerly of Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft) helped us host a series of talks and discussion about the state of marketing in today’s landscape.
We talked about the major challenges senior marketers face today including the fact that with great responsibility comes…not great enough power. The stakes are higher than ever, but innovation and new thinking are repeatedly stifled by outdated structures.
So where are we today? It’s now retail’s turn in the long line of interrupted industries. Uncertainty in the sector has hit an all time high. What’s the solution?
Our mantra to tackle this challenge is simple: Make marketing better. Make better marketing.
Either of those things can come first. Each needs the other.
Better marketing is customer first, data supported and importantly, adaptive.
Making marketing better is about rapidly improving our capability to do marketing in an environment — media, society and commerce — where we don’t know what’s going to be asked of our brand and our business one quarter to the next.
This is not digital transformation 2.0. This is stripping down how things are done and rebuilding marketing from the bottom up. It can feel like an impossible buy-in, getting thrown out far too fast when budgets don’t meet expectations. So what keeps stopping people from doing it?
- Lip service to customer experience. But not meaning it.
- Quarterisation. When a quarterly budget becomes more important than long-term gains.
- Organisational immune response. Otherwise known as: when silos attack.
- Technology being the answer. Or, using a tech hammer on a cultural nail.
- Solutionism. Early wins mistaken for lasting change.
Is there a solution? Yes. You you need to be customer obsessed. But not many people actually mean it. So we found someone really who does.
Nina Jones – why being customer-centric should be imperative
We’ve worked with Nina across several different projects over the past 12 years, including Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft. In Nina’s experience, providing digital capability training within her marketing teams resulted in smashed silos, improved levels of engagement and tangible ROI.
Nina shared insights on her model of how to build true customer centricity in a business. Summarised in the diagram below:
The left of the diagram is how businesses are still operating. This is companies believing that if they tell themselves they are customer obsessed it will be ok. This belief is killing organisations because they entrench themselves into outdated methods. It needs to be flipped on its head and the customer truly brought into the heart of the company and everything it does.
“There is a point which I find myself questioning time and again, which is the ‘burning platform’ concept – do organisations only move towards customer centricity when there is burning platform. I guess from my experience, they don’t! And in the ‘age of the consumer’, this is too late for incumbents. As times get tough, time and time again, organisations retreat into themselves and look in the mirror as opposed to out the window.” – Nina Jones
What do you need to begin your transformation journey?
- Prioritise the greatest need
- Take control of your organisation’s digital evolution. Be an insider AND an outsider. Get allies.
- Ideas into action
- Create a pilot to tackle a real business problem in an unusual way to create an instance of change. Then share (or scare).
- Unignorable wins
- Measure and communicate the ROI, then share unignorable wins.
- Involve everyone
- From the board to the juniors, use formal and informal community methods to engage and inspire.
- Build an internal change brand so people take it seriously. Have a comms strategy. Tell stories. Host events. Make a noise. Tell an inspiring story
Our digital maturity assessment tool, Sonar, is also a great place to start (try the individual version for free here).