Big Data, Internet of Things and the advent of AI present huge opportunities in terms of personalising brand experiences
November 12, 2018
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Brands Need to Understand their Customers Better than Ever

The “modern” CMO is increasingly responsible for shaping the end-to-end customer experience, extending his/her reach beyond the marketing department and into areas of the organization once operating in silos.

In a conversation with Hussein Dajani, (General Manager Customer Experience Transformation – Nissan Motor Corporation – Africa, Middle East, India and Turkey), we found out how brands can drive consumer experience over fragmented touchpoints, how CMO’s can drive CX with a customer-centric culture and his advice to new-age marketers.

In an age where consumers’ attention spans are shorter, how do you (what do brands need to do to) offer a unique customer experience to your target audience?

With so many different forms of media and content to consume on a daily basis, it’s easy to see why the fragmented human mind is suffering from a shockingly low attention span of only around 8 seconds on average – one second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. No wonder why this new age is referred to as “The age of fleeting customer attention spans” or more specifically, “The era of non-existent concentration.”

In order to combat this, brands need to become more consumer centric. Beyond understanding and profiling customers, brands need to create seamless journeys for them to ensure every touchpoint’s experiences are personalised.

The initial task brands need to engage is defining the Customer Experience Journey mapping in order to identify the “must haves” / “nice to haves” solutions which would help overcome consumers’ pain points.

Some of those solutions would be quick and easy ones such as, for example, ensuring faster loading times for websites, while others will require the proper investments and efforts such as Bots, Virtual Reality tools, etc.

To achieve a successful customer experience strategy and implementation, brands need to understand their customers better than ever, and that can only happen if brands have the right infrastructure in place. The kind of infrastructure which provides brands with a 360 view of its customers in order to ensure that the decisions or projects brands engage in are data driven ones.

Be it customer service, product quality or just the way the customers feel about the companies they do business with, customer experience rises to the top of whether or not customers will decide to keep doing business with a brand. The key to be able to “win” in this new age is to ensure that the experiences are simple and digital (Anywhere, Anytime, Quick, Easy, and Simple) because, the sooner brands realize that Experience is the new Product and Time is the new Price, they will win their customers for the long run and have an advantage over their competition.

 

How are CMO’s heading the CX charge?

The biggest shift in today’s marketing world are the changes in how consumers research and buy products. The Internet, and the Data it is generating, has fundamentally changed a CMO’s role throughout the years. They now spend far more time involved in the digital, data and analytic side of the business. This expansion will encompass both a redefinition of the way the marketing function performs its critical tasks and the CMO’s assumption of a larger role as the “voice of the customer” across the company as it responds to significant changes in the marketplace. CMOs are facing more than ever a strong mandate to prove marketing’s role in driving revenue. The “modern” CMO is increasingly responsible for shaping the end-to-end customer experience, extending his/her reach beyond the marketing department and into areas of the organization once operating in silos.

Based on various researches conducted by Global Consulting Firms, the new CMO, or as some see evolving into Chief Experience Officer, has 3 new activities added to his/her task which are crucial for shifting their company to becoming a true customer-centric one: A- Improving the omni-channel customer experience, B- Reinventing the customer experience through digital innovation, and C- Championing a customer-centric corporate culture across the company.

 

As your responsibility spreads across different markets, are there challenges in brand communication and customer experience when dealing with language and cultural differences? 

Absolutely. There isn’t a one formula which fits all in the world of marketing. Consumers in Africa very from those in the Middle East, to those in India, and those in Turkey. However, there is one factor which remains constant, the tools we use to gather the data which help us in understanding consumers wherever and whoever they are. We capture the necessary data and insights about customers and change and evolve our systems (infrastructure) to effectively be able to do that. We collect data related to our advertising and communications, we have data from our various digital channels, from our dealers and, increasingly, we collect data from the vehicles themselves. All those help us in focusing on managing relationships with our customers and understanding their needs throughout the entire lifecycle with our vehicles.

 

Which is the one Digital Strategist / Customer Experience Thought Leader you admire and why?

All those people behind the companies which managed to keep me engaged with them and created a seamless exceptional experience while interacting with them. If I were to chose one, I would opt for Walt Disney himself. “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world” and it is still growing and adapting the changing forms of imaginations in this world to keep those experiences alive, simple, online/offline, etc.

 

What advice would you give to new age marketers? / What are you looking forward to at the Vibe Marketers Fest?

Putting customers at the heart of a company doesn’t mean understanding their age, habits, etc on a piece of paper. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and experience your brand, products, and services yourself. If it frustrates you, it will frustrate them.

In 1988, Microsoft executive Paul Maritz was desperate for customers to try a new product and e-mailed a colleague, “We are going to have to eat our own dogfood and test the product ourselves.” (Eugene Kleiner first coined the phrase). Start with “dogfooding”.

The world of marketing is changing at a very fast pace. In order to remain relevant to your company, re-invent yourself and adopt the transformation the soonest. We’re all scared of the unknown, but we have a tool available for us for free anytime and anywhere, the internet. Use its potential to re-educate yourselves.

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