4 Keys to Customer Centric Marketing

May 16, 2018

Brands must stop scheduling campaigns based on their own business goals and adopt a more Customer Centric marketing model where they distribute relevant, prepared content across channels to respond to increasing consumer demands.

But how do organizations orchestrate such a big transition?

That was the topic of a customer story shared by Ed Knight, former Head of Marketing Transformation, Systems and Processes at an international banking conglomerate during Aprimo Sync! 2018 in London. Knight, now an independent consultant in marketing transformation and change, spoke at the session, titled “A Journey to Customer Centric Programmes” about how the banking corporation was able to make such a transformation and achieve a 15-20% increase in speed to market.

Brands need to be more Customer Centric as an overall response to growing internal and external pressures to be more responsive and prepared to meet customers where they are, he said. Such a monumental transition, however, requires a shift in thinking about how brands manage the foundational elements of marketing technology, processes, people, and culture, he added.

“To reach the ambition of the right message, to the right customer, in the right channel at the right time requires a shift from planned to prepared activity,” he said. “When you bring these key foundational elements together then you really can do more, do it faster, and do better marketing whilst also making sure it’s consistently compliant.”

Optimize technology to simplify workflow

The first key to shifting to a more Customer Centric marketing strategy is to optimize workflow management, Knight said. It’s the central system marketing organizations use and has the potential to help further automate, simplify, and ensure brand compliance for all your activities. The banking corporation uses Aprimo Marketing Productivity for its workflow solution.

In its transformation journey, the banking organization made use of the system’s enhanced functionalities to ensure it could automatically reroute assets to the right people at the right time, and simplified end-user and maintenance workflows from 170 different configurations down to only three. Such simplicity ultimately helped drive value in the banking company’s overall marketing transformation.

Try and test various processes

The banking group also created and tested various new processes for all marketing activities in its journey to a more Customer Centric strategy. For example, it simplified signoffs, set email template standards, agreed on audience and content matrices for campaigns, and simplified collaborative planning discussions.

Such improvements, however, did take a bit of give and take to get just right, Knight said. Adoption of new processes can go more smoothly if organizations start planning based on the outcomes and goals they want to achieve and get an internal sponsor and owner for each recommendation as well as, he added. Those sponsors then can turn into champions as each initiative is implemented.

Invest in your people

New technology and processes, however, won’t get brands closer to a more Customer Centric marketing strategy without the right people on board, Knight said. They must ensure they have a team that has the confidence to be creative and push boundaries with content across various channels but also understands their brand’s messaging around products and services.

The banking corporation evaluated its marketing teams and decided to bring in new members with skills it deemed critical for its transformation as well as contracted with external agencies for some initiatives for which it needed a quick turnaround.

Create the right culture

Brands also need to look at their entire marketing organization as a whole and drive culture changes to achieve a more Customer Centric transformation. They need to peel back the layers of the team and determine how they believe the organization should think and act to achieve this overarching goal.

Then they need to create and implement a series of long-term changes to help achieve that goal, and support them with budget, training, feedback sessions, and Agile working practices. They also need to test and measure how effective these changes have been at helping them achieve their goals.

Even if brands strive to make such changes in technology, processes, people, and culture, it doesn’t mean their journey to a Customer Centric marketing model will be easy. The banking corporation really pushed for a fundamental shift in the way its marketing teams work and spent a lot of time on training them for the new initiative, but still had slow adoption and engagement.

But with persistence, iteration, and a top-down rollout, it was able to be successful at simplifying core processes with technology and culture changes to improve its targeted marketing strategies to put the customer first.

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