Moving from Channel Led to Customer Led Marketing.David Patrick
The theme of this jam-packed, one-day conference at Digital World, Salford Quays last month, was how to put the customer at the heart of everything we, as direct marketing practitioners do. With in excess of 90 delegates and a full schedule of over a dozen speakers we heard marketing specialists from both agency and client side put forward a compelling case for customer-led marketing. We heard a variety of different perspectives pitched by planners, marketing directors and media buyers. However, all of the sessions were under-pinned by a common theme: the fragmentation of media over the last decade has resulted in a shift in the balance of power. In effect, the consumer has been able to dictate how he/she wants to be communicated with and define the relationship they want with the brands they purchase from.
Among the keynote speakers, Scott Richardson from Liverpool FC talked of the challenge of developing a single view from fans, given that season ticket holders often pass on their ticket rights to the younger generation. He explained that only with a customer-focused marketing platform could they start to build a programme of cross-selling and up-selling to their younger fan base.
Paula Bertram of Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) highlighted the importance of mapping the customer journey. Having identified the many ‘wants’ of customers who came into contact with the organisation, the challenge was how to refocus the entire customer services team so that every customer contact was seamless and every opportunity identified.
Amanda from this agency presented a community-based approach to marketing. She identified that we as customers choose the communities we belong to and concluded that for brands to be able to interact with and influence their customers, they first have to know which communities they belong too and immerse themselves in their needs. Ultimately, she explained, this type of engagement creates customers as powerful brand advocates.
Ian Lees of MediaVest picked up the media fragmentation theme. His message was not one of the growing dominance of online. Instead, he commented on how different media channels should be used to support each other and forge deeper connections with consumers. He explained that the key was in being able to analyse and make sense of the many different metrics through econometric modelling to understand the key sales drivers.
In addition, Jane Gleave from ConstructionSkills described her team’s mammoth marketing endeavour in turning the organisation’s focus back onto customers, whilst Lisa Tomlinson of BJL and Drusilla Gabbot of Oxygen suggested some approaches to help other organisations do the same. Elly Woolston of DMS closed the conference by showing a range of case studies where putting the customer first had resulted in outstanding outcomes for the companies who invested in this kind of activity.
The conference audience of senior marketers, agency staff and recent graduates were given insights into how many businesses are working hard to overcome the many different obstacles that stand in the way of customer-centric marketing. However, the message was clear. Those who start out on this journey find that it’s the most powerful approach to recruiting and then building relationships with customers.
If you didn’t attend, you can browse the speaker presentations here. You’ll also be very welcome to join us at next year’s conference at Digital World, Salford Quays in October 2010. So don’t miss out!