The customer journey and path to purchase has changed from a linear process to a more convoluted route, a change that can be largely attributed to digital technology. Digital and mobile technology means that consumers are ‘always on’ and have the ability to shop and buy, anytime and anywhere. Thus these channels are critical engagement platforms in the customer journey.
Unprecedented changes in the retail and customer landscapes are creating big challenges for Sales teams. Who would have thought at the turn of the century that by 2014 the world’s largest retailer would have no physical stores? Whatever industry you are in the customer landscape and expectations are changing fast.
From pricing competitiveness to cost optimisation, omniformat strategies to store utilisation - everything is being turned on its head in the pursuit of shopper loyalty and growth. In Pharma, there is growing complexity in the web of stakeholders that Sales teams need to work with to secure product availability and drive sales.
Given the scale of these changes, sales teams are having to accelerate capability building in key areas such as route to market, trading terms, eCommerce strategy, ways of working with customers, data analytics, salesforce effectiveness and the use of technology to drive efficiencies.
Amidst all the new content we've recently added (like Esomar Congress papers, Jay Chiat case studies and the shortlisted cases to our own Innovation Prize) here are my must-read picks – five stimulating, enlightening articles on topics as diverse as hybrid consumers, total video and winning boardroom-backing for brand investment.
The Brand in the Boardroom
What's it about and why is it interesting?
In Warc Editorial, we are huge fans of the Atticus Awards – clever thinking from across the WPP network on all kinds of topics. The Grand Prix winner from Ogilvy RED is lengthy but provides extremely useful instruction for valuing brands and demonstrating the real commercial benefit of marketing – essential reading for any marketer fighting for investment. As well as introducing the different methods of brand valuation, Ogilvy & Mather go beyond them to highlight the necessary principles and the steps that should be followed when valuing brands. As well as defending and increasing marketing budgets, brand valuation can also help decide where to allocate budgets, determine brand strategy development and develop brand benchmarking.
It’s obvious to us that the best route to sustained growth is by motivating more customers to spend more with your company. Mergers & acquisitions and improving operational efficiency can also deliver growth, but are inevitably limited over time – so sustained growth requires selling more products and services to customers: by creating superior customer value.
The trick comes in how you manage it. Do you offer people the most technically amazing products and services in the market? Do you tailor your products for the needs of your intermediaries to create strong routes to market? Do you drive operational efficiency to delight customers with reliability, speed and price? Do you innovate to tap into emerging customer behaviours? The priorities will differ depending on where you sit in the organisation. I’m sure you can pick out the different leanings of technical, operations, finance, sales and marketing teams. And all could argue they are customer-centred.
Earlier in this series we introduced our point of view on how organisations need to evolve their communications capabilities to deliver growth through a meaningful, mutually beneficial customer experience and 4 key principles for customer engagement:
In this final instalment, we will look at the role of content and how to continually measure and evolve your customer engagement.
In the first of this three-part series, we introduced our point of view on how organisations need to evolve their communications and capabilities to deliver growth through a meaningful customer experience, and 4 key principles for customer engagement:
This week we will look in more detail at the need for engagement to be mutually beneficial and the role of the customer.
Nikolai Kondratiev made a wonderful contribution to economic history with his long wave theory. He argued that the capitalist development was made of long waves. These waves are 45 - 60 years long and represent one cycle of global economic growth. They are successive sine curves highly linked to innovations in technology. According to this theory, technology is pushing the economy of brands into their 3rd wave of development. The first era was led by technological advancement in the production of goods, such as, large-scale plants, the second wave came with the technological advancements in media such as TV, Radio and Print and the 3rd wave, the present one, is led by the advancements in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Back in the day, market research seemed to have all the answers about brands. Indeed, the scientific apparatus of quantitative research - segmentation, clustering, modelling etc. - seemed so sophisticated compared with its slightly prosaic subject matter: soap, toothpaste, biscuits and the like. Yet now the reverse seems true: brands are so central to our culture and so deeply rooted in our psyche that it is the traditional tools of measurement which seem unequal to the task. Why?
Using Media Z Anna Breslauer, MEC, examined the audience perceptions of the two iconic sporting events and how these affect brand partnerships.
Every four summers, a global audience is treated to a spectacular international football event. The World Cup is highly anticipated by the public for months leading up to its commencement, and for brands, even years. Another favourite each year, particularly in the UK, are the Wimbledon Championships – valued by partner brands but in a contrasting and understated way. This summer we witnessed the World Cup and Wimbledon simultaneously allowing for comparison of the distinctive approaches to advertising and sponsorship. With 20.5 million viewers watching the World Cup final and 10 million watching the Wimbledon final in the UK, (BBC, Wimbledon,) these properties are highly sought-after for sponsorship, and for the World Cup, prime television spots on ITV.
I’m a fan of travelling in style, so the concept of ‘matching
luggage’ appealed when marketers first responded to channel
proliferation with a drive to integrate their communications by using
the same look and feel. Of course fashions change, and as people learnt
more about how digital channels worked, marketing evolved to integrating
around an idea – so there was still a co-ordination of luggage, but it
didn’t all have to be the same colour.
Today, as more brands are recognising that a meaningful customer
experience is the key to delivering growth, communications must move on
again. (NB ‘customer’ is used to define the brand’s target: consumer,
customer, expert etc).